AUCKLAND, New Zealand — After waiting nearly five years to watch its beloved Black Magic defend the America's Cup, Auckland held its breath. Literally.
Race One of the best-of-nine series between Black Magic and Italy's Luna Rossa was postponed today because the unpredictable wind on Hauraki Gulf dropped to practically nothing.
The race committee will try again Sunday to get in the first race, although the forecast again calls for light wind.
Black Magic and Luna Rossa, as well as a huge spectator fleet, bobbed gently under a blazing sun while the race committee waited 1 1/2 hours after the scheduled start to see if the wind would fill in. It didn't even come close.
The forecast had called for 8-10 knots of wind, which would have been enough to get the race underway. But the breeze was only 2 knots at the scheduled starting time of 1:15 p.m., and never got higher than 4 knots.
Less than four weeks ago, the wind and waves were so wild that the opening race of the challenger finals between Luna Rossa, of the powerful Prada design house, and AmericaOne was postponed a day because the race committee feared that one of the carbon-fiber racers could be severely damaged.
Because New Zealand didn't hold defender trials, the Kiwis haven't been in an America's Cup race since May 13, 1995, when they completed one of the most dominating performances in Cup history, a 5-0 whitewashing of Dennis Conner off San Diego.