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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.

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No winner in Auckland today for the Prada America's Cup Christmas Race as the breeze dropped away after the start of race 1 and there was not enough to complete the 4 races scheduled for the day.

Race 1 between Emirates Team New Zealand and INEOS TEAM UK - respectively the winner and fourth-placed in the PRADA ACWS Auckland - started on time at 1512.

Emirates Team New Zealand sailed fast around the course until during the second downwind lap when the breeze dropped and the Kiwis remained unable to foil downwind.

The clock counted down, the wind remained around 6 knots and the Defenders missed taking victory by around 1min as the clock ran out and the race was terminated.

At 1745 the Race Committee called it a day and the last possibility to see the AC75’s racing was over for this year.

Crowds wait for the wind in AucklandCrowds wait for the wind in Auckland

Today would have been a critical day for all the teams, but especially for Emirates Team New Zealand as this was their last chance to measure themselves against the three Challengers. The next time they line up on the race course it will be for real in the America’s Cup in March.

By then they will be facing the strongest of the Challengers in the fight for the world’s oldest international sporting trophy. A Challenger who will have undoubtedly raised their game during the PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series starting the 15th of January.

There is no time to rest. An intense period of de-briefings, data analysis, changes and improvements await the teams who are expected to be back training on the water very soon ahead of next year’s challenges.

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As if written into the script, the final race was the one that mattered when it came to who would take the PRADA America’s Cup World Series Auckland trophy. With Emirates Team New Zealand and American Magic on even points, a win against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli would give the Kiwis the point that they needed to take the trophy.

And that’s what happened. Emirates Team New Zealand won the last race by 0:16 seconds over Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and opened the bottle of G.H. Mumm Champagne on the Race Village main stage in front of their fans.

America's Cup World Series Scoresheet after day threeAmerica's Cup World Series Scoresheet after day three

Published in America's Cup
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Four match races have been held on the second day of the Amercia's Cup World Series in Auckland on racecourse C, the preferred playing field as it brings the racing right into the heart of the Waitematā Harbour, with a shifty and puffy Northwest breeze between 10 to 14 knots.

The new ranking list sees New York Yacht Club American Magic and Emirates Team New Zealand on a tie with three wins each. The Challenger of Record Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (2 points) and INEOS TEAM UK (0 points) follow in third and fourth position respectively.

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli beat New York Yacht Club American Magic COR36 / Studio BorlenghiLuna Rossa Prada Pirelli beat New York Yacht Club American Magic Photo: COR36 / Studio Borlenghi

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli beat New York Yacht Club American MagicLuna Rossa Prada Pirelli and New York Yacht Club American Magic at a rounding mark Photo: Studio Borlenghi

RACE 5 – Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli beat New York Yacht Club American Magic

Start: 1512
Port: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team
Starboard: New York Yacht Club American Magic
Course: 6
Axis: 000
Length: 1.8nm
Current: 0.9 knots at 050
Wind speed 12-15kt
Winner Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli 0:12

After an unconventional pre-start in which Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (ITA) were dealt a penalty for entering the start box early. They managed to clear this with a couple of tacks, but the real drama was to happen just a few minutes up the first leg.

Having kept their noses clean and pulled out the makings of a good lead, American Magic (USA) came close to a capsize during a tack when the windward foil seemed to be slow in being raised out of the water. The incident looked precariously close to a capsize but what wasn’t in doubt was how it had affected their standings in the race as the Challenger of Record took the lead.

At the first windward gate the Italians had maintained healthy lead but two gybes at the bottom of the downwind leg cost them distance and the Americans were now just 9 seconds behind.

From there, the race remained tight but Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli sailed a confident and clean race to take the win by 12 seconds.

