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2021 Prada Cup: The Brits Own The Day

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  • #16
    It's Do Or Die Time For Ineos


    © Chris Cameron

    With so much riding on this weekend it is not surprising that all eyes have been on the weather forecast. Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli need just three more wins to take the Prada Cup.

    If they continue their winning streak and deliver two victories today, their path to the America’s Cup Match itself could be secured as early as tomorrow if they were to win the first of two scheduled races.

    All of which puts huge pressure on both teams, but in particular INEOS TEAM UK who are still trying to get a score on the board.
    They know that time is running out fast. They also know the risks of making radical last minute changes in an attempt to play catch up and will be focussing on taking each race as it comes. If they can secure two wins today, their chances of taking racing into next week when the breeze is due to be stronger may increase their chances of a comeback.

    But, while longer term strategies will have been planned, neither team will be looking any further ahead than today for the time being. Figuring out how to succeed over the next few hours will be taking all of their attention and naturally the weather will play a big part.
    The problem is that no matter how closely either team has followed the developing forecasts, the chances are that they will be none the wiser this morning. Today’s weather is complex where even the highest resolution models disagree.

    At the scheduled first start one shows a South Westerly sea breeze of around 9-12knots developing over course area E where racing will take place.
    It’s a complicated picture, driven by the development of a high pressure system that has built over New Zealand this week.



    A few weeks ago Luna Rossa’s Max Sirena said in jest that he didn’t look at weather forecasts any more as they change every three hours. Today is a good example as to why he wasn’t being as flippant as we might have thought and why keeping eyes out of the boat and reading the conditions will be crucial.
    The Italians’ reputation for being slippery in the light airs puts them in a good position, but in the past they haven’t always had the British team’s advantage in situations like this of having a dedicated tactician.

    But it’s not just the teams that will be under pressure to read the conditions and make the right calls. Regatta Director Iain Murray and his team will have their work cut out to set courses across a wide range of possible wind directions.
    It might be a light weather day, but it will be full-on for the teams and the race management as the race for the Prada Cup heats up.

    *****************************

    The America's Cup Race Village and village activations are closed this weekend due to Covid-19 Level 2 restrictions.
    Restrictions below also apply:

    Racecourses B & C will not be used for racing, to mitigate the chance of large public gatherings on shore, which are in line with Government Level 2 restrictions.
    2 metre physical distancing, and face masks recommended.
    All bars, restaurants and cafes surrounding the Race Village can remain open in line with Ministry of Health COVID-19 Level 2 Guidelines.
    Public are reminded to always scan the NZCOVID19 Tracer App.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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    • #17
      Feb 19th Prada Cup: The Brits Still Have A Pulse

      INEOS TEAM UK beat Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli



      all images © Studio Borlenghi/COR

      Start: 1715
      Port: GBR
      Stbd: ITA
      Course: E
      Axis: 248
      Length: 1.8nm
      Current: 0.2 knots @ 353
      Wind: 8-12knots 225 degrees

      Winner INEOS TEAM UK – 0:14

      For the second race of the day the breeze had increased slightly. INEOS TEAM UK were first into the pre-start zone and were able to control the start more readily. Two small advantages, but would the British team be able to convert these into an advantage at the start?
      As both boats headed towards the start line, positions were reversed from the first start of the day, Luna Rossa was to windward this time with INEOS TEAM UK to leeward and ahead. Despite some aggressive manoeuvring aboard Luna Rossa, INEOS TEAM UK took a narrow advantage at the start, bagging the left hand end of the line and now able to push out to the extreme left hand side of the course.





      The crucial moment was coming up as both headed out towards the left hand boundary. Luna Rossa tacked off early allowing the British to continue out to the extreme side of the left hand side of the course. The pair were neck and neck as they headed back towards the right.


      As Luna Ross came back on starboard INEOS TEAM UK were ahead on port but chose to tack onto starboard underneath them to bounce off the Italians, a classic lee bow tack.
      As they approached the top gate for the first time the pair were now separated across the width of the course and it was INEOS TEAM UK that had gained, the distance between them around 50m.
      And when they crossed, INEOS TEAM UK were laying the right hand mark of gate 1 and rounded 8 seconds ahead of the Luna Rossa – the first time they had been ahead since the Prada Cup Final had begun.
      On the downwind slide the British were now 150m ahead. Halfway down the leg the margin had grown to 200m. By the bottom gate they rounded 21 secs ahead.
      INEOS were now starting to change their tactical play by defending their position. Luna Rossa knew it and were tacking frequently in an attempt to force INEOS TEAM UK to do so in the hope that the British would lose some of their distance.







