Monday, February 08, 2010
At 0700 this morning, the two giant multihulls prepared to leave their berths; Alinghi 5 from the Puerto America’s Cup, BMW Oracle (or USA, as the boat is named) from their berth in the commercial port, the only place where they could find sufficient room to store their 68m (223 foot) wing mast.
It had already been announced that owner Larry Ellison would not be aboard USA because of critical weight restrictions but it came as quite a shock to learn that Russell Coutts, winner of three America’s Cups and still considered by many to be the best match race sailor in the world, would not be on board either! Alinghi 5 carried a crew of 14, while USA had only 10, a clear indication that they expected a light-weather race, where weight-reduction is considered more important than the skills of those crewmen left behind.
The two boats reached the course area 26 NM off the coast in good time for the 10.06 start; then spent the next four hours waiting whilst race director Harold Bennett tried to lay a fair course. Trouble was, as the morning went by the southerly breeze in the start area was countered by a westerly breeze at the planned windward mark, just 2 miles off El Saler beach.
At two o’clock, Bennett decided to abandon the start, reasoning that, if the wind died during the race, the 7 hour time limit could have the 2 huge multihulls racing in the dark; not a comfortable scenario...... The race will now be started on Wednesday, when the weather looks like clearing.