Race 14 of the America's Cup was postponed Saturday because of shifting wind, further delaying Emirates Team New Zealand's chance to claim the oldest trophy in international sports.
With the Kiwis sitting on match point against defender Oracle Team USA, regatta director Iain Murray didn't want to send the high-performance catamarans into skewed conditions.
A front that drenched San Francisco with late-morning rain brought wind from the south. It never swung back to the west-southwest breeze the course is set up for.
“We saw this day coming a few days ago,” said Regatta Director Iain Murray. “We got the teams together last night to talk about the possibility of a light and variable wind from the south today. We do have an alternate course that we offered up to the teams, but they weren’t interested in sailing that course. They prefered to wait until the wind is back to the southwest on the normal racecourse."
Murray added that the racing that’s left is extremely important and the teams don’t want to chance something that they are not prepared for.
Team New Zealand leads 8-3. Oracle Team USA, docked two points in a cheating scandal, has won four of the last six races.
On Friday, Race 13 was abandoned due to a 40-minute time limit with the Kiwis well ahead on the fourth leg of the five-leg course in light wind. Oracle won the re-sail of Race 13.
Organizers will try again Sunday.
Officials say that while winds today were too far west to make for a good course, good conditions are expected on Sunday.
As the America's Cup Finals wind down, Emirates Team New Zealand team has maintained a significant lead against Oracle Team USA and could clinch the Cup if it wins the next race. Race 14 was originally scheduled for today at 1:15 p.m. but was postponed several times due to inclement weather.
The delay comes after a week of race postponements due to wind conditions.
This year's competition has been marred by a number of setbacks, including the death of Sweden-based Artemis Racing crewmember Andrew "Bart" Simpson, who drowned when the team's boat capsized during a practice in the Bay.
Oracle Team USA took home the 2010 America's Cup and selected San Francisco as the host city for this year's competition.