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2021 Prada Cup: The Brits Own The Day

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  • 2021 Prada Cup: The Brits Own The Day



    INEOS TEAM UK win RR1 Race 1

    RR1 - Race 1
    Start: 1515
    Port: USA
    Starboard: GBR
    Course: 6
    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.
    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.”











    INEOS TEAM UK blast out of the blocks with two wins on day 1

    Today 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.

    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.
    A result few people had predicted before today.

    Race course C - sheltered between North Head and Bastion Point - was selected for today’s 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.


    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 were 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.




    READ RR1 RACE 1 SUMMARY HERE

    QUOTES FROM THE RACE COURSE

    SIR BEN AINSLIE - INEOS TEAM UK Skipper and Team Principal
    “It feels a lot better than six losses or whatever 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 weren’t really too many opportunity 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”.


    https://www.americascup.com/en/news
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  • #2
    Jan 16th Round Robin: LR vs AM

    PRADA CUP RR1 – Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli vs American Magic



    Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli win Race 3 of Round Robin 1.


    Start: 1515
    Port: ITA
    Stbd: USA
    Course: combination between C &D
    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


    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 bows 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 8knots 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 distance deficit to catch and then overtake the Italians.







    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.


    In order to keep their speed the Italians were gybing through huge angles and in doing so were not making much progress downwind towards the finish. But they held their nerve, stayed with what little breeze they could find and managed to cross the finish line inside the 45min time limit.

    The Italians had taken a nerve wracking win to put their first point on board for Round Robin 1.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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    • #3
      Jan 16th Prada Cup: Ineos vs AM



      INEOS TEAM UK win Race 1 of Round Robin 2

      Round Robin 2 - Race 1
      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 4:59


      As the sky opened up, 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 the British team were 500m ahead of American Magic. Seconds later it was 700m and growing.






      As Sir Ben Ainslie 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’s 2knots. But the advantage was short lived as the Americans sailed into the same lull in the breeze.






      Britannia sneaked through gate 1 and inched their way downwind. Boat speeds were now down to 4-8knots.

      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.

      Winner: INEOS TEAM UK 4:59
      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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      • #4
        American Tragic




        Auckland, New Zealand - 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.

        “First and foremost, we are incredibly grateful and thankful that everybody is safe,” said Terry Hutchinson, Skipper and Executive Director of American Magic, the U.S. Challenger for the America’s Cup. “The team did an incredible job getting PATRIOT back to the dock.”

        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.

        “The response from the local community here was incredible, and you can't give enough thanks to the police, fire and local authorities for their quick response,” said Hutchinson shortly after stepping ashore, in darkness, alongside his exhausted but relieved teammates.

        “The response from the other teams was amazing, too. It was certainly heartwarming to see all the support, and obviously we needed it because this was a crisis situation. Huge thanks to Emirates Team New Zealand, to INEOS Team UK, and to Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli for coming out and helping us.”

        On the final leg of a race she was leading, a significant puff of wind sent the American AC75 hurtling into the air, followed by a hard re-entry into the water. The shock of the landing tore a hole into the port side of the yacht, which was not immediately apparent to the sailors onboard. PATRIOT capsized sideways into the water, port side down, which temporarily hid the extent of the damage.


        all images © chris cameron






        After following well-practiced capsize procedures, and determining that all were safe, American Magic righted the yacht to discover that she was sitting low in the water. It was apparent that this was a much different scenario than the team’s previous AC75 capsize, which occurred with the team’s now-retired first AC75, DEFIANT.

        “We knew something was wrong straight away,” said Hutchinson. “When we tipped DEFIANT over, the boat was pretty buoyant and sat pretty high on her side. When we righted DEFIANT, and as we saw with Team New Zealand a few days ago when they righted their boat, the recovery was instantaneous. As soon as you get the breeze underneath the boat, underneath the mainsail, the boat pops back up.”

        “Today on PATRIOT, when I was getting out of my cockpit, we were lower in the water. The ‘pop-up’ wasn't happening. So that was kind of the first indication. [Boat Captain] Tyson [Lamond] came through the comms saying ‘I think there's a hole in the boat.’ We spent the next couple of hours securing the platform.”

        In terms of how the team will move forward, Hutchinson said the process of damage analysis, repair planning and repair execution would begin tonight and continue nonstop in an effort to get PATRIOT back in action.

        “We have to see what the damage is on the inside of the boat, apart from the hole. Fortunately we're here at our base now, they're getting the rig out, and we'll assess the damage and go forward.”

        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.

        “Time and time again, American Magic has always responded to the adverse situations that we've been faced with, be it COVID-19 or other things we've come across in the last three years,” said Hutchinson. “This one is probably a bit of a larger challenge, but as always, how you get up is more important than how you get knocked down. I'm confident in us. I'm confident in our people.”








        Race Recap: Round Robin 2, Race 3

        A race that will be long-remembered for the dramatic events that followed it got off to a challenging start for American Magic. The team was caught out of position in the pre-start and entered the starting box both late and in a vulnerable position. Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli tried to take advantage of the mistake and force a foul, but the umpires waved it off. After this close call, the remainder of the pre-start was an even affair. Both boats charged across the line in sync, with American Magic in the windward position.

        Luna Rossa earned the first cross, but the race soon turned in favor of American Magic. Both boats sailed the first beat in 15 to 20 knots of breeze, and the day was a showcase of the immense upwind performance of the AC75 class. The two Challengers charged up the course at nearly 40 knots of boatspeed. Helmsman Dean Barker and Skipper/Tactician Terry Hutchinson took advantage of a favorable lefthand shift in the breeze, and what appeared to be a slight speed advantage, to put American Magic in position to lead Luna Rossa into the top mark. After another unsuccessful penalty request from Luna Rossa, Dean Barker steered PATRIOT through the windward gate 6 seconds ahead of the Italians.

        A solid run saw the lead double to 13 seconds. Both boats rounded the lefthand gate in a very fresh breeze. Halfway up the second beat, Luna Rossa incurred a penalty for a boundary violation and dropped a little further behind. The lead doubled to nearly 30 seconds at the top mark and with a big shift to the left, American Magic was able to lay the leeward gate on starboard jibe after just a short stretch on port jibe around the top mark.











        “That squall was moving down the left side of the racetrack, and so we came in around the bottom mark, we trimmed up and sailed 20 seconds to the boundary and tacked,” said Hutchinson. “We tacked in like nine knots of breeze, after having much more than that for most of the race. The breeze was just evaporating all over the place. And so, you know, as we've learned over the last couple of days, you have to be in the pressure or the breeze can evaporate on you.”