RACE 6 – Emirates Team New Zealand beat INEOS TEAM UK

Emirates Team New Zealand beat INEOS TEAM UK Photo: COR36 / Studio BorlenghiEmirates Team New Zealand beat INEOS TEAM UK Photo: COR36 / Studio Borlenghi

INEOS TEAM UK to windward of Emirates Team New Zealand beat  Photo: COR36 / Studio BorlenghiINEOS TEAM UK to windward of Emirates Team New Zealand beat Photo: COR36 / Studio Borlenghi

Start: 1550
Port: Emirates Team New Zealand
Starboard: INEOS TEAM UK
Course: 6
Axis: 001
Length: 1.82nm
Current: 0.8 knots at 050
Wind speed 12-15kt
Winner Emirates Team New Zealand 1:32

There were early signs of some boat on boat action in the pre-start as INEOS TEAM UK (GBR) attempted to pin a penalty on Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) seconds before the start. The move didn’t work, despite a protest by the British team, but it provided a burst of action in the opening stages of this race.

The breeze had shifted to the left forcing both boats to start on port tack and resulting in a drag race up the first part of the beat.

The Kiwis were first out to the righthand boundary and came back at INEOS TEAM UK as they tacked onto starboard. Sir Ben Ainslie matched the tack, well to leeward and with a decent lateral separation between the two there was little in the way of engagement and more in the way of covering tacks. But just as Emirates Team New Zealand were settling into the makings of a healthy lead, drama as the home team came perilously close to hitting the glass fibre 900kg windward mark in a mis-communication between helmsman Peter Burling and tactician Glenn Ashby who was positioned to leeward and talking him into the rounding.

Meanwhile, INEOS TEAM UK took the left-hand mark and rounded cleanly to trail by 20 sec. By the bottom mark the Kiwis lead had increased to 30 sec.

On the next lap, the drama came when Emirates Team New Zealand fluffed a gybe in their approach to the bottom gate as the rudder appeared to stall. The boat performed a high-speed wheelie. Smart thinking by the crew saw the jib eased quickly and the windward foil raised as Burling headed downwind to avoid a capsize. They managed to recover and rounded the mark cleanly, but it had cost them 5 sec shaving their lead from 45 to 40 seconds.

The third and final lap delivered no more in the way of dramas and saw the Kiwis extend their lead to 1:32 by the finish.

New York Yacht Club American Magic beats Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Photo: COR36 / Studio BorlenghiNew York Yacht Club American Magic beats Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Photo: COR36 / Studio Borlenghi

New York Yacht Club American Magic ahead of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Photo: COR36 / Studio BorlenghiNew York Yacht Club American Magic ahead of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Photo: COR36 / Studio Borlenghi

RACE 7 – New York Yacht Club American Magic beat Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli

Start: 1637
Port: New York Yacht Club American Magic
Starboard: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli
Course: 8
Axis: 001
Length: 1.62nm
Current: 0.6 knots at 051
Winner New York Yacht Club American Magic 0:30

The return match between American Magic (USA) and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (ITA) was the third race of the day. The breeze had shifted further to the left and the course had been adjusted to match with four laps.

On the entry into the start box, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli came in early and were dealt a penalty. Two starts, two penalties so far, but there was more to come.

Then some classic match racing action as the boats duelled to the righthand side of the start area which saw Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli put a penalty on American Magic. But in the heat of the moment the Italians were unable to accelerate away from the issue and the Americans put a penalty back on Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli. To be stopped in the water with your American opponent screeching away means that it doesn’t take long to give the 50m distance that is required to clear a penalty.

As the race settled down, American Magic was leading and headed out towards the left-hand side of the course.

By the time they reached the windward gate, it was clear that they had chosen the better side of the course and rounded 21 seconds ahead of the Italians.

Little had changed in the distance between the two by the first leeward gate with both boats taking the left-hand mark, 20 seconds apart. On the water, the distance was around 140m.

This time American Magic seemed keener to cover their opponent, matching them tack for tack to protect their lead, with good reason.

At the second windward gate, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli had cut the deficit in two to round 10seconds behind.

