Saturday, June 23, 2007

America's Cup Match - Day 1: Preview

Well, here it is!!! The big day has arrived in Valencia and the 32nd America's Cup match will start at 3pm local time. Alinghi, the Swiss Defender, will race against Emirates Team NZ, the New Zealand challenger, off the coast of Malvarosa. The kiwis will enter the starting box with a configuration well known to everybody that has been watching the Louis Vuitton Cup. On the contrary, Alinghi will hit the water with one big unknown, their brand new yacht, SUI-100. The latest Swiss boat has never sailed before in official races, whether in Valencia or anywhere else, and her performance is subject of speculation. According to reliable commentators that have successfully taken part in the America's Cup themselves, SUI-100 is around 24 seconds faster than SUI-91 upwind which in turn is believed to be faster than NZL-92.

Still, it seems that the main issue that sailors and the tens of thousands of fans in Port America's Cup should be more preoccupied with is the developing weather pattern. Two days ago it seemed we would enjoy a good, steady and reliable sea breeze it appears there has been a changing weather pattern. Given the elimination of BMW Oracle in the Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals, their very useful weather slides are, unfortunately, not produced any longer. Yesterday, the very reliable BMW Oracle Blog reported that there is even fear we will not be able to have any race today or if we do it will be under very light conditions, apparently a disadvantage to Alinghi.

As we are writing this (11am) there is a strong northern breeze blowing at 15 knots. Clouds have also been building up over the Valencia region.

ClearPoint weather overview
We will use the ClearPoint weather software to give an overview of the current situation in Valencia and the rest of the Iberian peninsula.

ClearPoint satellite overview of the Iberian peninsula at 8am Valencia Time.

ClearPoint wind patterns in Valencia at 1km resolution at 10am Valencia Time. As one can easily see from the graph, there is currently a strong northeastern breeze, reaching 15 knots

Weather forecast by America's Cup organizers
A weak high pressure over Mallorca produces light easterly gradient. According to the event organizers, sea breeze will develop to 12-14 knots during early afternoon, but will decrease slightly later in the day during racing to 10-12 knots. The easterly wind direction will remain relatively stable before backing towards north east as breeze drops. Skies are expected to remain clear and the day will be warm with temperatures reaching 25 degrees.

Alinghi's weather forecast
East gradually veering south easterly in the late afternoon, 8-12 knots, 26°

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