        The final upwind leg was similarly one-sided and American Magic took advantage of the bias to increase its advantage heading into the final mark. This is when disaster struck for the Americans in the form of another left shift and a significant increase in the windspeed due to an oncoming squall. PATRIOT went for the left gate mark, rounded, and then reared up, crashed down and capsized to port.

        “Dean made the correct decision to tack around the left gate, keep us in the pressure and just try to deliver us down to the finish. We got hit by a reasonably big gust. When you're racing the boat, you're racing the boat.”

        As the AC75’s are not self-righting, the race against Luna Rossa was over. A second race began almost immediately to save a damaged PATRIOT from sinking. The unfortunate series of events ripped away a much-needed first Prada Cup victory from the U.S. team. Luna Rossa was awarded their second point of the regatta.

        “Obviously it's not exactly the day that we wanted,” said Hutchinson. “We had a good race going and the boat was going really well.”
        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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        • #5
          Not a good look.
          Will Stars and Stripes fill in in their stead?

          Comment


          • #6
            Patriot Resolve




            SKIPPER'S PRESS CONFERENCE: TERRY HUTCHINSON ON PATRIOT'S CAPSIZE, RECOVERY AND NEXT STEPS
            Auckland, New Zealand - After a mostly sleepless night following the capsize and near-sinking of American Magic's AC75 racing yacht, PATRIOT, Skipper and Executive Director Terry Hutchinson answered questions for assembled journalists in Auckland, and additional press patched in via Zoom.

            QUOTES:
            On the local assistance: "We need to recognize the heroic effort by everybody in the Auckland community that came forward to rescue PATRIOT from despair. In particular the local authorities, the police, the fire and rescue, and then finally the competitors, Team New Zealand and INEOS and Luna Rossa. They were spectacular. When you think about that family, our sailing community, it was awesome to see the show of support."
            ---
            On safety: "Fortunately, while [PATRIOT] has a bit of damage to her, the crew is safe. And at the end of the day, that's really all you can ask for."
            ---
            On team dynamics: "I trust Andrew and Dean, as we all do when we get on that boat day in and day out. We trust them with our lives. When one of those guys makes a comment and you hear it in his tone about it being light, you take it seriously. It is truly one of those games that if you make one mistake and the boat touches down, it doesn't take much for the guy behind to get around you. And so we made the decision to do what we did."




            ---
            On the AC75 at full speed: "The boats by nature are most-controlled when they're going fast. When you slow down from 40 knots to 30 knots, the apparent wind goes aft, all the load in the boat goes up and the boat becomes unstable. So if you have the opportunity to keep the thing ripping all the time, and go as fast as possible, it's the easiest to control.
            ---
            On the crash: "We struggled through that maneuver because we got a puff at about the same time we were bearing off, and we were accelerating. In that exact moment, the runner was a little bit fetched up on the mainsail, the sails were eased and the boat was accelerating but we were still building up to our top speed. Those are the unfortunate consequences of racing in an incredibly turbulent condition."

            On the damage: "You look at the boat speed when the boat was accelerating through the trajectory of the turn, and we were going 47 knots or something. There's transverse structure inside the boat and then there's a longitudinal structure. And when you look at the boat in slow motion, it popped quite a wheelie. The leeward foil came out of the water and we got a reasonable amount of bow-out altitude up. And when the boat slammed down, it's fine if it slams flat on its keel. But when you land on the side, on the flat panel, basically the structure inside the yacht just guillotined the panel and out it came."
            ---
            On the near-sinking: "At the time, it felt like the boat was going to sink. We were doing everything we possibly could to prevent that from happening. Everybody around us, from the other teams to the local authorities helped us get the pumps in the boat, and we ended up with 16 pumps inside the boat. We had a jib wrapped around the hole. And then the fire and rescue [units] deployed what I would categorize as two 'airplane-style' life rafts that we wrapped underneath the bow of the boat and inflated. That really that stopped the bleeding, from that moment on."




            On team unity: "We win as a team and we lose as a team"
            ---
            On helmsman Dean Barker: "Dean is a critical part of our team. I've encouraged him since we started this program; 'be Dean Barker, don't be anything different.' We want the person that has all the intensity that he has, but also has a certain demeanor about him which makes him the perfect person to sail this boat. He's got a little bit of ice water in his veins, which is what the boat requires. I think when we go out and go sailing the next time, I'll always encourage him, 'Don't take your foot off the pedal because that's what will bite us.' We, as a team, have the utmost confidence in him and his abilities. From my perspective, there's nobody else we'd rather have on the wheel than him."

            On the repair timeline: "The guys have to get the boat ready, and and we have to follow a bit of a procedure to do it because the boat's just that complex. The intention is to put the boat back to exactly how we left it yesterday. It's probably a little bit too early to suggest an exact time that we'll be back out on the water, but we know we have a hard deadline of a week from Friday for the semifinal."
            ---
            On the local marine industry in New Zealand: "We have great support from the Auckland maritime and boat building community to help us. We've had great support from all the teams. Everybody has offered up their services to get PATRIOT back on the water. As competitors, we sit here a majority of the time and we argue with each other about things. But at the end of the day, you couldn't come across more sportsmanship or more generous teams that we have around us. With all the sincerity in the world, they've extended pretty much all of their facilities to us to use to rebuild PATRIOT."
            ---
            On ETNZ's boatbuilding help: "From a boat building perspective, the defenders are in the strongest position to help us because we're in their hometown. If you want to look at it with the glass 'half full,' which I do, they're winding down a certain portion of their program and there's a lot of people there that are available to help us out straight away. They've put us in contact and I spoke with Grant Dalton, Richard Meachem, and others this morning, who helped us get the boat in last night. I think Dalt's quote was, 'Whatever you need, we have it for you.'"
            ---
            On the community of America's Cup teams: "It's nice to have friends across all the teams. It is a great example for not only us as competitors, but for our sailing community and family worldwide. There's an element of sportsmanship that's at the highest level."


            On American Magic's performance: "When you think about what all the teams have had to endure to get here, to deal with some of the things that we've had to deal with over the last three years, it would be a bit of a mistake not to give everything that we had to get the boat back out on the racecourse and in good working order. I think one of the biggest positives that we took out of yesterday was you could see over the course of the race that the boat was going really well. We had plenty of speed."

