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Displaying items by tag: America's cup

INEOS TEAM UK stays unbeaten after what was probably the closest race seen so far on the AC75s, with nine lead changes throughout the nail-biting race against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli.

With that result, Sir Ben Ainslie’s team won their the fifth race in a row in the Round Robins. Upon finishing the ‘ghost race’ start successfully it took them to 6 points, enough to qualify directly to the PRADA Cup final.

The Italian Challenger of Record fought until the last jibe of the last leg of a race that was the perfect definition of match race which saw the top speeds exceeding the 50 knot mark for the first time in racing.

INEOS TEAM UK (right) won RR3 Race 2 against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Photo: COR36 / Studio BorlenghiINEOS TEAM UK (right) won RR3 Race 2 against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Photo: COR36 / Studio Borlenghi


PRADA Cup 2021 - INEOS TEAM UK win RR3 Race 2 against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli

RR3 - Race 2
Start: 1720
Port: ITA
Stbd: GBR
Course: C
Axis: 227
Length: 1.9nm
Current: 0.2 knots @ 316
Wind: 18-22 knots / 240 degrees
Winner: INEOS TEAM UK +33 seconds

If the tension surrounding this Italian/British shoot out for the right to jump straight to the PRADA Cup final wasn’t enough, the weather was about to throw plenty of more stress into the mix.

As the start time arrived, the breeze was shifting back and forth across the race course, preventing the race committee from setting a fair course.

As a series of delays followed, pushing the start back by almost an hour, news then came that INEOS TEAM UK needed to play their ‘delay card’ of 15mins as they struggled to repair a problem with the cunningham, one of the key controls for the mainsail.

By the time the race did start at 1720 the breeze was up towards 20 knots at times and still clearly very shifty. In the pre-start and with just a few seconds to go there were the first indications that this would be a closely fought race.

As they crossed the line, both were at the pin end, INEOS TEAM UK to windward, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli to leeward.

As they headed out towards the left hand side of the course INEOS were first to tack away. Luna Rossa followed shortly afterwards and when the pair came back together on the right hand side of the course they were still neck and neck. Luna Rossa tacked underneath, but were slow to come out of the tack. From here, the close battle continued to the first gate where INEOS rounded just 2 seconds ahead of Luna Rossa.

Drag racing down Leg 2 both were on port tack with Luna Rossa slightly lower and faster. But when they came back together, the Italians had lost out as the British crossed ahead.

At Gate 2 the British lead had increased to 9 seconds as they rounded the left hand mark. Luna Rossa took the right.

The next time they came back together Luna Rossa had taken the lead, the Italians appeared to be in phase with the shifts and were capitalising on it, pulling out more distance. By Gate 3 their lead was 19sec.

But there was plenty more left in this match.

Once again, the pair took opposite marks as they headed down leg 4.

When they came back together this time BRITANNIA had taken distance out of their opponents and by Gate 4 the gap was down to 10sec.

As both boats went around the right-hand mark, Luna Rossa headed out to the right while INEOS TEAM UK pulled off a more tricky tack around the mark to split from Luna Rossa who saw the move and tacked to cover.

Both now on starboard, when the British team came back they were now just a boat length apart as INEOS TEAM UK passed just behind them.

From there, Sir Ben Ainslie pushed out to the right, they needed the breeze to swing in their favour to capitalise on their move to the right of the course. Next time that they came back together, INEOS TEAM UK were ahead as they crossed the bow of the Italians on starboard. The tables had turned yet again.
From here, just over one leg lay between the British quest to jump to the final and the Italian hopes to keep their fast track to the Prada Cup alive. By the top mark for the last time, Gate 5 there was just one second between the pair as they headed down the final downwind leg.

Once again, they took opposite marks and they came back together INEOS TEAM UK were on starboard, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli on port, the British were ahead by no more than a second as both tacticians talked of the left hand side being the better side.

