More Rest for the Weary

Keep the sharp objects away from the journalists (and the crew of Alinghi). With a high-pressure system parked over New Zealand's North Island, and with a forecast of continued light winds on the Hauraki Gulf, Race 4 for the America's Cup was once again cancelled today with the Alinghi Challenge of Switzerland still holding a 3-0 advantage. It was the fourth time Race 4 has been postponed due to unsuitable racing conditions.After consulting with meteorologists and representatives of Alinghi and Team New Zealand, principal race officer Harold Bennett called off the event early Monday morning on what had originally been scheduled as a lay day in the best-of-nine series. After failing to start the race on Sunday, however, Bennett proposed trying again Monday, a notion that appealed to both teams. But the weather again proved uncooperative. Bennett's early decision was the only bright spot on yet another overcast, gray day, as it spared the legion of journalists, spectator boats, and race fans yet another endless, interminable, deadly afternoon bobbing around on an airless Gulf.After Sunday's cancellation, it appeared patience was wearing thin with Bennett's continued reluctance to start a race in what clearly are marginal conditions. In a story published in this morning's New Zealand Herald, the Alinghi navigator and syndicate chief Ernesto Bertarelli said: "This is a zoo. We were asked if we wanted to race (on Sunday), we were ready and then the other team comes back and says, 'well, we don't know, we'll think about it.'"But Team New Zealand syndicate head Tom Schnackenberg supported Bennett's actions on Sunday, saying, "If it becomes a coin toss, it's not the America's Cup." Ironically, Race 4's odds on taking place on Tuesday are also dubious, but for the entirely opposite reason: Too much wind. A frontal system is forecast to move across the North Island overnight packing sustained winds of up to 25 knots, with gusts in the high thirties. What had started as such a promising regatta is now stuck on hold and the end, for now, is nowhere in sight.