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America's one opening day postponed

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/05/2017

Team New Zealand face a double-header start to their America's Cup campaign after the first day of racing was postponed by organisers in Bermuda.

Forecast strong winds for the scheduled first day on Saturday (NZT) prompted organisers to make an early call, putting the first four races in the challenger qualifying series back a day.

Some of the races listed for day two will be added to the programme on Sunday (NZT), meaning Team NZ will probably race twice in an extended three-hour session.

They will face Team France and then defenders Team USA, who have tweaked the regatta rules, allowing them to compete in the challenger series.

Conditions are expected to hit 30km/h on Saturday, well above the safety limit of 24km/h, before lightening over subsequent days.

The America's Cup Event Authority says strong winds pose too much of a risk to sailors in their high-powered AC50 catamarans.

ACEA chief executive and New Zealand Sir Russell Coutts says a postponement is the only logical step.

"This is clearly a decision we have not taken lightly and appreciate the inconvenience caused to the sellout crowd," he said.

"Our primary concern however, is always safety for everyone involved in the America's Cup.

"We are adding an hour to the race window on both Saturday and Sunday to run extra races with the aim of getting back on schedule."

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