            On the resolve of American Magic: "The beauty of our team is that there's a high level of resolve, and I think what we're going to see over the next eight to 10 days is the boat get rebuilt. She might not come out of the shed as pretty, but she's going to come out of the shed and we're going to get back into racing. When you walk around and you look at everybody in the face and you look everybody in the eyes, you get a sense that we're going to do whatever it takes. And that's what we've done from the get-go. You know, there has never been a wavering in the commitment from [Principals] Doug [DeVos], Hap [Fauth] and Roger [Penske] and the New York Yacht Club or from our team members. We're all in this together. And I think you see that."
            " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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            • #7
              Break Time For INEOS

              INEOS TEAM UK jump to the PRADA CUP Final




              INEOS TEAM UK stays unbeaten after what was probably the closest race seen so far on the AC75s, with 9 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 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 +0.33






              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 20knots 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 TEAM UK rounded just 2 seconds ahead of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli.




              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.


              By the time the race did start at 1720 the breeze was up towards 20knots 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 TEAM UK rounded just 2 seconds ahead of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli.


              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.







              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.

              INEOS TEAM UK crossed the line ahead to take their fifth race in a row, a race that had seen no less than 9 lead changes and top speeds exceeding 50 knots.

              Both ghost races against American Magic, who were not able to compete, were completed successfully confirming the British victory.




              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.”


              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.
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              • #8
                Patriot 2.0 Up And Flying!





                AC75 PATRIOT BACK IN ACTION AS PRADA CUP SEMIFINALS NEAR
                Auckland, New Zealand - New York Yacht Club American Magic, the U.S. Challenger for the 36th America's Cup, on Wednesday re-launched its racing yacht, PATRIOT, for the first time since a damaging capsize and near-sinking suffered by the team during a Prada Cup Round Robins race on January 17. After nine days of intense boatbuilding and systems work inside the team's base, the AC75 returned to the Waitematā Harbor roughly 48 hours before her first Prada Cup Semifinals matchup. American Magic will face Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli starting at approximately 3:15 PM NZDT on Friday, January 29.

                "We had a pretty good setback," said Terry Hutchinson, Skipper and Executive Director of American Magic. "But the measure is always going to be how we respond to it. We can't dwell on the past; the only thing that we can control is our future."

                Wednesday's rollout, launch and dock-off was a sequence that has been completed nearly 50 times since PATRIOT's christening. Nevertheless, this re-launch was anything but routine for the team's families and fans as they crowded the shoreline of Auckland's Wynyard Basin. Nine days of feverish production work and high-stakes engineering decisions had been accompanied by thousands of messages, both digital and tangible, sent to American Magic from supporters around the world.

                "It's awesome to have so much support, support from the families, support from back home and support from the New Zealand community," said James Lyne, Sailing Team Coach for American Magic. "It's a great feeling."


                http://youtu.be/fXKtvFpyHh8

                The crash and capsize on January 17 ripped a sizable hole in PATRIOT's port side hull, just ahead of the foil arm. Images of the damaged yacht being lifted free of the ocean in near-darkness, the hole clearly evident, had reverberated around the world in the days after the glossy blue AC75 had disappeared inside her hangar.

                When PATRIOT reemerged on Wednesday, January 27, she sported a prominent message of thanks to the other teams and to the Auckland community at large, which had rendered timely and invaluable assistance during the January 17 incident. The bandage-shaped graphic, which was also directed at the team's global group of well-wishers, was placed over the previously damaged section of the hull.










                PATRIOT spent nearly seven hours on the water on Wednesday, and encountered very light wind early on in the session. When the anticipated stronger breeze arrived in the late afternoon, PATRIOT completed several laps of the inner harbor and conducted drills near Rangitoto Island. When asked if the yacht felt the same, Hutchinson's answer was succinct. "45 knots. So yes, it did."

                Hutchinson also noted that while the boat felt good, speed is not the team's true measure of success. "Our measure is the scorecard. We know that we have to go out and have some good races over the weekend."

                "We've just got to back ourselves, trust ourselves and do what we would've done normally," said 8-time America's Cup veteran Sean Clarkson, one of the team's grinders and the reserve main trimmer. "We've got a great boat, a great crew. We've just got to do it. We're very fortunate, very grateful to the shore crew, the design team and the general public. They're behind us and they got us here."

                With Emirates Team New Zealand and INEOS Team UK training for parts of the day in close proximity to American Magic, Auckland was once again treated to the arresting spectacle of multiple 75-foot hydrofoiling monohulls engaged in full-pace training.

                "Coming into the harbor, I was sort pinching myself [in terms of] how lucky I am," said Clarkson. "We've just got to grab it and win it. One step at a time. This weekend's a big one, but it's just one step."
                Last edited by Photoboy; 01-27-2021, 11:32 AM.
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                • #9
                  Prada Flies To A Two Nil Lead




                  PATRIOT RETURNS TO THE RACE COURSE BUT SUFFERS TWO LOSSES TO OPEN PRADA CUP SEMIFINAL
                  Auckland, New Zealand - New York Yacht Club American Magic, the U.S. Challenger for the America's Cup, took two losses against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli of Italy on the first day of racing at the Prada Cup Semifinals. Eleven days after suffering significant damage and nearly sinking during a Round Robins race against the Italians, American Magic succeeded in patching the hull of its AC75 racing yacht and restoring its many systems to full functionality. The mere presence of the American AC75, PATRIOT, on the starting line in Auckland's Waitematā Harbor was a testament to the tireless efforts of the team since the near-sinking occurred on January 17.

                  While the two opening losses in the best-of-seven semifinal series was not the type of return to action the U.S. Challenger had hoped for, American Magic will have an opportunity to even the score on Saturday, January 30. Two more races are scheduled for Day 2.

                  "Tomorrow we [will] come back out swinging," said Terry Hutchinson, Skipper and Executive Director of American Magic. "That's all you can really do. We just have to sail better."



                  Race 1: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (starboard entry) def. PATRIOT by 2:43

                  Both boats entered the starting box late, and with the breeze gusting over 20 knots. There was no initial engagement, but both teams loosely shadowed each other towards the right side of the box, with American Magic leading Luna Rossa towards the boundary.

                  With just under a minute until the start, The Italian team tacked inside of PATRIOT as she turned back towards the line. Both boats then headed, on starboard, back left. Luna Rossa seized an opportunity to use their leeward position to force PATRIOT up and off her foils. The Italians also went into displacement mode, but maintained a higher speed, enjoyed better flow across their foils, and held a controlling position closer to the line.