For the next cross into the finish, INEOS TEAM UK were on port but could lay the finish, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli couldn’t and tried to get INEOS TEAM UK on a port starboard. As they approached the stern of the British boat, Luna Rossa called a protest as they claimed they had to avoid the give way boat. The umpires didn’t agree. The Italians had played their last card, it hadn’t worked and Sir Ben Ainslie cut the finish line 33 seconds ahead.

PRADA Cup 2021

Prada Cup Scoresheet

QUOTES FROM THE RACE COURSE

SIR BEN AINSLIE - INEOS TEAM UK Team Principal and Skipper
"That race was one for the fans. Pretty awesome race, great to take part in. Lots of lead changes, neck at neck all the way to the line, credit to the Luna Rossa guys for pushing hard. We had few issues leading into the pre-start as we were missing one of the key settings. The guys did an awesome job getting us around the track in one piece and getting the win."

JIMMY SPITHILL – Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli – Helmsman
“When we lodged the protest the both of us were doing 45 knots, we had to avoid BRITANNIA so it was a bit surprised that they thought it wasn’t close enough. At the top we didn’t pull off a couple of tacks as we should have, but it was really shifty. A continuous up and down the entire the racetrack and that’s why we saw so many lead changes. It was a good effort from the guys on board, and congratulations to INEOS TEAM UK. We didn’t get the result we wanted but we certainly learnt a lot from that one.”

PRADA Cup 2021RR3 Video

In recognition of being top round robin qualifier, INEOS TEAM UK were presented a bottle of G.H. Mumm and have been awarded with the PRADA Christmas Race trophy - which was not assigned in December as races were not held due to the lack of wind.

INEOS TEAM UK now have three full weeks to develop their boat and getting ready for the next race, whereas Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli have only 6 days before to fine tuning their AC75 before the next race against American Magic who are in a race against time to repair their boat and get back to the startline. The Semi-final - the first knockout phase of the PRADA Cup - starts on Friday 29 January and by then the pressure ramps up dramatically.

No races will be held tomorrow.

Published in America's Cup
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American Magic's withdrawal from racing in the last two round robins of the America's Cup Challenger Selection Series means a revised schedule of racing on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour this week.

Following New York Yacht Club American Magic informing the Regatta Director that they will not be racing in Round Robins 3 and 4 of the PRADA Cup this weekend, the racing schedule has been revised as follows:

  • Saturday 23rd of January 2021:
    LUNA ROSSA PRADA PIRELLI vs INEOS TEAM UK – Start at 16:00 NZT
  • Sunday 24th of January 2021:
    INEOS TEAM UK vs LUNA ROSSA PRADA PIRELLI – Start at 16:00 NZT

In order to comply with the formality of the Regulations, after finishing the above races both competitors will have to take the start of a “ghost race” vs New York Yacht Club American Magic to allow the Regatta Director to award the point to the relevant team. The “ghost race” will then be suspended just a few minutes after the start. The rule of 25 minutes between the two starts will not apply to these “ghost races”.

Should INEOS TEAM UK win the Saturday race, the Sunday race result will be redundant as INEOS TEAM UK would be the first classified team of the Round Robins and, as such, will go directly through to the PRADA Cup Final. In that event, the two teams will have the choice whether or not to race on Sunday.

Published in America's Cup
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After racing into a squall, crashing, capsizing, incurring significant damage and coming close to sinking, American Magic's AC75 racing yacht, PATRIOT, made it back to shore at 10:45 PM NZDT after a herculean effort to save the boat.

The arrival of the American AC75 back to the team base in Wynyard Quarter was due not only to the perseverance of the team, which never gave up the fight over many hours, but that of the greater Auckland and America's Cup communities. The three other Cup teams, the AC36 event management team and multiple branches of Auckland's rescue services came to the aid of American Magic in a moment of urgent need.

Hutchinson said that this type of incident would certainly be a major challenge to overcome, especially with only 12 days remaining until the Prada Cup semifinals. He also said that the resilience of his team is never in doubt.

