|ESPN.com: America's Cup 2007||[Print without images]|
|BMW Oracle Racing and other challengers might not benefit from the longer racing schedules.|
Off to the side, Alinghi has been training and testing, but they also have not received much value out of their time on the water because of the wind. Later in the sailing season, the weather is predicted to improve. The wind will be stronger and, presumably, the racing better. When that happens, the fastest boat will emerge.
So far, American challenger BMW Oracle Racing has been strong despite losing two of their last three races to lower-ranked teams from Spain and China. The loss to China Team can be explained by an equipment breakdown -- BWM Oracle Racing was unable to set one of their sails. The setback will make the shore crew look hard for potential future problems. The time to make measurement modifications to boats is in between rounds. There are only four days between the conclusion of the second round robin and the semifinals, making it difficult to put together a substantial change. At this point, we don't know which teams will be fast in a strong breeze, but they will need to learn fast if they hope to be competitive against Alinghi. Everyone is hoping the weather will improve, but the forecast for the next week is not encouraging. A number of sailors report from the water that the American team seems to be fast. Overall, the crew is sailing well, but the all-important semifinal will tell the tale. Hopefully, by that point, there will be better wind. Gary Jobson is a sailing analyst for ESPN. He is a former collegiate sailor and was a tactician for the 1977 America's Cup-winning yacht Courageous.