      Meanwhile, the sea breeze was climbing slowly but steadily with an average just breaking through 10knots.
      At gate 3 both boats took the left hand mark, INEOS TEAM UK led by 18seconds, Luna Rossa had clawed back three seconds, but their gain was short lived as INEOS TEAM UK opened up their lead to 430m on the water and it continued to grow. Through gate 4 the British were now 32secs ahead with one lap to go.


      But this race was far from over. A shift in the breeze and a drop in its strength allowed Luna Rossa to make gains on the final upwind leg. INEOS TEAM UK were back under pressure.
      Through the final gate INEOS TEAM UK took the right hand mark, Luna Rossa the left and the distance between them was now just 9secs. Now it was a drag race to the finish, the British needed to defend their position as Luna Rossa attacked.


      Not only did they defend, but Ainslie and his crew managed to recover some of the lost distance to cross the line 14secs ahead, their first win of the PRADA Cup Final.
      “To get one back, it’s what we needed,” said Ainslie after the race. “In 12-13knots the boats are pretty even, but below it we struggle. We know it, they know it but that’s the challenge.”
      “It was a great race,” said Luna Rossa co-helmsman Jimmy Spithill, ”Full credit to INEOS for that one, they sailed a great race.”

      ************************

      Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli beat INEOS TEAM UK

      Start: 1615
      Port: ITA
      Stbd: GBR
      Course: E
      Axis: 245
      Length: 1.82nm
      Current: 0.2 knots @ 353
      Winner Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli – 1:20





      all images © Studio Borlenghi/COR


      Any nervousness that the sea breeze would struggle to develop was dispensed with well before the start with 8-10knots sweeping across the course area from the south west. In the pre-race preparations, both teams were foiling comfortably around the race course area, the day was on.
      Coming into the pre-start duel Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli came in from the right, crossing INEOS TEAM UK who entered on starboard, but would either team risk close engagement and risk coming off their foils?

      The opening seconds of the pre-start suggested not as the pair kept their distance but then, as the clock counted down to the start both clearly wanted the right hand end of the start line.
      The British were to windward, a commanding position as they swooped down towards Luna Rossa in the closing seconds. But the Italians had managed their final run into the line perfectly and were able to force the British to alter course and keep clear at a crucial stage in the countdown.

      © COR 36 | Studio Borlenghi
      The jury delivered a penalty to the British but both boats were early across the line, the penalites scrubbed each other out. But in the coming together of the two boats INEOS TEAM UK were deemed to have infringed the boundary around Luna Rossa and were given a penalty. But the story wasn’t over yet.
      The pair had split tacks and when INEOS TEAM UK and Luna Rossa came back together for the first time Luna Rossa claimed that the British had gained an advantage from their position. The jury agreed and gave INEOS TEAM UK a second penalty. Now the British had to give away distance to clear it but that proved difficult.

      INEOS TEAM UK had got to the better side of the course and kept benefitting from their position making it difficult to scrub off the distance and clear their penalty. By the time they had, Luna Rossa was in the lead.

      By Gate 1 it was Luna Rossa that were through first, rounding the right hand mark 15 seconds ahead. On the downwind leg there were few passing lanes, but INEOS TEAM UK were able to sail slightly deeper to reel in some distance on Luna Rossa taking the advantage from 220m to 160m. But their gain was short lived.










      As the race played out the Italians sailed a perfectly executed race aboard a boat that appears to have an extra gear when it comes to the angles that it can sail upwind. As each lap went by the Italian advantage grew and by the finish Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli crossed 1min 20sec ahead.
      “Jimmy [Spithill] did most of the job on that time on distance run into the start,” said his co-helm Francesco Bruni.

      “The start was clearly very close,” said Sir Ben Ainslie, “And we just have to keep plugging away. But we are struggling for straight line performance, upwind they were sailing away from us.”

      Two more wins was all it would take for Luna Rossa to take the PRADA Cup.
      Two more races were all that were left for the British to stop them.
      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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      • #18
        Luna Rossa Takes Prada Cup In 8 Races



        The G.H. Mumm Champagne was flowing for Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli who sailed to victory today in the PRADA Cup Final. The Italians winning the Series 7-1 over INEOS TEAM UK, now move onto the America’s Cup Match, the ultimate goal four years in the making, starting in 12 days time.







        Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli outraced the British team in today’s medium to light conditions that proved to favour the Italians so markedly.

        For the second time in their six attempts, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli have their name included in the exclusive list of just 36 challengers in 170 years that have made it to the America’s Cup itself.

        As happened 20 years ago, the Defender Emirates Team New Zealand will face Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli on the Hauraki Gulf to decide who will win the most difficult and oldest trophy in international sport.




        RACE 7 SUMMARY

        Prada Cup Final - Race 8
        Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli beat INEOS TEAM UK
        Start: 1715
        Port: ITA
        Stbd: GBR
        Course: A
        Axis: 030
        Length: 1.85 nm
        Current: 0.3 knots @ 007
        Wind: 12 knots - 025 degrees

        Winner: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli – 0:56

        Seconds before the pre-start action began, the on board communications aboard INEOS TEAM UK between Skipper Ben Ainslie and his tactician Giles Scott suggested that they had a new move to try.

        As Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli came charging into the start box on port, the British were quick to gybe as they entered the zone and chased the Italians out towards the right-hand side of the pre-start zone.
        As the boats arrived at the right hand boundary Luna Rossa tacked around while INEOS TEAM UK gybed. The result was to create separation between the two, but it didn’t last for long.

        As the pair headed towards the start line INEOS TEAM UK were ahead and to windward, Luna Rossa were chasing from to leeward, but both were early for the start. Slowing down was going to prove tricky, there was very little runway left, especially for the British.
        Seconds before the start, INEOS TEAM UK tacked onto port and just managed to stay behind the line but most importantly just managed to cross Luna Rossa who were on starboard and had right of way.

        But the close quarters action had seen Luna Rossa start with a penalty as they headed out on starboard leaving the British to head off on port tack.
        But, despite having won the start and the first part of the upwind leg, when the pair came back together for the second time the advantage had switched, Luna Rossa were ahead as they crossed on starboard.

        From here there was little engagement with each boat taking opposite sides of the course. As they came into the top gate Luna Rossa were on port and took the right hand mark, INEOS TEAM UK took the left hand mark. For the initial part of the leg the British had more breeze on the left-hand side of the course allowing them to stay close. The physical distance on the water was 160 m.
        “We’re going to have to do something special here,” said Skipper Ainslie to his tactician over the on board comms.








        Meanwhile, the breeze was staying steady at 12 knots.
        By gate 2 Luna Rossa had maintained their leading margin of 12 secs as they rounded the left hand mark. In an effort to keep splitting from their opponents, INEOS TEAM UK took the right hand side of the gate. On the second upwind leg the racing took place mainly on the right had side of the course, great for the spectators. After the fourth leg, as the pair approached gate 3 Luna Rossa had increased their lead. As they rounded the left hand mark they were now 34 secs ahead a distance in the water of around 400 m.

        Another lap of the course and the Italian lead had grown and never looked likely to reduce. By the finish Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli were 56 sec ahead. They had scored their seventh victory. They had now won the PRADA Cup trophy.

        Having resisted high fives and open displays of celebration in the races leading up to this point, now there was no holding back, the Italians were over the moon.

        “We kept the mistakes down, stayed calm, made good decisions and the boat did the job.” said co-helmsman Jimmy Spithill.


        “Pretty good day at the office,” he then said when asked on TV how he felt, clearly struggling to shake off the understated approach that had served them through the Final.

        Francesco Bruni was now less reserved.
        “Fantastico!” he yelled into the camera, “It’s a great day for us and for Luna Rossa and it’s a great day for Italy. It was a tough Final and we are in for a very good fight in the America’s Cup.”

        Sir Ben Ainslie, INEOS TEAM UK Skipper & Team Principal congratulated his opponents. “Well done to Luna Rossa and well done to Italy. It’s a big deal in Italy to get into the America’s Cup again. So congratulations to the team, to Jimmy and Checco and all the boys, they sailed brilliantly and deserve to take the Final. Hats off to them we are obviously disappointed we didn’t get through but we are to go away, back on the drawing board and see what we can do.”


        The 36th America’s Cup Match starts in less than two weeks, on the 6th of March with the first race scheduled to start at 4:00 PM NZT - 03:00 UTC.


        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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