Statement from Commodore Christopher J. Culver Regarding American Magic:

Like New York Yacht Club American Magic fans around the world, I watched yesterday’s Prada Cup race against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli eager to see PATRIOT show her speed in her favorite conditions. To see our team go from almost certain victory to almost losing the boat in a few short moments was heartbreaking. I am extremely grateful that no one was seriously injured.

On behalf of the Flag Officers and members of the New York Yacht Club, I want to express our most sincere thanks to the other three America’s Cup teams—Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and INEOS Team UK—along with the America’s Cup Event staff, local fire and rescue personnel and Coastguard New Zealand for their immediate and unwavering support yesterday. Without it, I don’t think we would’ve been able to keep PATRIOT afloat.

The road ahead will be challenging. But after interacting with the American Magic team over the past three years, I know there is no finer crew of sailors, builders, designers, engineers and support personnel on the planet. We will get PATRIOT back on the water.

It’s not easy to create an America’s Cup syndicate from scratch and be competitive. But as the first five legs of yesterday’s race proved, American Magic did just that, building a boat and crew fast enough to take on the world. We are tremendously proud of this team. I look forward to cheering on PATRIOT in the near future.

Go American Magic. Go PATRIOT.

Sincerely,

Christopher J. Culver, Commodore
New York Yacht Club

Published in America's Cup
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The America's Cup is living up to its high drama billing in Auckland at the PRADA Cup, with all the support teams now battling to save NYYC American Magic's AC75 'Patriot' after a spectacular capsize.

Local reports from the race course say that in New York Yacht Club American Magic's match against Luna Rossa PRADA Pirelli, the Americans team tried to complete a tack bear away in a big squall while in the lead. With the leeward runner seemingly jammed on, the bow reared up, resulting in the main foils both leaving the water, then rolling into a capsize.

After righting the yacht, it was clear that there was a significant amount of water inside the boat, with buoys and other floatation devices attached and pumps deployed quickly. Despite this, the bow is still under the water.

Capsize for American Magic on day 3 of the PRADA Cup Photo: COR36 / Studio BorlenghiCapsize for American Magic on day 3 of the PRADA Cup Photo: COR36 / Studio Borlenghi

Published in America's Cup
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A tricky and yet revealing day for the Challengers competing in the America's Cup PRADA Cup Round Robins due the to the tricky light wind conditions that frequently forced the AC75’s off their foils.

A positive day for the Challenger of Record of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli as the Italians took a nerve-wracking win against American Magic on the first race of the day to lodge their first point on the board.

The second race of the day, once again was the British challenger INEOS TEAM UK that again surprised many by winning their third race in a row in conditions they were expected to struggle in against the Americans.

It was a tough day for American Magic, with two consecutive losses which Skipper Terry Hutchinson described as ‘character building’.

The pressure mounting, but the turnaround performance for the British team is a clear example as to how fast things can change and nothing can be taken for granted.

A positive day for the Challenger of Record of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli as the Italians took a nerve wracking win against American MagicA positive day for the Challenger of Record of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli as the Italians took a nerve-wracking win against American Magic Photo: COR36/ Studio Borlenghi

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli win RR1 Race 3 against American Magic

RR1 Race 3
Start: 1515
Port: ITA
Stbd: USA
Axis: 204
Length: 1.8nm
Current: 1.1 knots @ 336
Wind
8-14 knots / 225 degrees
Winner: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (ITA)
American Magic (USA) DNF (time limit)

As Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (ITA) entered the pre-start area from the left-hand side there were the first few signs that this would be a tricky race. Struggling to stay on their foils the Italian team made it across the bow of right of way American Magic (USA), just. But shortly after this both boats had dropped down into the water and were now very slow.

At 30 sec to go to the start Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli had managed to get back up and running, but American Magic were still dead in the water.

At the start, the Italians crossed the line at speed on starboard from the committee boat end of the line leaving the Americans still struggling for speed coming in on port.

Eventually, Dean Barker did get underway, but they were already 250m behind.

In the patchy breeze and when they were fully underway, boat speeds were around 27-28 knots on the first upwind leg. But this kind of pace was short lived. Although Luna Rossa Prada

Pirelli were able to get around through the first gate on their foils they couldn’t keep this pace for the entire downwind leg.