                  Luna Rossa waited until American Magic slowed nearly to a stop, and then pulled the trigger, getting their grey-hulled AC75 back up to full speed. The Americans followed the Italians as they charged towards the line, but PATRIOT had to accelerate from a slower speed. This pre-start maneuvering resulted in a 10-second advantage off the line for Luna Rossa, which translated to around 200 meters once the two boats settled into their respective upwind grooves.

                  "If you spot a team as good as them the distance that we did off the line, you'd expect them to beat you," said Hutchinson. "So we have to get away even and get PATRIOT into a spot where she can do what she was designed to do."

                  The lead stayed fairly steady for the first lap. American Magic looked quick at times, but the Italian team defended well and prevented any passing lanes from forming. The time gap at the first mark was 18 seconds, then 22 at the second, despite American Magic hitting 50.5 knots shortly after rounding the windward mark. Luna Rossa added ten seconds to its lead on the second of four downwind legs, and then nearly doubled the advantage on third upwind leg, turning downwind with a lead of just shy of a minute.

                  Any hopes of a comeback by the American team faded the third time through the windward gate. PATRIOT hit 53.3 knots shortly after rounding the mark, but the rudder lost its grip on the water and the boat crashed heavily into displacement mode. With the boundary looming, and the wind still gusting into the mid-20s, American Magic was forced to turn upwind, execute a downspeed tack, turned back downwind, and also clear a boundary penalty.

                  Luna Rossa’s lead stretched to 2:25 at the final leeward gate and then 2:43 at the finish, giving the Italian team the win.

                  "It was a tough day to race these boats consistently well," said Hutchinson. "You saw breeze from 240 to 190 around North Head and wind shifts evaporate from 21 knots down to eight. And we had a couple of control issues that we'll need to work through and sort out."





                  Race 2:
                  Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (port entry) def. PATRIOT by 3:07

                  The second pre-start also resulted in a disadvantaged starting position for American Magic. PATRIOT dived low in the box, while Luna Rossa went high and to the right before gybing back and aiming straight at the U.S. boat. The AC75s converged with about 45 seconds to go, and PATRIOT, on port tack, was forced farther to the right of the line.

                  After pushing American Magic farther to the right edge of the box, Luna Rossa immediately turned up towards the line and began accelerating for her start. PATRIOT tacked over quickly, but the Italians were able to once again lead PATRIOT across the line. The advantage was just a few seconds, but it gave the Italian team the freedom to once again sail the boat where they wished. The lead grew to 17 seconds as both boats turned around the lefthand top gate mark and blazed down the first run.

                  Luna Rossa padded its lead by a handful of seconds down leg two, but a mistake by the Italians allowed American Magic to close the gap. While rounding the leeward gate on just her leeward foil, the foil itself breached the surface and the Italian yacht crashed down twice in quick succession. One bad maneuver sliced the lead to less than 200 meters, and the race was back on.










                  Nevertheless, that was as close as American Magic would get in the second race. The Italian team was largely error-free the rest of the way, and steadily increased their advantage. American Magic struggled during multiple windward mark bear-aways, losing the rudder and splashing down off her foils.

                  Hutchinson explained that when the rudder loses touch, the focus immediately turns to safety and damage prevention. "When it's going at that speed, you're managing the angle, and you're managing the load on the boat. If you're going to go one way or the other, it's better to set the boat down in the water."

                  These incidents were impactful on the final result, with Luna Rossa stretching out to a lead of greater than 1,000 meters and winning the race by 3:07. With a second win, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli took a 2-0 advantage over New York Yacht Club American Magic in the best-of-seven series.

                  "To race at a high level, you have to treat each day as the same," said Hutchinson. "Today, you'd have to say that we need to understand the mistakes that we made and not make them twice. I think PATRIOT's a good boat all the way through the [wind] range, so you don't have to deviate too much [or] go and try to change a lot of things. Our approach and mentality is just to stay consistent, stay true to the process that we have racing the boat and allow that to happen."

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                  • #10
                    Looking like an Ineos and Luna Rossa finals, but I am no expert!

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                    • #11
                      The Bus Stops Here




                      AMERICAN MAGIC CONCLUDES CAMPAIGN FOR 36th AMERICA'S CUP

                      Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli defeats New York Yacht Club American Magic 4-0 to earn a spot in the Prada Cup finals against INEOS Team UK.
                      Auckland, New Zealand - New York Yacht Club American Magic, the U.S. Challenger for the America's Cup, was eliminated from the Prada Cup Semifinal following a loss in the fourth race of the series against the Challenger of Record, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli of Italy.

                      American Magic's participation in the events associated with the 36th America's Cup marked the 30th time in the 170-year history of the event that a New York Yacht Club-backed team had competed as either the Defender or as a Challenger. The campaign for Auckland 2021 was also the club's first attempt in 18 years to reclaim the oldest trophy in international sport.

                      "We all recognized very early on the legacy that we represent with the New York Yacht Club," said Terry Hutchinson, the Skipper and Executive Director of American Magic. "They've been in the game longer than most, and so in that light, I think when I look back it's without question my greatest honor to be involved. And at the same time, you feel the sting of defeat."

                      The team showed tremendous determination in returning to the Prada Cup racecourse 11 days after sustaining severe damage and nearly sinking during the Round Robins stage. Nevertheless, due to a loss of critical racing and training time while repairs were carried out, American Magic was unable to match the performance development achieved by the Italian syndicate in between the Round Robins and Semifinal stages of the event.






                      "I just can't say enough; to have been through that whole thing and to be able to get back out there and go sailing again," said Dean Barker, a 7-time America's Cup campaigner and one of the winning helmsmen at the Auckland 2000 edition of the event. "It's obviously disappointing for us to finish the way it has, but I'm incredibly proud of the team and what they achieved to get the boat back on the water after such difficult circumstances."

                      Luna Rossa demonstrated noticeably increased speed and efficiency against American Magic, and turned in a nearly flawless performance over the best-of-seven series. With four wins in four tries, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, who are on their sixth campaign for the Cup since 2000, decisively earned a berth in the Prada Cup Final. The winner of the Prada Cup will face Emirates Team New Zealand in the 36th America's Cup Match Presented by Prada.

                      The story of the team began in late 2017 when world champion sailors Hap Fauth and Doug DeVos joined with motorsports icon Roger Penske to become Team Principals for the U.S. Challenger. From its founding onwards, American Magic pursued the twin goals of winning the America's Cup and re-engaging the American sailing audience with the premier event in the sport. While the first mission remains incomplete for now, much was also done to pursue the second.

