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Poor weather keeps boats from training

VALENCIA, Spain — Strong wind and rough seas on Tuesday kept Alinghi and BMW Oracle from training the day before the first race of their America's Cup showdown pitting the fastest, most powerful sailboats ever built.

Cup holder Alinghi decided against launching its catamaran, while American challenger BMW Oracle got its trimaran on the water — with president Larry Ellison aboard — but eventually decided to abandon a planned practice.

The American challenger had wanted to test sails but said conditions made training "too risky."

"If it wasn't the day before a race we would have been out there," BMW Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill said. "We'll see what tomorrow brings, and if it is like it was today we'll be out there."

The first race was called off Monday because of light, unsteady wind, pushing back the start of the three-race series to today.

Both teams are expecting choppier waters. Late Tuesday, race organizers pushed back the scheduled start of Race 1 by almost two hours, to just before 6 a.m. EST.

Harold Bennett, the principal race officer, said strong winds forecast for overnight could kick up a swell that organizers want to monitor.

"I don't want to put the boats out there if they are not going to sail," Bennett said.

The northwest front that blew into Valencia on Tuesday was expected to continue into today and create a good sailing breeze.

Poor weather keeps boats from training 02/09/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 6:32pm]
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