As the breeze stayed down at around 8 knots Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli were having trouble getting down leg 2. In their attempt to create sufficient boat speed to get onto the foils they were forced to sail so high that they were sailing across the course rather than down it.

As they continued to struggle, the tables were about to be reversed as American Magic managed to get into some breeze, get up to speed and haul back the massive 700m+ deficit to catch and then overtake the Italians.

Crowds watch the Prada Cup in AucklandCrowds watch the Prada Cup in Auckland

But once again, the patchy breeze caused fortunes to be reversed. This time it was Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli who got back up to speed to sail away from American Magic once again. Minutes later they had passed through gate 2 in the lead.

From here, American Magic never got close enough to pose a problem for Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli. As the Italians approached gate 3 they were well out in front, foiling around the left hand mark. But once again, from the on board comms it was clear that their main concern now was keeping on their foils to get to the finish in a race that had been shortened from three laps to two.

The Italians held their nerve, connecting the dots to stay with what little breeze they could find and managed to cross the finish line inside the 45min time limit.

Luna Rossa had taken a nerve wracking win to put their first point on the board for Round Robin 1.

It was a tough day for American Magic, with two consecutive lossesIt was a tough day for American Magic, with two consecutive losses Photo: COR36 / Studio Borlenghi

INEOS Team UK win RR2 Race 1 against American Magic

Start: 1655
Port: GBR
Stbd: USA
Course: combination between C &D
Axis: 211
Length: 1.58nm
Current: 0.4 knots @ 337
Wind
8-12 knots / 220
Winner: INEOS Team UK (GBR)

As the sky cleared, so the heating on the land showed hints of the ingredients for a sea breeze as the wind speed climbed slowly towards double figures. The wind direction had also changed slightly causing the race committee to delay the start of the race as they re-aligned the course axis. But once again, the rise in the wind speed was deceptive.

On the pre-start entry INEOS TEAM UK (GBR) were travelling at speed, fully in flight as they entered the zone at speed, on time and on port tack. They crossed their opponents American Magic (USA) with ease who appeared to have got their timing wrong, entering the zone too early and gaining a penalty as well. Even worse they came off their foils and struggled to get back up to speed.

With 30 sec to go, INEOS TEAM UK were at speed burning time on the right hand side of the pre-start area as they headed back towards the line and American Magic who were dead in the water.

Seconds later INEOS TEAM UK tacked onto port, crossed the start line and charged off on the upwind leg at speed leaving American Magic dead in the water.

One minute and 30 seconds later INEOS TEAM UK were 500m ahead of American Magic. Seconds later it was 700m and growing.

As INEOS TEAM UK approached gate 1 there was concern aboard the British boat that it would be difficult to avoid the light patches further up the course. As they rolled into a tack onto port the breeze dropped and the British came off their foils. This would be the first of many splash downs for both teams.

Meanwhile, American Magic were up and running and charging up the beat at 30 knots to INEOS TEAM UK’ 2 knots. But the advantage was short lived as the American’s sailed into the same lull in the breeze.

Sir Ben Ainslie sneaked through gate 1 and inched their way downwind.

Boat speeds were now down to 4-8 knots.

Having inched their way down leg 2 INEOS TEAM UK were the first to get onto their foils, but it was a brief moment. One gybe and they were back in displacement mode, sailing like an everyday race boat.

As they did so American Magic had found some breeze and were back up on their foils, closing the distance on the leaders. But it wasn’t enough, INEOS TEAM UK had found a slither of breeze too and were sailing at over 30knots, enough to get them down to gate 2 as they rounded the right hand mark.

The next lap of the course was tense for the race leaders in trying to avoid the flat patches and ignore the moments when American Magic was reeling in the distance.

But as the British approached gate 3 for the final leg, (the had been shortened), the concern was now around whether there was enough time to complete the race.