                      American Magic was the first Cup team to use the Newport, Rhode Island, area as its primary training location in roughly a quarter of a century. The team also restarted the 128-year old tradition of building America's Cup yachts in the Ocean State, and was the first Cup team to train (during the colder months) on the Gulf of Mexico since the 1970s. Pensacola, Florida, was used as a winter base until the team relocated to Auckland in mid 2020. American Magic was a high-profile presence in each area it operated from, and conducted hundreds of presentations, press interviews, tour stops, and digital outreach projects in an effort to boost U.S. awareness and interest in the America's Cup.




                      Image: American Magic team applauds Luna Rossa as they tow in following the Italians' semi finals victory today. © Sailing Energy / American Magic (for editorial use only). Click here to access the team's image archive.

                      "We wouldn't be sitting here without each one of [the Team Principals]," added Hutchinson. "When we started this program in 2017, I was getting a little bit of cold feet and I communicated that to Doug and Hap. And Doug wrote me a nice note back, saying 'I think we should go for it.' And here we sit. And from there, partnering with Roger Penske. All of these people, and the [New York Yacht] Club, represent what's great about our country, [with] the passion that they bring to the sport and the passion that they bring to sailing. Roger was always quick to say he didn't know a lot about sailing, but he knows a lot about winning. And his influence on our team was always present."

                      American Magic's performance program was characterized by a relentless work ethic and a commitment to on-the-water testing unmatched by the other teams. The U.S. Challenger was the first to launch a full-size test boat in 2018, and recorded 92 days of testing on "the Mule." The first AC75 to sail and foil, DEFIANT, came next, and completed 66 days of sailing despite delays receiving event-supplied equipment, seasonal logistical challenges, and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.










                      The team's second AC75, PATRIOT, was flown from Bristol to Auckland upon completion. PATRIOT was the first 2nd-generation AC75 to be launched, and her final day of racing at the Prada Cup was her 49th day on the water.

                      Over three and a half years of design, production and testing work, American Magic became a Challenger worthy of the formidable competitive field in Auckland. The other three teams all returned to the 36th America's Cup after participating in at least some of the 35th Cup cycle (Bermuda 2017) and in the case of Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa, many previous campaigns.

                      After losing two America's Cup World Series (ACWS) exhibition regattas to COVID 19-related cancellation, American Magic charged out of the gate at ACWS Auckland, the world's first AC75 regatta. PATRIOT turned heads by beating Emirates Team New Zealand's TE REHUTAI once during a practice race, and again on the first official day of racing. American Magic finished the event in second overall with a 4-2 record, and seemed primed to continue on a positive trajectory into the Prada Cup, the Challenger Section Series.

                      Sadly for the U.S. team, this was not to be. An opening-day loss to INEOS Team UK in the Round Robins was followed by a frustrating double-loss to both other Challengers in marginal racing conditions on Day 2. American Magic showed impressive poise on Day 3 of the event, and was leading Luna Rossa in strong winds by several hundred meters when, in the span of a few seconds, American Magic's sleek blue AC75 bore away onto the final leg, lost control in a gust, launched into the air, crashed down hard, lost a sizable section of her forward port-side hull, and started to rapidly sink.

                      The story of American Magic's fight to save PATRIOT, assisted by three competitors, Auckland's first responders, AC36 race managers and many others, resonated with millions around the world who watched, listened and read about the heartbreaking accident and its aftermath.

                      "I think the competitors showed an incredible amount of sportsmanship and really demonstrated what sailing is about at the highest level when they all reacted to the PATRIOT's near-sinking," said Hutchinson. "It's just heartfelt."

                      The team was relieved that no one on board PATRIOT was seriously injured, but faced an uphill climb to stay in the competition. The level of damage incurred by PATRIOT was substantial, and world normally take weeks or months to actualize. Nearly every system onboard, including the critical foil cant system and much of the electronics, had to be replaced. In addition, due to composite core damage, a section of the hull much larger than the hole itself had to be cut away, rebuilt, and plugged.

                      As audiences in the United States and overseas watched American Magic doggedly restore PATRIOT to fighting shape, 24 hours a day, for a week and a half, thousands of messages and gestures of support flowed to the team. American Magic re-launched PATRIOT a remarkable nine days after the incident, but were unable to beat Luna Rossa in the Prada Cup Semifinals.

                      "It's obviously disappointing," said Hutchinson. "There's not a person inside of our team that likes losing. You have 135 'Type-A' personalities all pushing for the same thing, in the same boat, for the same result. I have nothing but pride for what we've done over the last three and a half years. All we can do is take it on the chin, understand our strengths and weaknesses, and move the whole game forward."

                      New York Yacht Club American Magic has now completed a multi-year campaign that was at every stage relentless, unquestionably competitive, occasionally heartbreaking and, ultimately, inspiring to many. The future of American Magic as a team has yet to be determined, and the winners of both the Prada Cup and the 36th America's Cup Match have yet to be revealed. Nevertheless, the team has taken its place in the long and proud tradition of America's Cup teams representing the New York Yacht Club and the United States of America.

                      "Somebody has to win, and somebody has to lose," said Hutchinson, a 16-time world champion who has campaigned for the America's Cup five times. "We always felt that we were prepared, and that we've done things in the correct manner to be on the right side of things here [in Auckland]."




                      Above: Click to watch the concluding Prada Cup Semifinal Press Conference with Dean Barker, Terry Hutchinson, James Spithill and Francesco Bruni.
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                      • #12
                        Prada Cup Finals Are Here!

                        For almost two weeks there has been one question that has been doing the rounds more than any other down here in Auckland.
                        ‘Who do you think will win the PRADA Cup?’




                        With two challengers battling it out in the first to seven win Final to gain the right to take on the Defenders Emirates Team New Zealand, it’s an obvious and simple question. But it’s also one that triggers some of the longest replies as people work through the rationale of their decision in separating two teams that look equally strong.

                        The last time we saw INEOS TEAM UK and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli go head to head was in Round Robin 4 in a match that saw nine lead changes and the final result being decided on the final cross of the last leg of the race. If this is to be an indication of what is to come we are in for a long and tightly fought series.

                        But there has been plenty of time and opportunity for things to change since then. Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli were able to refine and develop their performance as they fought their way through the Semi-Final, something that the 4:0 scoreline suggest that they did with ease, although race by race the picture wasn’t so clear.

