Please select your home edition
Edition
Youmans Studio Cup Racing 1456x180 TOP

Cup Spy Sept 15,- Day 1: The Rain in Spain didn't 'stay mainly the plain,' but came to Vilanova

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 16 Sep 2023 02:13 NZST 16 September 2023
Race Day 1 - AC40 - America's Cup Preliminary Regatta - Vilanova - September 15, 2023 © America's Cup Media

"The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain."

Those famous lyrics sung by Professor Henry Higgins in the 1938 musical My Fair Lady were at odds with the weather prevailing in Vilanova for the first day of official racing in the America's Cup Preliminary Event.

Instead of "staying on the plain", the rain bucketed down on the America's Cup crews gathered in Vilanova. The intention was for the boats to leave the dock at 1530hrs CET and for racing to start 40 minutes later, at 1610hrs CET.

At that point (1610hrs), Race Director Iain Murray decided on safety grounds that racing was not to be staged on the day.

At the time, there was heavy rain and only light winds of 10-12kts.

The overriding concern was that of crew and boat safety.

The thunderstorms accompanied by lightning are an explosive mix - as demonstrated earlier this year in SailGP Singapore, where the New Zealand entry was struck by lightning after racing, causing substantial damage to the rig and systems - requiring a complete rewiring of the raceboat.

For the international viewing audience, there was some compensation in viewing what could have been - a replay of the Practice Racing from Friday, where Emirates Team New Zealand, the defending America's Cup champion, trounced the six-team fleet - winning all three races.

Today's start was initially delayed as officials hoped that a severe weather front would bypass the America's Cup fleet on the water off Vilanora. That hope was not realised.

Official weather data supplier Predictwind forecasted heavy rain with 6-7mm/hr of rain forecast for the scheduled start time.

After being delayed from the scheduled start time of 1530hrs CET (1330hrs UTC), Race Director Iain Murray decided to pull the pin for the day at around 1610hrs CET (1410hrs UTC) after heavy rain and thunderstorms approached Vilanova.

Racing should be possible on Day 2, with no rain forecast - and winds from the South of 6-8kts average. There will be heavy cloud cover at times. The prediction is for a moderately heavy sea state from the East of up to 1 metre - which will be very challenging for the crews sailing the 40ft foiling monohulls.

However every (rain) cloud has a silver lining, and for fans that is there will now be four races per day instead of three. The start time is now at the earlier hour of 1505hrs CET or 1305hrs UTC the last start is scgeduled for 1700hrs CET on both Saturday and Sunday.

Quotes from the Boats:

Paul Goodison, co-helmsman/skipper for NYYC American Magic: "It is what it is, in the weather it would have been very difficult to sail with lightning and thunder around, it doesn't feel very nice to be on a boat when all that is happening around you."

"It will be interesting to see if they try and squeeze a couple more races in, it would be nice for us as sailors to do more races because that's what we're here to do but whatever the Race Committee decide, we will go with that."

Nathan Outteridge, co-helmsman for Emirates Team New Zealand: "I think it was the right decision to abandon but it was good to give it a chance as we all want to race. It was pretty wet when we got out there. We had about 10-11 knots when we were hoisting sails so we went for the J2 but by the time we cut the chase it was 4-5 knots and I think after about 10 minutes, Iain Murray realised that this was not a good place to be for everyone and got us all back in. I think everyone just excited to race, the practice races were great and we just want to get into it."

Maxime Bachelin, co-helmsman for Alinghi Red Bull Racing: "We just tried, we went out but it was a bit too stormy, thunderstorms, so for the safety I think it's good to thing to head home. There was not a lot of wind as well, so they did what they can and we will be ready for tomorrow, for sure."

Kevin Peponnet, Orient Express Racing Team: "It was pretty scary when we saw some lightning and we couldn't see above 50 metres so sailing in these foiling boats in more than 25 knots of speed without a clear view of where we are going would be pretty scary. Also with the lightning, we are full carbon and we asked all the sailors and shore team coming on the boat not to touch the mast or shrouds as a lightning strike, as we've seen on other boats, can be dramatic. The call was good to come back."

Giles Scott, co-helmsman for INEOS Britannia: "Yeah good decision. I mean maybe we could have sat it out but looking at the weather now it's still not raceable an hour after the decision. Top wind we saw was 15 knots for about ten minutes but it was all over the place and not raceable and with the visibility and lightning...the weather God's were conspiring unfortunately."

