Postponements Jumble LVC Schedule, Test Racers' Patience

Three days of no wind and no racing have complicated the Louis Vuitton Cup schedule and exhausted sailors' tall tale supply. "First Beat" from our April 19, 2007, /AC eNewsletter/

FBLVSt
Gilles Martin-raget

After four days of no wind and no racing at the Louis Vuitton Cup in Valencia, Spain, things are apparently pretty dire on BMW Oracle Racing's USA-98. "We have run out of stories," said BMW ORACLE Racing sailing manager Craig Monk in a team e-mail. "We need new material. We might have to start rotating the crew if this goes on much longer."It's a little better onboard Emirates Team New Zealand. "Surprisingly enough there are still some stories coming up, it's a little bit more stretches of a version of something we heard a year ago or two years ago, but you would never let the truth get in the way of a good story," said ETNZ tactician Terry Hutchinson. "It seems like the guys reach back into the barrel to pull some out every now and then. Dalts and Shoe [Grant Dalton and Kevin Shoebridge] being some of the more elderly statesmen aboard have plenty of stories to keep us going."Victory Challenge is in a similar situation, according to mid-bowman Keats Keeley. They're not yet bored, but they are anxious to get underway. "I was out on the water again with the anticipation of going racing, but third day in a row of cancellation. It's really too bad because we're finally ready as a team to hit it hard," he said. "But there's always good stories to be told around 17 sailors. We have plenty to talk about. It's not so much the stories we're getting tired of; it's the anticipation of racing. We're here, it's the big show, we're ready to go hard. We leave the dock every morning hoping to race and you end up sitting around."Both Hutchinson and Keeley agreed that while no one likes to wait, the regatta and the teams are better served by waiting for good conditions. "You wouldn't want to race in marginal conditions and we've had below marginal conditions; they've been practically unsailable because of the wind strength," said Keeley. "We haven't even seen more than the regulation 7 knots at the 7-meter wind height for more than 10 minutes. It's been very light for the last three days and untypical seabreeze conditions. Leading up to the event with Act 13 we had plenty of breeze for a few days and one or two with light breeze conditions, but it's been pretty fickle wind conditions here in Valencia for the last three weeks or so. We've only seen the sunshine come through in the last three days."The forecasts, according to reports, aren't very promising for Friday. But things were expected to improve into the weekend. As it stands now, the missed racing ensures that at least one flight of Round Robin 1 will be carried over to Round Robin 2, where just one race per day is scheduled. Tuesday is a definite day off for all the teams. Any additional missed flights will likewise be sailed as the second flight on a day in Round Robin 2. Ironically enough, many people noted that the careful seeding and planning for Round Robin 1 was thrown out the window by the wind delays. Rather than bump the schedule back, the format moved the missed flights to the first open slot. However, since racing today (Thursday) was abandoned, the first race of the regatta could very well be Flight 1, which is now scheduled for Friday, which was originally one of two reserve days for Round Robin 1. From there, however, it's as mixed up as it could possibly get. Flights 9 and 10 are scheduled for Saturday, with Flight 11 and Flight 3 on Sunday, then Flights 4 and 5 on Monday. And all that, of course, is wind dependent.