                        Meanwhile, INEOS TEAM UK claimed that they would be able to take advantage of more time off the race course to implement bigger changes than would have been possible if they had had the distraction of racing to contend with.






                        Either way, during the build up to the Final both teams have had their base doors closed for several days at a time with their boats inside suggesting that they were indeed both carrying out modifications that involved more than simply fiddling, fettling and polishing.

                        As you might expect, when the Team Principals sat side by side on the stage at the opening press conference they gave little away. Instead, deference and mutual respect were in abundant supply, all of which was very sporting, yet provided little indication of what was to come.

                        But in among some of the finer details, such as the lowering of the upper wind limit of 21knots, (the Final was originally set to be raised to 23knots) and the return of the 15minute one-off delay card that teams can call for once during the series, there were some hints as to what has been going on in each camp. Interestingly, there was little if anything coming from the team that had been so candid during their Christmas crisis.

                        “We have worked very hard over the period and our team has stuck to the task of trying to get every ounce of performance out of the boat,” said INEOS TEAM UK’ Skipper Sir Ben Ainslie. “It’s been a tough period, especially for the shore team. During the last ten days or so we’ve been back on the water trying to get the intensity up and making sure we are match fit.”

                        Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli’s Team Director Max Sirena appeared more open about what his team had been up to.

                        “At the beginning of this campaign we were a little bit off the pace in the breeze and maybe because we didn’t find many windy days when we launched boat two,” he said. “When we finished the Round Robin we started to work on the boat in bigger breezes and now we feel pretty confident in the full range of wind conditions. When we raced on Friday in the semi-final it was the windiest day we have sailed and we used that day to develop the way we sail the boat and we were really happy with the performance.







                        “Since we raced them [INEOS TEAM UK] last time we have new foils, a new modified mast, a new set of sails, a lot of development of the software systems on the boat,” he said. “And then a lot of improvement in the comms, particularly those on board as we made a lot of mistakes when we raced against them last time and we want to try to come out of this with one less mistake than them.”
                        This appeared to be a big change of attitude from a team that has been notoriously tight lipped about its developments since racing began. But Sirena knew he was giving nothing away to his opponents.

                        “We have the chase boat of INEOS TEAM UK following us every day, but we are also following them too so there are not many secrets anymore,” said Sirena.
                        Both freely admit to watching the other to the point that it is worthless denying their own, more obvious developments. So, what have they learned about each other?
                        “There’s a lot of intense scrutiny of the opposition as you come down to the final,” said Ainslie. “Inevitably you’re going to be observing that team more closely and that’s going to get more intense as we get closer to the races. But it’s part of the game, it’s one of the fascinating things about the Cup. In a technical sport like this, trying to analyse the opposition but also trying to make the best of what you’ve got.”

                        Sirena agreed and even went one tiny bit further.
                        “There’s a mix of things you want to see and discover,” he said. “At this stage what you see compliments what you already know they have in their boat but maybe you look more closely at the way that they sail the boat, their techniques and how you can use that when you race them.”


                        From there the conversation focussed on each team’s appreciation that this would be a tight battle.
                        “I think it’s going to be a fantastic fight. I fully expect that we’re going to see some amazing racing”, said Ainslie.

                        While agreeing with his rival, Sirena appeared to take another opportunity to adopt a subtly different strategy by underplaying their position when asked about their prospects.
                        “For sure we are the underdogs,” he said. “We had to sail in the semi-final to get here, INEOS TEAM UK went straight to the finals.”

                        Clearly, separating these two on the basis of developments they have made since their last head to head is a challenge in itself. So, could the weather give us a clue?
                        “For Saturday the outlook is for light to moderate NE breezes which will probably mean course A and a similar situation on Sunday,” explained regatta director Iain Murray. “But the prognosis looking forward to Wednesday is for it to be quite windy and the current forecast is outside sailing conditions.”

                        So, with performance profiles that sound like they have been smoothed out on both sides and a range of weather conditions over the next few days the prospect of a quick answer to the most popular question in Auckland seems unlikely, leaving the racing to deliver the answers.





                        The Challenger of Record and the Defender, in consultation with the Regatta Director, have decided to amend the Race conditions for the PRADA Cup Final and the 36th America’s Cup Match as follows:

                        UPPER WIND LIMIT
                        After reviewing the performance of the yachts and the variations between the yachts’ wind measurement data and that of Race Management due to differing measurement heights, it has been decided to leave the current upper wind limit at 21 knots for the Prada Cup Final and the Match and not increase it to 23 knots as originally specified in the Race Conditions.

                        The lower wind limit of 6.5 knots remains unchanged.
                        The Regatta Director, after consulting with the Challenger of Record and the Defender has also changed the Sailing Instructions for the PRADA Cup and the 36th America’s Cup Match as follows:

                        15’ RULE
                        Similar to the rule that was used in round robins three and four of the PRADA CUP, a competitor may on one occasion ask for a delay of 15 minutes of the start of a race. Should that race be abandoned on that day or the request of delay prove that it was due to a failure of the systems independent from that competitor’s responsibility, the “15 minutes card” will be reinstated and may be used again by the relevant competitor.
                        This provision applies both for the PRADA Cup Final (one “card” per competitor) and the 36th America’s Cup Match (one “card” per competitor).
                        In the final two Reserve Days of the PRADA Cup Final, the “card” cannot be used in the last 60 minutes available for a start.
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                        • #13
                          2 Love Red Moon On Day 1




                          Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and INEOS TEAM UK squared off today to determine the winner of the PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series and the right to face the Defender Emirates Team New Zealand.

                          The first day of the PRADA Cup Final was a double for Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, with the Italian team taking the lead of the provisional ranking clearly leading both races and appearing just a click faster than the British team.

                          Still a long way to go to the end being a 13-races series, with the Italians in need of five more wins to go through to the America’s Cup. INEOS TEAM UK still needing 7 wins.

                          “Who will win?” has been one question that has been doing the rounds more than any other but, with a range of weather conditions over the next few days, the prospect of a quick answer to the most popular question in Auckland seems unlikely, leaving the racing to deliver the answers.






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

                          Through Gate 3 Luna Rossa had edged out a few more seconds to round 19 seconds ahead as the pair chose opposite marks. Once again, the Italian performance was silky smooth. This time on the downwind leg the speeds were much more closely matched with nothing between them. And in the steady sea breeze, no real opportunity for INEOS TEAM UK to make up the distance.

                          On the last windward leg INEOS TEAM UK had hauled back a few metres, but time was running out to reel in the 270m that would be required to get back in touch with Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli.


