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Updated: Mar 30, 2022

Closing in on the Cup

16 March 2021

I learned my lesson down here in New Zealand many years ago, the lack of any ozone layer means that putting sun block on before leaving home should be as natural and essential as putting on some trousers. It doesn’t matter what the weather looks like outside. a) it will change in 15 minutes time and b) I get sunburnt down here even when it rains. It’s the same when you’re trying to second guess the weather. * a) Make no assumptions * b) Cover any predictions with a good slathering of caveats. Today was definitely one of those days. Back home the approach of a front would be a straightforward thing to predict, down here it might as well be a part of the national lottery. So it’s easy to feel for those trying to organise the Cup around any impact that the new weather may have. Regatta Director Iain Murray made no bones of this at his morning briefing where he said, ““We’re going to the casino today and putting everything on Course C,” a reference to the stadium course just off North Head. The local media seem obsessed with this course area and ask pretty much every day whether it will be used, ignoring the fact that it’s only suitable in a southwesterly breeze. So far, until today we’ve had anything but. Yet today was different and while we had to wait for conditions to arrive and settle down, when the racing happened it was spectacular, one of the best Cup races I’ve watched. If you’ve seen it you’ll know what I mean, if you haven’t go online and watch it here. I’ll say no more. But aside from some spectacular racing, today had a very different feel. Today was the first day that the America’s Cup could be won. Today was the chance for the Italians to redress the balance after a day in which they had lost two races after winning the starts and maintaining their advantage for the first few legs. Emirates Team New Zealand had finished Day 5 with two wins. The scoreline now read 5:3. Two more victories would win them the Cup. To keep their Cup dreams alive Luna Rossa needed to take at least one win today. Everyone knew it and the tension could be felt throughout Auckland. Aside from the results, the weather was the next biggest unknown. As I walked down to the Viaduct Basin for the first morning meeting of the day there was no breeze at all, an eerie, glassy calm had settled across the surrounding water. The day had started off overcast and flat but the forecast was the wind to build as a weather front approached from the west. With predicted wind speeds of 9-13knots, the day looked set to be perfect for close racing. I’ll go no further. Make sure you check out my daily chatter with David Freddie Carr where we talk about nerves, what it takes to keep them in check and a whole bunch of other views from someone who’s been there many times before and provides some fascinating analysis. Plus, I give a summary of Day 6.

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