15 Mar 2021

America's Cup: When will the wind blow?

8:18 am on 15 March 2021

The most evenly matched America's Cup in nearly 40 years remains on a knife-edge heading into Monday's racing.

Only once before in the history of the Cup has the scoreboard been locked at 3-all like it is between Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa.

Team New Zealand sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke waiting for racing during the America's Cup against Luna Rossa.

Team New Zealand sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke waiting for racing during the America's Cup against Luna Rossa. Photo: ACE | Studio Borlenghi

Sailing was abandoned on Sunday after winds didn't reach the lower limit required for racing on the Hauraki Gulf.

On Monday the teams get another shot at breaking the deadlock and chasing down four more wins for victory.

The racing stalled at a critical moment - just on the halfway point in the best-of-13 series, when neither team had asserted dominance.

Luna Rossa co-helmsman Francesco Bruni was realistic about what it means to be a sailor in this type of see-sawing contest.

"We can not control the weather and the reality is that both teams are sailing well , we are just waiting for somebody to make a mistake and it's not happening much," Bruni said.

Luna Rossa co helmsmen Jimmy Spithill and Francesco Bruni talk tactics.

Luna Rossa co helmsmen Jimmy Spithill and Francesco Bruni talk tactics. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Despite not racing on Sunday it wasn't a wasted day for either side.

Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling said there was some benefits from floating around waiting for racing.

"It's not often you actually sit on these boats and don't sail all day so we've probably got 30 people out here looking at every little detail and trying to come up with ways to make it faster.

"There's definitely lots of little mods going on all over the place."

Burling said they were focussed constantly on improving their performance.

"It's no secret that whoever wins the last race wins the America's Cup and you've got to keep improving and keep getting better and we definitely feel like we've improved a lot over the course of these opening races which has been really good fun but still feel like there is a long way to go and it's a pretty even scoreline."

Fans at the America's Cup Village

Fans at the America's Cup Village in Auckland. Photo: ACE | Studio Borlenghi

Over 48,000 people who left the America's Cup Race Village disappointed on Sunday are expected to return.

Monday's forecast is more promising with 10-15 knots of wind on the radar.

Team New Zealand's offside controller Josh Junior said the support the defenders were receiving did not go unnoticed.

"It's amazing to be here racing on home waters, we head out there and there's 15 hundred boats on the water in one small area, it's incredible and then you come back in and the docks are just full with people, so the atmosphere is incredible and we're really enjoying that experience."

Meanwhile further south at Nelson Yacht Club, which is hosting one of 21 official America's Cup fan zones around the country, hundreds of people are showing up on race day to watch the action on the big screen.

The region is home to a number of sailors who foil - although not as quickly as the America's Cup yachts - and club manager Tim Fraser- Harris said despite being hundreds of kilometres away from the Hauraki Gulf they feel like they're part of the event.

Fraser-Harris is hoping the interest in the action in Auckland, translates to some more members for the Nelson club.

"We're trying to make it as well as being about watching the racing we're trying to get people out on the water and do a few things at the club as well," Fraser-Harris said.

"It's a little bit like an open day for us, or a couple of open days, so we've had people out on the water and there is no better way of getting people engaged with sailing than actually getting out there and trying it."

Back in Auckland, some young sailors from Kohimaramara Yacht Club are getting closer than many to the America's Cup sailing.

The club where Team New Zealand grinder Guy Endean learnt to sail, modifies their racing schedule to fit around the battle for the Auld Mug.

Club president Dan Alderson like many of the club's members joined the spectator fleet of more than 1300 boats on Sunday.

The location of their club in relation to the race courses means, regardless of the outcome, Alderson knows their budding sailors will have memories of this regatta for years to come.

"We're almost on the race course so they head out after their sailing to go and watch," Alderson said.

"They love it because leading up to the event they're out training, we're out sailing and they're in amongst the America's Cup boats over the summer they sailed really close and on the same bit of water so the kids just love it."

Races seven and eight have been rescheduled to be raced today from 4.15pm.