America's Cup time trials cancelled due to winds

An Oracle Team USA catamaran sails past Alcatraz Island with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background during training for the America's Cup, Wednesday, July 3, 2013, in San Francisco. Opening ceremonies for the sailing event are scheduled for Thursday. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
July 5, 2013 7:46:25 PM PDT
Time trials for the America's Cup sailing races in San Francisco were canceled Friday morning because of strong winds, event officials said.

With winds measured at more than 20 knots this morning, the principal race officer decided to keep the 72-foot boats off the water.

Race officer John Craig said in a statement that the boats will also be kept out of a fleet parade scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday to "keep everyone in good shape for the first day of racing."

The Louis Vuitton Cup, the competition between challengers who are vying for the America's Cup, begins Sunday at 12:15 p.m. with a race between Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge.

The eventual winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup will compete against Oracle Team USA in the America's Cup Finals in September. Opening ceremonies for the races took place Thursday in San Francisco.

Italian team pulls out of Sunday's Louis Vuitton Cup race

Friday was a tough day for the America's Cup. During the morning press conference, the skipper of the Italian team said Luna Rossa may not participate in Sunday's first challenger race.

"We may decide to not take part in the race on Sunday," said Max Sirena from Luna Rossa racing.

Sirena says the team is appealing changes to the rules governor boat design and Luna Rossa wants to wait until the hearing Monday morning. Reaction from Oracle CEO Russell Coutts was blunt.

"I just think it's babyish. They're acting like a bunch of spoiled babies," said Coutts.

Coutts points to what happened at the team store where visitors can purchase hats and shirts. Luna Rossa pulled out of the store after being told they couldn't sell Prada handbags and other items that weren't part of the teams gear.

"This is what they're saying about the event, unless the event does things their way they're not going to participate," said Coutts.

Luna Rossa has only one sponsor and it's Prada, but they aren't saying anything more about that or the racing, just that they want to hear from the jury.

But without Italy on the water, New Zealand has no competition. The only other challenger, the Swedish team Atemis, is still rebuilding after their accident in May.

"I'd say if you don't want to play, don't come. If you want to act in a childish way and threaten race officials and so forth, that's not sport. Don't come," said Coutts.

All of this is leaving spectators disappointed.

"You can't have too many delays or people will lose interest in it," said Kirk Dryden from San Carlos.

Late Friday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the Italian team said the team will definitely not be racing on Sunday. The jury meets Monday morning.

More information about the race schedule can be found online at www.americascup.com.

Bay City News contributed to this report.


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