Eventually, with 7 minutes to go before the time limit expired INEOS TEAM UK found the breeze and got back up to speed. Two thousand metres to go, three and a half minutes left, the British were travelling at over 30 knots, this was going to be close.

In the event, they crossed the finish with two minutes to spare to take their third race win from three starts.

With 7 minutes to go before the time limit expired INEOS TEAM UK found the breeze and got back up to speedWith 7 minutes to go before the time limit expired INEOS TEAM UK found the breeze and got back up to speed

Prada Cup scoresheet after Day two Round robin

Teams debrief on stage after Day twoTeams debrief on stage after Day two

QUOTES FROM THE RACE COURSE

FRANCESCO BRUNI – Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli helmsman

“It was very challenging out there. We are very happy, it was one of those races that you can win or lose very easily. It was really demanding for the boys to produce power, it’s harder in the lighter wind than in stronger winds. So, they have done a fantastic job. The boat was always with enough power to pump, to take off and I’m very proud of them.
I think that in the light wind we have an advantage due to our big foils. Actually, it’s a combination of things: we have power in the sails and power in the foils. We definitely like the light wind, but today it was not so much a matter of speed edge but more the ability to stay in the pressure. And I think we did a good job. To keep calm and collected it is by far the harder thing… especially for Italians.”

SIR BEN AINSLIE, INEOS TEAM UK Team Principal & Skipper

“It was a tough race given what’s at stake. It was toughest for the grinders, they worked hard the whole time, as today it was much more intense to try and keep the boat on the foils. On every maneuver, if you come off the foils, that might be the end of the race. The guys did a great job handling the boat and also did Giles trying to find the little breeze that it was.

I’m not sure today is an accurate read of our performance because it was so puffy, so shifty, and it was really about just trying to stay in the pressure. We are still not sure with light winds how we stake up, but it’s definitely a huge improvement from where we were three weeks ago. We will see how we go as we get further in the competition, we will keep pushing.”

TERRY HUTCHINSON American Magic Skipper, Executive Director & Tactician

“We were off the foils on both starts so that left us behind straight away. From there we struggled in the light breeze. On the second race we got similar situation, we were a little bit jammed up on the entry timing and came off the foil. Again we sailed up a good bit, got close at the top and it was about who got the pressure and who got pumped first. From my perspective there is not much to turn around, we must stay patient, trust in ourselves and trust in our team, which we do, and keep chipping along, there is a lot of meat left on this fire, and we will keep fighting.

Statistically, we are sailing in the windiest month of the year, so I think when you design and make decision for your boat, situations like today are character building. On the shore tonight we will have a debrief with the team and make sure we all remain true to ourselves, work hard and keep ready to turn things around.”

PRADA Cup 2021 Video - Day Two

AC36 Jury Case 01

The AC36 International Jury has issued its first decision following the opening day of racing in the PRADA Cup after a “Claim of Non Compliance” was lodged by Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli against INEOS TEAM UK in respect of apparent intentional openings in their mainsail contravening AC75 Class Rule 18.1.

The Measurement Committee Report, approved by the Rules Committee as a correct interpretation of the Class Rule, found that INEOS TEAM UK raced Races 1 and 2 while not in compliance with the Class Rule but after consultation with the Regatta Director determined that the non-compliance had not either improved performance of the yacht nor had a significant effect on the outcome of a race.

Based on the Measurement Committee Report and as it was a first Class Rule Offence, the Jury penalized INEOS TEAM UK the sum of US$5,000 (NZ$7,010.00) to be paid to the Sir Peter Blake Trust (a charity selected by the Jury with the support of COR36 and the Defender) by 25 January 2021.

Published in America's Cup
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INEOS TEAM UK went from zero to hero by winning both races with solid starts, smooth sailing and protecting their leads over their opponents, both American Magic and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team respectively. It is a result few people had predicted before yesterday's races.

However, an as of yet, an unconfirmed protest has been lodged against INEOS Team UK according to Live Sail Die website. It wouldn’t be the America’s Cup without some sort of litigation. In this case, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli is said to be protesting Ineos Team UK for having their outhaul penetrating the sail skin on their main fairing. More here.

