Oracle are in even bigger trouble

Author
Chris Rattue, NZ Herald,
Section
Yachting,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 21 June 2017, 5:38PM
Team New Zealand have so far proven to be the faster boat. (Photo \ File)
Team New Zealand have so far proven to be the faster boat. (Photo \ File)

Now the weather is closing in on embattled America's Cup defenders Oracle.

The news keeps getting worse for Oracle Team USA - the wind forecasts are strongly in Team New Zealand's favour when racing resumes on Sunday morning.

NZME's America's Cup sailing professor Mark Orams says that all weather models are predicting winds under 14 knots, with some as low as seven, for Sunday and beyond.

This will play firmly into the hands of Emirates Team New Zealand, whose boat is clearly faster than Oracle's in lighter airs. TNZ leads 3 - 0 in the race to seven wins.

"There's no get out of jail card for Oracle," Orams said.

TNZ skipper Glenn Ashby and a number of yachting pundits say that Oracle is powerless to make up the boat speed difference in such a short space of time.

"The writing is on the wall," is how Sail-World writer Mark Jardine put it.

Orams said: "Because we are still over three days away from Races 5 and 6, this forecast could change.

"However, no models are predicting anything over 13 knots for Bermuda for the next week so it is unlikely we will see racing in the higher wind speeds experienced during the challenger series.

"This will not be what Oracle were hoping for. They were much more competitive in the higher wind speeds against Team NZ. The two races they won in the qualifying series were both in over 13 knots of wind-speed. "

Orams believes that Team NZ meteorologist Dr Roger "Clouds" Badham will tell the sailors that all is good because Bermuda is in a stable summer weather pattern.

"Every sailor I have ever known is fixated on weather forecasts...'Clouds' is the best in the business" Orams said.

"Currently a large slow moving high pressure system is located in the western North Atlantic. This is the system that delivered light north-east and then easterly winds for the first two days of the America's Cup when Team NZ excelled.

"The 8-12 knot wind range for Races 1 - 4 were a sweet-spot for Aotearoa (the TNZ catamaran) and I would guess that if the team could dial up similar conditions for races 5 - 8 they would do so.

"The same high pressure system is predicted to remain in place through to the coming weekend in Bermuda. So the Kiwi sailor's wind God "Huey" may be smiling down on them."

PredictWind, the wind forecasting software developed by New Zealander Jon Bilger specifically for the America's Cup (but now available to all), uses four predictive models for specific locations.

When all four models are consistent in their predictions, then there is greater confidence in their accuracy. The four models show 11 - 13 knots, 7 - 8 knots, 10 - 13 knots, and 7 - 10 knots for the two races on Sunday (NZ time).

Orams said: "Because we are still over three days away this forecast could change. However, no models are predicting anything over 13 knots for Bermuda for the next week so it is unlikely we will see racing in the higher wind speeds."

-NZ Herald

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