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Americas Cup Press Conference Quotes


Thursday, 24 February 2000

Harold Bennett, America's Cup Principal Race Officer, on weather conditions: "We sat and agonised over those conditions today. I must admit, at the bottom end of the course we had a bit of breeze. I think it was probably acceptable, but when we went further up the course, all our indicators led me to believe we were not going to see good conditions that would be fair. It was very shifty. We were getting up to 40 degrees (shifts) in the top end of the course and down the sides and quite a variation in wind strength. At no time did we see, at our windward end, anything above seven to seven and a half knots."

Matteo Plazzi, navigator of Luna Rossa, on weather conditions: "For sure it was light conditions. We definitely agree about the postponement at a quarter past one. After maybe one hour or so, the wind built a little and we thought it was still light but stable enough for how a light wind can be stable. We gave our opinion to the Race Committee. We tried to sail because we had to look at a couple of sails. Then the decision was not to race and we fully accepted the decision of the Race Committee."

Bob Rice, weather consultant to Team New Zealand, on weather conditions: "I knew it was going to be marginal. Our original forecast called for a peak speed of around eight to nine, or eight to ten knots. We hit the bottom end of that briefly but no, it was considered to be a very marginal day.

Tony Thomas, Event Director, on the possibility of racing tomorrow: "At this stage we cannot change the program. We still have one reserve day and five sailing days and we don't see at the moment it is necessary to change that schedule because we have contracts in place based around that schedule."

Hamish Wilcox, weather consultant to Luna Rossa, on future weather: "To start with, I think it would have been quite possible to race today, in my opinion. The likelihood that we are going to see more days like this is very high. Our forecasters believe we are going to see something like what we had today for the next seven days. If the breeze stabilises like it did today, where we had quite a stable direction from about 2:30 PM, we'll have to live with that speed. Because that's what we've got and that's enough for these boats to get going."

Bob Rice, on wind behaviour in today's conditions: "Typically, if you have an onshore wind, which we had today, that is of a fairly fragile nature. When the Southwesterlies break through into the Harbour - which we knew had happened - the Northeasterlies have got about an hour or so to live. I think that at best it would have gone into a light and variable. At worst, it would have been a 180-degree course change. So, the idea of a wind of seven or eight knots is fine but it has to last for the length of a race and I don't think that one would have."

Bob Rice, on wind behaviour in today's conditions: "Typically, there are two totally separate thermal regimes that drive these winds. We turn the Easterly into Northerly in one regime. The other one developed independently over the Manakau (Harbour). What happens, typically, is that the Southwest will move out into the (Waitemata) Harbour. Typically, they will continue into the (Rangitoto) Channel and on occasion will continue on out over the entire course. What this one (today's condition) does . . . it has an option, actually, at this point. We know it is in the Harbour. Once that breaks through, the force that drives the Northerly winds ends and they just go flat. So at that point the Southerlies probably do break out all the way."

Harold Bennett, on whether the length of the starting line is always the same: "Yes it is. We do it two ways. One, it is stepped out by the mark laying boat and the second one is on our onboard computer. We pick up the GPS (positions) off the marks and we have a grid that we put over the race course which has the 200 metres marked on that, and we are practically on top of that. So it is fairly accurate."


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