America's Cup: Farewell to the stadium course for the deciding race

Aucklands much-touted stadium course may have hosted its one and only Americas Cup Match race, with changing conditions likely to move Wednesdays possibly-deciding encounter, further out.
Team New Zealand needs just one more win after going 6-3 up over Italian challenger Luna Rossa in the only race sailed on inner-harbour course C on Tuesday before winds faded.

It was the first time the course between popular vantage points at North Head and Orakei had come into play, but the teams believe the northern or eastern courses A or E might host the decider.

The stadium course delivered its promise of shiftier conditions and more passing opportunities in a dramatic race with more than six lead changes, and Team New Zealand coming from behind to win.

* America's Cup: Team New Zealand relaxed about lost opportunity 'It was the right call'
* America's Cup: Luna Rossa lament 'the Kiwi puff' that let Team NZ off the hook
* America's Cup: Regatta director Iain Murray quite right to call off racing with Team NZ at match point

After Tuesdays westerly winds on the inner harbour, the defenders trimmer Glenn Ashby said Wednesday was looking different.

Were looking at north-easterlies or east northeasterly breeze and either A or E I think will be the course Iain Murray (regatta director) will choose, Ashby told Stuff.

Whichever course he does choose, were ready for it, we have sailed a lot on the difference courses and weve got to get out there and have another solid day, he said.

Team New Zealands skipper Peter Burling had heaped praise on Course C, both for helping deliver the hardest fought race of the regatta, but also the spectacle for fans on vantage points and in boats.

Luna Rossa lost the only race on Day 6 of the Americas cup, to trail Team New Zealand 6-3

The outer courses have in the past been criticised for offering few passing opportunities in a steady breeze, with too much dependent on the start line.

Burling said some of those ideas could be changing.

I think were figuring out where the opportunities are in these boats, the last three starts have been very even and taken quite a while for one boat to prove to be ahead of the other, he said.

You cant choose the weather or the course, and Iain Murray has done a good job of putting us in some nice bits of water.

Team NZ skipper Peter Burling says they will continue to focus on improving, despite only needing one more win to retain the America's Cup.

Luna Rossa helmsman Jimmy Spithill seemed genuinely excited by the encounter on the stadium course, even though his team had let it slip away from them.

Get on Course C and see some action its a dynamic course it was fun race to be involved in. Spithill told the post-race media conference.

Tuesdays racing had shown the popularity of the prime onshore vantage points with an estimated 1,000 up on North Head, and 700 boats along the course.

Murray himself might not be sorry to see the racing move away from the stadium course, if it has to.

David White/Stuff
Team New Zealand fans celebrated another victory over Luna Rossa, in the cup village.

Ahead of Tuesdays races, Murray said some of the constraints of trying to set up a course in such a constricted area possibly hadnt been envisaged at the time.

These included the need to have transit lanes for ferries and other boats on either side of the course, and also to squeeze in space for a spectator fleet along at least one boundary.

If we get yesterdays fleet (650 boats) it will be manageable, if we get Saturdays (1571), then good luck, Murray said on Tuesday morning.

The fleet of 700 appeared to pose no problems to the onwater management.


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