SAN FRANCISCO — The America's Cup is staying in America for at least one more day, thanks to the wind that blows in through the Golden Gate Bridge and the strong tide that flows out to sea.
That means, of course, that all those bottles of champagne that New Zealanders have at the ready won't be popped open quite yet.
Not long after Emirates Team New Zealand won Race 11 Wednesday to reach match point in the America's Cup against powerhouse Oracle Team USA, Race 12 was postponed because the wind exceeded the safety limit.
Race 12 was scrubbed just 30 seconds before the high-performance, 72-foot catamarans crossed the starting line with Kiwi skipper Dean Barker holding a strong advantage over rival Jimmy Spithill.
Organizers will try again on Thursday to get in two races, if necessary. Of the four races scheduled Tuesday and Wednesday, three were postponed due to the wind exceeding the limit.
The Kiwis last hoisted the Auld Mug in victory in 2000, so they can wait at least one more day for the chance to finish off Oracle.
Leading 8-1, the Kiwis need one more win to reclaim the Auld Mug for the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.
"We just go out and try and race hard," Barker said, understated as always. "If we can get a win, that'll be great."
Kiwi tactician Ray Davies was a bit more expansive.
"Obviously we're in an extremely strong situation," Davies said. "We are one race away, but that same one race will be the same approach we've always had. That' a pretty exciting part of the game, going out any day now it could be all over. We've just got to keep our heads screwed on."
Oracle Team USA, owned by software tycoon Larry Ellison of Oracle Corp., needs a miracle to keep the oldest trophy in international sports from being spirited away by the crafty Kiwis.
Oracle was docked two points going into the match following the biggest cheating scandal in the 162-year history of the America's Cup.
The wind limit of 23 knots was offset by a 3.1-knot ebb tide flowing out of the bay, reducing it to 19.9 knots for Race 12. The wind peaked at 21.5 knots just before the start.
The wind limit was reduced from 33 knots to 23 knots as one of 37 safety recommendations made after British double Olympic medalist Andrew "Bart" Simpson was killed in the capsize of Artemis Racing's catamaran on May 9.
Oracle tactician Ben Ainslie heard the call to postpone about 30 seconds before the start but didn't tell his crewmates.
"I thought we were in a good position so we'd just keep going," Ainslie said. "I heard on the radio but we were right in the middle of the prestart, obviously, and I thought I'd wait until I heard it a few more times over the radio in case I was just believing stuff and I lost the America's Cup by the wrong radio call."