The delay card is back as the America’s Cup heads towards tense, no-holds-barred showdowns.
And in a change to the scheduled rules, the America’s Cup match will not see the upper wind limits extended.
The 15-minute race start delay card was controversially introduced as a trial during the round robin racing of the Prada Cup. And it was immediately put to good use by Sir Ben Ainslie, as Ineos Team UK struck vital gear failure before clashing with Luna Rossa in the Prada Cup round robin.
The trial was scrapped for the Prada Cup semifinals and was never an intended part of this America’s Cup. It was unexpectedly introduced to create a level playing field when the teams had trouble receiving on-course race data.
But Ainslie quickly realised its potential to save his team when they struck gear trouble, using it to buy time.
After their Cunningham which controls the sail shape broke, the delay allowed Ineos Team UK to regather their composure and devise emergency tactics. Despite ongoing problems, they beat the Italians in one of the greatest America’s Cup duels.
So the possibility now exists for even more cat-and-mouse action at the race starts.
Racing resumes on Saturday when the Brits and Italians go head to head in a best of 13 Prada Cup final.
Team New Zealand and the challenger of record Luna Rossa, in consultation with race director Iain Murray, have just announced the rules decisions.
The upper limit was always going to be 21 knots for the Prada Cup, so there is no change there.
The upper race limit, measured as an average before racing starts, was to have been raised from 21 knots to 23 knots for the America’s Cup match race. This has been scrapped.
The statement said that variations between how the teams and race committee measure the wind they use different heights – helped them decide to leave it at 21 knots. The lower wind limit of 6.5 knots is unchanged.
Once a race starts it continues even if the wind goes above the starting limit.
Heading into the Cup racing?
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