                          At the top Gate 5 Luna Rossa were now 26 seconds ahead as they went around the left hand mark. The British took the right hand mark in a bid to try something different once again. But the Italian performance remained solid. A few minutes later they crossed the finish line 26 seconds ahead to take their second win of the day.


                          Luna Rossa came close to doing the same, but as they have demonstrated in previous races, the Italian boat is slippery in light winds and got back underway.
                          As the clock counted down to the start, the Italians remained on their foils, just, their on board comms revealing how carefully they were playing this crucial stage of the race.
                          As they crossed the start line INEOS TEAM UK were still off their foils. The gap between the two was growing quickly.
                          Perfect for the Italians, painful for the British.

                          Indeed, from there, even when the British had got up and running, the distance continued to grow especially as INEOS TEAM UK incurred the first of two boundary penalties.
                          Luna Rossa passed through the first windward gate 1:20 ahead. By the bottom gate they had stretched out to 1:36. Another lap of the course and the Italians were continuing to deliver a flawless performance in the light conditions and had pulled out to 1:57.

                          Meanwhile, INEOS TEAM UK had found their feet and stayed on them but with just one lap to go the gap, which was now around 1800m, looked impossible to close down.
                          And in the end it was, as Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli turned their commanding lead and dominant performance into a win.


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





                          Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli beat INEOS TEAM UK

                          PRADA Cup Final - Race 2
                          Start: 1715
                          Port: GBR
                          Stbd: ITA
                          Course: 6
                          Axis: 035
                          Length: 1.85nm
                          Wind: 14-17kts 070degrees
                          Current: 0.4 knots @ 192

                          Winner Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team (ITA) – 0:26

                          The sea breeze built quickly, white caps were now spread across the course area. Race 2 looked set to be a completely different match.

                          In the pre-start, INEOS TEAM UK came smoking in on port tack and headed out towards the right hand side of the pre-start box. Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli gybed and followed, a duel looked set. INEOS TEAM UK were leading the charge but they were also early for the start and keen to burn some time.

                          While the physical gap between the two closed, the start was even, both at pace, both at full speed. If there was an advantage it was to INEOS TEAM UK who were to leeward and slightly ahead, a position that Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli struggled to live with as they sat in the turbulent air off the back of the British. Seconds later they were forced to tack off. Advantage INEOS TEAM UK.


                          But when the pair came back together, INEOS TEAM UK were on port tack and had to give way, they chose to dip behind Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli. In the seconds that followed, with the Italians on port and the British on starboard, it was Luna Rossa that appeared to gain in a slight lift in the breeze. And when the pair came back together this advantage was enough for them to cross in front of the British to pass through Gate 1 with a lead of 11 seconds. INEOS TEAM UK rounded the same mark but gybed shortly after they had rounded. Meanwhile, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli pressed on towards the right hand side of the course.


                          Speeds were now into the 43-45kt range with INEOS TEAM UK generally a notch quicker and slightly lower in heading. But by Gate 2 distance between the two had grown to 270m, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli choosing the right-hand mark, INEOS TEAM UK the left.

                          From the aerial shots is seemed clear that the left-hand side of the course had more breeze, but neither crew needed to be in the air to see this, both talking on their onboard comms about the left-hand side being the favoured route up the course.


                          Through Gate 3 Luna Rossa had edged out a few more seconds to round 19 seconds ahead as the pair chose opposite marks. Once again, the Italian performance was silky smooth. This time on the downwind leg the speeds were much more closely matched with nothing between them. And in the steady sea breeze, no real opportunity for INEOS TEAM UK to make up the distance.

                          On the last windward leg INEOS TEAM UK had hauled back a few metres, but time was running out to reel in the 270m that would be required to get back in touch with Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli.


                          At the top Gate 5 Luna Rossa were now 26 seconds ahead as they went around the left hand mark. The British took the right hand mark in a bid to try something different once again. But the Italian performance remained solid. A few minutes later they crossed the finish line 26 seconds ahead to take their second win of the day.
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                          • #14
                            Prada Cup Finals Day 2: No Mercy For Brits




                            PRADA Cup Final Race 4 summary

                            With four wins on the scoreboard Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli comes away of the first PRADA Cup Final weekend having stamped their authority and with the first to seven going to the Match, INEOS TEAM UK path gets steeper and steeper.

                            A first tight races with Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and INEOS TEAM UK displaying perfect one-on-one duels of tacks and tactics, was followed by a race in which the British team made one pre start mistake and were left chasing the Italians for the remained of the race.

                            With the boats performance looking pretty even, the start becomes a defining moment. The Italians simply sailed better and dictated both races to the British.

                            The races have been held today on ‘the back paddock’ - as the Race Course E is commonly called – with a north-easterly breeze between 16-20 knots in front of another large spectator fleet.






                            PRADA Cup Final – Race 3
                            Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli beat INEOS TEAM UK

                            Start: 1615
                            Port: GBR
                            Stbd: ITA
                            Course: E
                            Axis: 035
                            Length: 2.05nm
                            Current: 0 knots
                            Wind: 16kn 050 degrees
                            Winner Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli – 0:13



                            © COR 36 | Studio Borlenghi
                            Both boats entered the pre-start area at a blistering 46 knots ahead of the pre-start duel. The pair remained close as Luna Rossa chased INEOS TEAM UK out towards the right hand extreme of the pre-start area. As the pair came back towards the start INEOS TEAM UK tried to gain an advantage to leeward by getting a ‘hook’, but their gamble failed to deliver. The result was that Luna Rossa were able to control the start.

                            Both boats needed to tack onto port to cross the start line, but it was Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli that controlled the game up the first upwind leg. Although there were just seconds between the pair, the Italians seemed confident to play their own game even though they needed to cover their opponents.
                            At the first gate Luna Rossa rounded 9 seconds ahead.



                            © COR 36 | Studio Borlenghi
                            By Gate 2 at the bottom of the first downwind leg the margin was down to 6 seconds. Both went around the right-hand mark, but INEOS TEAM UK turned around and tacked immediately, an impressive move.
                            Meanwhile, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli headed out towards the right-hand side of the course, apparently happy to allow the British to split from them. Once again, another demonstration of the confidence aboard the Italian boat.

                            The on board comms suggested that Bruni and Spithill preferred the right hand side of the course. To protect it they came back at the British on starboard and tacked in front of them, forcing INEOS TEAM UK to tack back onto starboard and take the left hand side of the course. Next time they came back together, the same thing happened, classic match racing tactics, the Italians protecting their position and the favoured side of the course.

