Fears grow for America’s Cup after strong winds delay opening race again

THE start of the 33rd America’s Cup – international sport’s oldest trophy – has been thrown into chaos after unfavourable winds caused the postponement of the opening race for the second time this week.

The best-of-three contest between Swiss defending champion Alinghi and American challengers BMW Oracle was scheduled to get underway in Valencia on Monday, but was put back due to weak winds.

Crews were back out at 10am yesterday morning but rough weather and choppy waters forced a further three-hour delay before organisers eventually gave up hope and rescheduled for tomorrow.

“There are a lot of strong winds forecast overnight and offshore and that is going to throw up as well,” said race director Harold Bennett.

“So it is more the sea-state that is going to be of concern. I don’t want to put the boats out there if they are not going to sail. I do not want to put them all the way out there and bring them back without a race.”

It is estimated each side has spent $200m (£128m) on their campaigns with Oracle looking to bring the cup back to America for the first time in 15 years.

The Americas Cup was first raced around the Isle of Wight in 1851 and is a straightforward 40-mile course of one upwind leg and one downwind.

For the first time, both teams will be racing multihulls instead of monohulls with the 90ft-long boats bigger and faster than anything ever seen before.