All the build-up and discussion ended and the points started to count in Auckland as the first two races of the PRADA Cup officially kicked off.

Race course C - sheltered between North Head and Bastion Point - was selected for the racing to take advantage of the predominant Southwest wind at start time. The right side of the course was strong all day and Ben Ainslie and his INEOS Team UK knew it.

By the top gate INEOS TEAM UK were ahead by 11 secondsBy the top gate INEOS TEAM UK were ahead by 11 seconds Photo: COR36 / Studio Borlenghi

RR1 R1 – INEOS TEAM UK beat New York Yacht Club American Magic

Start: 1515
Port: USA
Stbd: GBR
Course: C
Axis: 205
Length: 1.8nm
Current: 0.9 knots @ 330
Wind: 8-16knots / 215 degrees

As the clock counted down for the first race of the day, the pressure was on for both INEOS TEAM UK (GBR) and American Magic (USA), but for the British there was no doubt that the stress of not having won a single race since arriving in Auckland was weighing heavily on the entire team.

But when it came to crunch time Sir Ben Ainslie’s team appeared to have a strong game plan from the start.

As both boats entered the starting box there appeared to be little appetite for engagement on either side. With a minute to go both were out on the right hand side of the pre-start area. American Magic were the first to tack back onto starboard choosing to take the lower route back to the start line setting them up to leeward of their British opponents.

If Ainslie and Co had wanted the right-hand side of the course and the windward side of the start they had got it as the gun went.

Both boats had made a perfect timed run into the start, crossing the line on time and at full speed. But as INEOS TEAM UK were the first to tack off onto port to head for the right hand side of the course, there were the first hints that the British favoured this side of the race track.

By the top gate INEOS TEAM UK were ahead by 11 seconds.

From here, the British were able to pick the side of the right hand side of the course which still had more breeze while also keeping a loose tactical cover on their opponents. Meanwhile American Magic took the left hand mark at the top gate, a move that cost them time by the bottom of the first downwind leg.

American Magic took the left hand mark at the top gate, a move that cost them time by the bottom of the first downwind leg Photo: COR36 / Studio BorlenghiAmerican Magic took the left hand mark at the top gate, a move that cost them time by the bottom of the first downwind leg Photo: COR36 / Studio Borlenghi

As the first lap was completed INEOS TEAM UK had stretched out their lead to 19 seconds.

Another lap of the course saw a big stretch in the distance between the pair to 1min 8 sec after lap two.

From there little changed, INEOS TEAM UK sailing confidently and accurately throughout to increase their lead to 1min 20 sec by the finish.

“That feels a lot better than six consecutive losses,” said skipper Ainslie shortly after the finish.“ That was a good team effort.” 

In the pre-start, INEOS TEAM UK entered the start zone from the left hand side crossing Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli with easeIn the pre-start, INEOS TEAM UK entered the start zone from the left-hand side crossing Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli with ease Photo: COR36 / Studio Borlenghi

RR1 R2 – INEOS TEAM UK beat Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli

Start: 1615
Port: GBR
Stbd: ITA
Course: C
Axis: 200
Length: 1.86nm
Current: 0.2 knots @ 331
Wind - 16-22knots / 215
Winner: INEOS TEAM UK 0:28

As the British and Italian teams prepared for their match, the breeze was continuing to build reaching 16-22kts at Bean Rock towards the top of the race course. If previous performances were anything to go by these conditions were further into the British sweet spot and away from where the Italians have been most competitive.

But no one was taking anything for granted. All three teams had worked extensively on their boats and sailing techniques. They, as much as the spectators, were eager to find out whether they had improved and by how much.

In the pre-start, INEOS TEAM UK entered the start zone from the left-hand side crossing Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli with ease. For the opening seconds neither team looked keen on engagement. As the clock counted down to the last minute and as both boats set up to come back to the start line on starboard tack a left handed wind shift meant that neither could cross the start line on starboard. From their windward and ahead position, INEOS TEAM UK were able to tack onto port for the start line and cross ahead - a narrow leading margin perhaps, but one that the British team held as they headed up the first beat.

