The weather seems to be under a spell in Vilanova i la Geltrú (Barcelona), headquarters of the first preliminary regatta of the America’s Cup of sailing to be held in Barcelona in 2024. It rained when it shouldn’t have and the wind disappeared when it was required. The launch of the maximum sailing competition concluded this Sunday with a collective feeling of frustration. What could go wrong went wrong: the lack of wind has led the organization to suspend the expected final this Sunday two days after having to suspend the opening day on Friday due to a thunderstorm. American Magic (United States) was the winner for having obtained the highest score in the five tests of the weekend.
The American team and Team New Zealand (New Zealand), the first two classified in the qualifying rounds that gave access to the final regatta, have started the final, but the lack of wind was so evident that the boats were barely moving over the water. The image of the boat crews counterbalancing with barely being able to start the march was inappropriate for the spectacle that fans and organizers were expecting. A few minutes after starting, the organizers asked the teams to return to the starting line to start again in a more favorable scenario. The forecasts were not favorable and finally the Vilanova regatta ended with a I want and I can’t: when there were three minutes left before 5:30 p.m., the scheduled time to resume the race, the final message arrived: “There is not enough wind to complete the race.” Final Match Race. The regatta concludes.”
With one year to go until the start of the America’s Cup in Barcelona, this first preliminary regatta was the first opportunity to see the six participants compete against each other: Team New Zealand (the current champion, known as Defender because it defends the throne) , Ineos Britannia (Great Britain, the Challenger), Luna Rossa (Italy), Alinghi (Switzerland), American Magic (United States) and Orient Express (France). The teams will compete again between November 29 and December 3 in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) and in August 2024 in Barcelona. The result of these competitions does not affect the composition of the 2024 Copa del América but it can establish who is a favorite one year ahead and who has the most work pending.
Before the failed final, in any case, the two scheduled qualifying regattas were held this Sunday, in addition to the three held on Saturday. Since the three scheduled races were suspended on Friday, the competition has been decided by the result of the five regattas that have been held. American Magic has achieved 34 points to Team New Zealand’s 33. Orient Express, the last to register and with a smaller budget, was third, ahead of Luna Rossa, Alinghi and Ineos Britannia, which leaves Vilanova with a bad feeling.
The disappointment of Vilanova adds to the fiasco of La Vuelta in Barcelona: the cyclists arrived almost in darkness in the first stage because the city’s streetlights could not be turned on in the middle of the storm.
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