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SAILING

Race 5 Postponed Because of Light Wind

March 01, 2003|From Associated Press

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Switzerland's pursuit of nautical history will have to wait.

Race 5 of the America's Cup was postponed today (Friday afternoon, Pacific time) because of light wind on the uncooperative Hauraki Gulf. It was the seventh postponement in the best-of-nine series, which Alinghi leads, 4-0.

The forecast called for wind of seven to 12 knots from the northeast, but it was down to four knots during much of a two-hour delay, with an occasional breeze of seven knots.

Principal race officer Harold Bennett called it off about two hours after the scheduled starting time.

The race committee will try to get the race underway Sunday (about 4 p.m. today, Pacific time).

The light conditions came a day after Team New Zealand's 110-foot mast snapped in two amid high wind and rough seas, the second major Kiwi breakdown in four races.

Alinghi needs one more victory to take the cup back to Europe for the first time in 152 years.

Russell Coutts needs one more win to sail unbeaten through his third consecutive America's Cup competition and extend his record of 14 consecutive victories.

A win would move him out of a tie with Dennis Conner of the United States for the most victories overall.

The Kiwis, meanwhile, worked through the night to replace the shattered mast with the one from their backup boat.

Many New Zealanders seem resigned that they're going to lose the trophy that Coutts and his team brought here in 1995 after beating Conner, 5-0, off San Diego.

When the Kiwis left the harbor three hours before the scheduled start, there were far fewer people lining the waterfront than there had been two weeks earlier for Race 1.

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