Once again, Ainslie and his tactician Giles Scott looked to work the right-hand side of the course where the breeze was still strongest. As they did so they were able to sail higher and faster than their opponents and force the Italians into their dirty air. This meant that Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli was forced to tack off and head towards the lighter conditions on the left-hand side of the course.

By the top gate, INEOS TEAM UK rounded the right-hand mark 15sec ahead of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli.

By the bottom of the first downwind leg the British lead had stretched slightly to 22 sec but, as the pair headed up the second beat the Italian strategy was emerging, staying close and waiting for an opportunity to pounce was the name of the game.
It never happened.

Although they were able to whittle the British lead down to 13sec on the last windward gate rounding, by the finish INEOS TEAM UK had stretched out to win by 28sec.
Another dominant performance and a big turn around for a team that has bounced along the bottom since the start of racing last December.

 Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli were forced to tack off and head towards the lighter conditions on the left hand side of the course.Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli were forced to tack off and head towards the lighter conditions on the left hand side of the course. Photo: COR36 / Studio Borlenghi

Quotes from the Prada Cup Race Course

SIR BEN AINSLIE - INEOS TEAM UK Skipper and Team Principal

“It feels a lot better than six losses or whatever it was. We left it a bit late, nice to find the pace when it counts on time in this breeze. In the first race, the right-hand-side of the course was stronger, on North Head as we have seen. And in the races, a couple of weeks ago, it was a quite big feature. Giles did a great job calling the breeze and the guys sailing it fast and handling it. It was a team effort and I have got to say our entire team back on the dockyards, the designers, the engineers, the shore team, the boat builders, they had three epic weeks working to turn this boat around. So, this is for them and for our friends at Mercedes GP. As I said to the boys we are long way out of the woods yet, it’s a couple of good races. Time to make the most of the momentum now”.

DEAN BARKER - American Magic Helmsman

“It was a tough race, we didn’t expect to be quite a big difference at North Head, that gave to INEOS TEAM UK the control. Also, they start a very good race today, they were going a lot better than we have seen on practice racing. Maybe it was a surprise for some, but we kind of knew it was going to be pretty close. We lost a couple of opportunities, areas straight away where we knew we could have done a better job keeping it close. Early days, one race, we would have much preferred to come with a win, but it’s a long series we need to keep improving. We will look back through at the race and look at the key decision moments, trying to understand how we could have executed that race better, one or two key areas which ended up to be the difference”.

JAMES SPITHILL - Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Helmsman

“We were on time, we had a bit of time to kill, we thought we had a shot at hooking them actually when he tacked in front of us, but then on the way back, unfortunately, we had a big shift of the wind. We went from killing time to be racing, to be in late, and from that moment on there were not too many opportunities, they raced really, really, well.
Very early in the race we didn’t go damage control, we tried to keep them close and just wait for something to open up, unfortunately, they way the course was set up there wasn’t really too many opportunities on the left-hand side, they rightly so protected the right, there was a couple of things up the top but we couldn’t find a way around, but full credit they sailed very well”.

The three challengers will spend the next four weeks fighting it out in the PRADA Cup to gain the right to go up against the defenders, Emirates Team New Zealand to race for the America’s Cup presented by PRADA in March.

Today Race 3 of RR1 will start at 3:15 PM NZT weather permitting and will see Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli vs American Magic. RR2 Race 1 will follow and will see INEOS TEAM UK vs American Magic.

Published in America's Cup
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13th January 2021

AC75 Prada Cup Preview

Whether it be for the Challengers or the Defender, the speed at which the whole America's Cup fleet is developing has already taken even the experts by surprise.

During the break between the PRADA America's Cup World Series Auckland and the start of the Challenger selection series, the Prada Cup, it was clear that teams would continue to develop their boats and their handling techniques, as well as incorporating what they had learned from the three days of racing.