Jimmy Spithill, co-helmsman for Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, was disappointed not to sail but realistic saying: "It was a little worrisome heading out there with the lightning on the radar but look we gave it our best shot, we did everything we could, and sometimes as we all know in our sport you can't control the weather and ultimately it was decided for us."

"If it were up to me I would probably shorten the races up a little and try and fit more in because that's what we want to see, more starts, more mark roundings and I think people would enjoy that."

Additional Images:

This commentary was written and compiled from video, still images and statistical content extracted from the AC37 Joint Recon program and other material available to Sail-World NZ including photo files, and other on the water coverage from the 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2021 America's Cups. Its format is intended to give Sail-World readers a snapshot of all teams' progress on a given day or period.

Related Articles

America's Cup: Gulf Wars - your record of 36AC
A souvenir record of the regattas of the 36th America's Cup is now on sale across all regions A souvenir record of the regattas of the 36th America's Cup is now on sale in New Zealand, and available internationally published just over a week after racing concluded in the 36th America's Cup. Posted on 31 Mar 2021
America's Cup start expected to be postponed
For the America's Cup the earliest Auckland will come out of the Lockdown is Sunday, March 7 The NZ Prime Minister has announced a return to Alert Level 3 for seven days. For the America's Cup the earliest Auckland will come out of the Lockdown is Sunday, March 7. An announcement is expected from the permitted organiser America's Cup Event Ltd Posted on 27 Feb 2021
America's Cup: US$35,000 set as refit minimum
NZ government has clarified the requirements which must be met obtain border exemption The New Zealand government is, from July 2020, allowing foreign flagged vessels and yachts with booked-in refits or repairs to enter New Zealand. The minimum repair/refit value has been set at NZ$50,000 (US$33,300) Posted on 29 Jul 2020
Yacht clubs able to apply to new $20m Am Cup Fund
Yacht clubs are one group who would be able to apply for funding from the America's Cup fund. A $20million Lottery Fund has been created to help communities throughout New Zealand benefit from the 2021 America's Cup. The Minister made it clear that yacht clubs were one group who would be able to apply for funding from the America's Cup fund. Posted on 29 Nov 2018
America's Cup entry open in five days
Cheap talk stops, $1million initial entry fee due The talking stops in just five days in the 36th America's Cup. That's when entries open for the regatta due to be held in Auckland in March 2021. Posted on 27 Dec 2017
Am Cup - A look back at 2017 - Team NZ + Video
Emirates Team NZ - "It began with belief, and ended with redemption. " 2017 has been a monumental year for everyone at Emirates Team New Zealand - finally managing to win back the America's Cup for New Zealand. Here's a video looking back at Emirates Team NZ's year and a campaign. Posted on 21 Dec 2017
Am Cup: Dalton refutes AC75 cost claims
Some commentators have criticised the new boat as being too complex and too expensive Some Cup commentators have criticised the new boat as being too complex and too expensive. "To the people who say it's out of control cost-wise, they are uneducated – they have no idea what's going on here," Dalton fires back. Posted on 19 Dec 2017
Team New Zealand stake claim on America's Cup base
Emirates Team New Zealand stake claim on America's Cup base Ten challengers – both tangible and potential – are being taken seriously by Emirates Team New Zealand. But team boss Grant Dalton won't be disappointed if not all “pony up”. Posted on 19 Dec 2017
Am Cup - Lone Wolf close to sell out
Am Cup - Lone Wolf close to sell out "Lone Wolf - How Emirates Team New Zealand Stunned the World" has sold out for copies available directly from the publisher. Copies are still available through some retail outlets - Whitcoulls, Paper Plus and The Warehouse Posted on 15 Dec 2017
Clark strong on Am Cup and Team NZ investment
Clark strong on America's Cup and Team NZ investment With flames from the the current controversy flicking around the America's Cup, the Labour-led Coalition government has come under pressure not to invest in the America's Cup. The comments of former Prime Minister Helen Clark make interesting reading. Posted on 12 Dec 2017
HALLSPARS_BANNER_SW_660X82-EVAI BOTTOMCollinsonCo 728x90 BOTTOMRick Dodson - 4 140623