Semi-finals delayed by light winds

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DOCKYARD, Bermuda, Jun 4, CMC – Light winds on Sunday forced the postponement of the opening round of the America’s Cup challenger play-off semi-finals.
The four-race programme – featuring Emirates Team New Zealand against Britain’s Land Rover BAR, and Sweden’s Artemis Racing against SoftBank Team Japan – has been held over until Monday, originally set aside as a rest day in the month-long regatta.
The 24-hour postponement of the best-of-nine semi-finals was welcomed by Land Rover BAR’s helmsman, Sir Ben Ainslie, whose team have struggled in light winds in the Great Sound.
Kiwi helmsman Peter Burling, whose team finished runners-up behind defenders Oracle Team USA in the qualifiers, chose Ainslie as his semi-final opponent on Saturday night based on the weather forecast in the coming days.
Organisers called off the day’s racing when winds failed to reach the required six knots minimum.
Stronger winds are expected on Monday.
Oracle, seeking a third successive America’s Cup title here, have two weeks off from competitive action to await the winner of the challenger series.
Oracle will go into the best-of-13 final – known as the match – starting on June 17 with a one-point advantage after winning the qualifiers, in which Groupama Team France were eliminated after finishing bottom of the standings.
The Americans fought back to beat the Kiwis 9-8 in the last America’s Cup four years ago in San Francisco after overcoming an 8-1 deficit.

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