As always in a Cup campaign, time is the biggest constraint but never more so than for this cycle where the new generation of boats are so extreme and their true potential yet to be defined. Here, the learning curve is steep for all.

So a two-day practice race programme this week provided an opportunity to see what all the teams had been up to and how they had adapted their sailing. And from the moment they arrived on the racecourse, it was clear that plenty had changed and that the competition is already heating up. Rarely have we seen this level of intensity in an America's Cup build-up.

The big surprise came when the Defenders nosedived and capsized in an unforced error shortly after gybing. A sharp reminder of the thin line that all of the teams tread. Thankfully no one was hurt and righting the AC75 took just a matter of minutes. And while the team decided to withdraw from the rest of racing for the day, they were back up and running in time for the racing on the following day.

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Speculation mounts over the causes of Emirates Team New Zealand’s epic capsize this morning during an America's Cup practice session in Auckland.

All four teams were out getting in a few more training laps ahead of the Prada Cup Challenger Series which starts this Friday 15th January.

According to ETNZ: “We got a little too high in the gybe and stopped pretty quick. Full credit to the design of these boats that they are still in one piece.

“We’ve talked about this a lot, and practised it. The boat’s upright and should be ready to sail again. “Obviously the capsize wasn’t ideal, but it’s a fantastic opportunity to really push ourselves.”

Some commentators, however, are blaming the helicopter seen overhead, and seemingly creating a downdraft.

“Those guys should have kept well away,” says one. “Too eager for a shot and careless of the guys beneath them.”

“Pushing the limits something has to give, and at speed an interesting result when the downdraft of the chopper is ever slightly too close,” agrees another. “Lesson learned the hard way! More airspace needed fellas!”

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Organised by COR 36, Challenger of Record, the PRADA Cup - the Challenger Selection Series - will be held from January 15 to the end of February 2021: the last day depends on the number of races that will be necessary for the winner to earn seven victories and overwhelm the other challenger.

This crucial event determines which foreign Challenger will take on the Defender Emirates Team New Zealand in the 36th America's Cup Match in March 2021. True to the established traditions of the America's Cup since 1970, year of the first "Challenger Elimination Series", strongly wanted by Baron Marcel Bich and imposed to the New York Yacht Club. From that edition, the Challenger Series become an important event in the event.

The three Challengers come from Europe and the States. Each has a strong story to tell: from the United Kingdom, INEOS TEAM UK brings back on the great show the Royal Yacht Squadron, the club where the "Hundred Guineas Cup" was raced in 1851 under Queen Victoria's reign and eyes. The skipper is Sir Ben Ainslie, five Olympic medals winner, the only sailor in history with four golds in a row. From the United States, New York Yacht Club comes back to the Cup with American Magic and Terry Hutchinson as skipper. Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team by the Italian passionate "sailor" Patrizio Bertelli is the sixth challenge he runs. The challenge is signed by Circolo Della Vela Sicilia and Max Sirena is the skipper.

The racing will consist of four round-robin sessions starting on January 15, with the winner qualifying for the PRADA Cup Final. The remaining two teams will then compete in a first-to-four point PRADA Cup semi-final, with the winner also qualifying for the PRADA Cup Final. The first-to-seven-points PRADA Cup Final starts on 13 February, with the winner becoming the Challenger for the 36th America's Cup.

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Crashing out of the America's Cup World Series earlier this month with no race wins has only added to the increasing commentary surrounding Sir Ben Ainslie's Team INEOS UK problems in New Zealand. 

Is Ainslie still able to recover? Yes, INEOS UK team can win January's Prada Cup, once they adjust their existing foil package, is the verdict of two Italian commentators who shed light on the British team's big issue that may be 'easy to fix'.

Sail designer Pietro Pinucci throws a possible lifeline to Ainslie and the Ineos Team UK in the youtube discussion below with Quantum Sails Vittorio d’Albertas.

The pair conclude that although aerodynamics is well understood the difficulty lies in balancing those properties with the necessities of different points of sailing, speeds and manoeuvres.

Published in America's Cup
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