By the bottom of the downwind leg, the distance had increased a little to 14 seconds as the Italians performed a perfectly executed starboard mark rounding that rolled into a tack as if they were on rails.

Once again, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli had gained upwind to close the gap to just 5 seconds. By the end of the third lap the distance had grown once again to 15seconds, a pattern was starting to appear with Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli faster upwind, American Magic quicker downwind.

A pattern in the tactics was appearing too with another very similar pattern of play on the final upwind leg as American Magic matched Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli tack for tack to protect their lead. And this time, protect it they did as the Americans rounded the windward mark for the final time, 16 seconds ahead.

With the finish line in sight and confidence high American Magic cruised to victory, stretching their lead to 30seconds.

RACE 8 – Emirates Team New Zealand beat INEOS TEAM UK

Emirates Team New Zealand beat INEOS TEAM UKEmirates Team New Zealand and INEOS TEAM UK in a close duel

Emirates Team New Zealand beat INEOS TEAM UKEmirates Team New Zealand beat INEOS TEAM UK

Start: 1715
Port: INEOS TEAM UK
Starboard: Emirates Team New Zealand
Course: 6
Axis: 001
Length: 1.85nm
Current: 0.3 knots at 055
Breeze 10-14 kts
Winner Emirates Team New Zealand 1:42

The final race of the day saw the second helping of the day’s sparring between INEOS Team UK (GBR) and Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL). While there was little engagement between the two in the pre-start, Sir Ben Ainslie made a better job of setting up to cross the start line on time and at speed.

Meanwhile, the Kiwis who were already rather deep into the starting box, appeared to stall out in a pre-start gybe. The result was that Emirates Team New Zealand were not going to be able to make the start on time, leaving the door open for INEOS TEAM UK to sail away unhindered up the first beat.

The Brits rounded the left hand mark of the first windward gate in the lead, but Emirates Team New Zealand had already hauled back a big chunk of the lost distance to round just 12 seconds behind. The Kiwis chose the right hand mark resulting in a split from their opponents. When they came back together to cross, Emirates Team New Zealand had taken the lead, at least for the time being. The shifty and puffy breeze had favoured the British route down the right hand side of the course and placed them back in the lead at the next cross.

Then, as the third cross approached as the pair came into the bottom gate the lead had now swung back to Emirates Team New Zealand as they rounded the left hand mark, 4 seconds ahead of INEOS TEAM UK who chose the opposite mark.

By the top gate on the second lap the Kiwis leading margin had increased to 31 seconds, despite INEOS TEAM UK appearing to match Emirates Team New Zealand’s straight line speed. By the bottom the Peter Burling’s team lead was 47 seconds.

With just one lap left, the breeze had dropped a few knots making it more of a struggle for the teams to keep their boats on the foils. Mark roundings became more tricky as their approaches into manoeuvres were adapted with the occasional momentary splash downs through tacks.

By the final leg the die had been cast and the Kiwis took a win over the British team by 1min 42 secs. Another win for the home team, but two completed races for Sir Ben Ainslie after some difficult days.

America's Cup World Series Scoresheet after day twoAmerica's Cup World Series Scoresheet after day two

Full replay of the races is available below

Today will be the last day of the PRADA ACWS Auckland, first race will start at 3:00 PM NZT. Prize giving will be held on the main stage on the Te Wero Island one hour after racing.

Published in America's Cup
Tagged under

The first racing day of the PRADA America's Cup World Series in Auckland has concluded and New York Yacht Club American Magic is leading the provisional ranking after winning both their matches.

In second position comes Emirates Team New Zealand (1 point), third Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (1 point) and fourth Ineos Team UK (0 points).

Races, where held with a south-westerly breeze, ranged between 15 and 19 knots. Top speed of the day was 49.1 knots reached by Emirates Team New Zealand.

View the races below.

Published in America's Cup
Tagged under
Page 1 of 9

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

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At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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