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Winds threaten to delay America's Cup

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 24/05/2017
Emirates Team NZ © Getty Images Emirates Team NZ

Strong winds in Bermuda could force a postponement to the start of the America's Cup.

A weather forecast for Saturday morning (NZT) puts wind strength in excess of 30 knots at the Great Sound course.

The maximum allowable for sailing at the regatta is 24 knots.

Sailor safety and the relative fragility of the AC50 catamarans means organisers will be reluctant to risk a weather-related incident on day one.

However, Russell Coutts, the chief executive of the America's Cup Event Authority, said every effort will be made to complete the first day on schedule.

"With a sellout crowd, and huge anticipation for what we are confident will be one of the most competitive America's Cups ever, rest assured that we are doing everything we can to ensure that the opening day goes ahead," New Zealand sailing great Coutts said in an ACEA statement.

If the first day is postponed, it will simply shift back 24 hours to Sunday morning (NZT), along with an opening ceremony.

Team New Zealand are scheduled to begin their campaign against Team France in the first round of qualifying series races.

The qualifying series is a double round-robin format involving all six syndicates, including Cup holders Oracle Team USA.

The defenders' opening race is also against Team France, who compete twice in the first round, along with Swedish syndicate Artemis.

There are 30 races scheduled to be held in the first eight days, with only one lay day factored in.

Day one schedule: Team USA v Team France, Artemis Sweden v Team Japan, Team NZ v Team France, British BAR v Artemis Sweden.

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