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Challenger finalists to train during Auckland lockdown

February 16, 2021 GMT
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Italy's Luna Rossa, right, leads Britain's INEOS Team UK to win race three of the Prada Cup on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour, New Zealand, Sunday, Feb.14, 2021. (Brett Phibbs/NZ Herald via AP)
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Italy's Luna Rossa, right, leads Britain's INEOS Team UK to win race three of the Prada Cup on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour, New Zealand, Sunday, Feb.14, 2021. (Brett Phibbs/NZ Herald via AP)

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — America’s Cup challenger series finalists INEOS Team UK and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli will be able to train on the water while Auckland remains in limited lockdown because of a community COVID outbreak.

It was still unclear Tuesday when racing will resume as it can’t do so until the lockdown is lifted or reduced.

Auckland was placed in a Level 3 lockdown on Saturday after three cases of the UK variant were found in the community. No new cases have since been reported and the lockdown could be lifted at midnight Wednesday.

In that case racing could resume Friday. Italy’s Luna Rossa holds a 4-0 lead over Britain’s Team UK.

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The first team to win seven races will advance to the America’s Cup final against Team New Zealand.

Race organizers on Tuesday described the schedule for the series as “fluid.”

“America’s Cup Event Ltd and the competing teams are taking all of the necessary steps to continue to work in line with their COVID-19 Level 3 working protocols as reviewed with WorkSafe New Zealand and the Ministry of Health,” they said in a statement.

“Within the respective plans and protocols there is a clear distinction between the individual teams’ operations and official Prada Cup and America’s Cup racing itself.”

Organizers said teams would be able to continue to test and train on the water because that “is part of the core business of all teams.”

Work at the teams’ shore bases was continuing with small crews working in bubbles.

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