                            By Gate 3 at the top of the second beat Luna Rossa had increased their lead to 18secs.
                            The next leg saw the British haul some distance back, rounding the right hand mark of gate 4 eleven seconds behind. Another tacking duel was in store for the last windward leg and by gate 5 the margin had reduced by one more second to 10secs.

                            Just one leg left.
                            Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli needed to protect, INEOS TEAM UK had to attack but the options for the British were running out. A third of the way down the final leg a split occurred as INEOS TEAM UK gybed away and Luna Rossa didn’t follow. But when they came back together the Italians had gained, the right hand side of the course had paid once again.

                            A few seconds later and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli crossed the line to take their third win in a row.







                            PRADA Cup Final - Race 4
                            Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli beat INEOS TEAM UK

                            Start: 1715
                            Port: ITA
                            Stbd: GBR
                            Course: E
                            Axis: 040
                            Length: 2nm
                            Current: 0.1 knots @ 148

                            Winner Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli – 0:41


                            The pressure continued to build for both teams. INEOS TEAM UK needed to get a point on the board to break the run of the Italians, while Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli were keen to finish the day with a second blow to the British.

                            On the pre-start entry, Luna Rossa headed out to the right-hand side of the zone while INEOS TEAM UK chased. When they came together the British crossed Luna Rossa before gybing to leeward, but in doing so the British lost control and wheelied the boat. One mistake that gave the start to the Italians, but not by as much as it could have been.
                            The Italians were early which allowed the British to recover some of the lost distance.
                            Just like the first race of the day, another tacking duel began as the pair headed up the right-hand side of the first beat, the Italians controlling the match as they covered their opponents.

                            At the first gate Luna Rossa rounded the left-hand mark 12 seconds ahead. INEOS TEAM UK took the same mark but gybed immediately to try to force a split.



                            © COR 36 | Studio Borlenghi

                            Once again, the dialogue on Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli was cool, calm and confident, taking their time before gybing to cover the British move.
                            Coming into gate 2 at the bottom of the first downwind leg, both teams went around the right-hand mark but INEOS TEAM UK chose to roll straight into an immediate tack as they discussed preferring the left hand side of the course.
                            Meanwhile, the Italians believed the right was the better side, but were happy to tack and cover the British.

                            As INEOS TEAM UK headed out to the left-hand side of the course they incurred a penalty as they infringed the boundary. Giving 50m away was not what the British wanted or needed. For the Italians, the unforced error was a bonus in this tightly contested match.
                            By gate 3 Luna Rossa was now 21sec ahead as they rounded the left-hand mark. By the bottom of the downwind leg they had taken another second.
                            The breeze had swung more to the right and being the lead boat, the Italians were in a better position to benefit from it.





                            © COR 36 | Studio Borlenghi
                            Meanwhile the British, while they knew the right might be better, were forced to split from the Italians. Following rarely works if your boat is no faster than your opponents and the British knew it, they had to try something different.
                            But up the last beat the better conditions continued to be on the right-hand side of the course. Luna Rossa had played this leg perfectly, just as they had with the entire race so far.
                            Passing through the last gate with just one leg to go Luna Rossa were leading by the biggest margin all day, 37seconds and with the breeze shifted to the right there were few options for the British to overtake.

                            Barring disaster, a fourth win was in the bag for Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli.
                            Minutes later it was theirs.
                            Four in a row, the Italians were now over halfway to the Prada Cup.

                            QUOTES FROM THE RACE COURSE
                            FRANCESCO BRUNI – Helmsman Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli

                            ‘About the first race’
                            “Obviously we are super happy. The British are not easy to beat; even with the bad start they had, they were very close and they wouldn’t give up. In these situations tacking on your competitor or giving them space, is a very hard decision, but if you want to keep the game very close and to squeeze the opponent into a corner, you need to keep tacking. This is something the grinders don’t like, they don’t like this play, but today I think it was the way to do it. INEOS TEAM UK were pretty much in phase all the time and we had to stay with them.”

                            ‘About 4 points in a row’
                            “We are happy but the focus must remain high. We must use tomorrow and Tuesday to improve, we have to keep improving. We can feel the Italians cheering for us. The support we receive is amazing. People think that Italy is all about football, but sailing is having a good fight at the moment."

                            SIR BEN AINSLIE – Team Principal and Skipper INEOS TEAM UK
                            ‘About the first race’
                            “In the first race we made a mess of the start but after that we had a good race. They did a great job keeping it tight, two pretty even boats, two great teams. We came out of the wrong side and we are not happy about it, although it was a good race. The grinders with so many tacks (17) are on the limit as they were really pushing hard. Checco is right they don’t like tacking like that, but this is what they train for, they do all the hours in gym for this. They say they don’t love it, but secretly they probably do.”

                            ‘About the day’
                            “Tough day we are not happy with it, because we can sail a lot better than that, and we need to. We gave away two races to these guys; we were bad enough at the start line.
                            Credit to Luna Rossa they sailed very well and they didn’t give us really a chance to get back into it. At this level you can’t afford to make any mistakes and we made too many. So we have to go away and regroup and really get ready for Wednesday and come out swinging.”


                            Day two of the PRADA Cup was another reality check for Sir Ben Ainslie’s team that now has two days to debrief and regroup before the races resumes at 4:00PM on Wednesday the 17th of February NZT.
                            But with such change in fortunes since the first AC75 race last December no team can lower their guard.
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                            • #15
                              In Limbo In Auckland




                              17th February 2021

                              AMERICA’S CUP EVENT (ACE) POSITION ON CONTINUATION OF RACING:

                              In these uncertain times, as the permitted Event Organiser responsible for the delivery of the 36th America’s Cup presented by PRADA in Auckland under the Host Venue Agreement with NZ Government and Auckland Council, America’s Cup Event Limited remains committed to maintaining as many aspects as possible of the Event as originally planned.

                              This includes the ambition to maximise the possibility of safe public engagement at the event for Aucklanders and Kiwis from around the country, as well as the commercial benefits to local businesses, event sponsors and partners which includes the New Zealand Government and Auckland City. We are also mindful of the global broadcasting rights holders that are taking the stunning images of our country with thousands of people enjoying the event and broadcasting them into living rooms and devices around the world.

                              America’s Cup Event Chair Tina Symmans said, “As event organisers, we have spent a considerable amount of time since Sunday evening looking at all possible scenarios. Like the majority of events around the country this weekend, the ramifications of running the remainder of the event need to be considered in an environment which is highly uncertain due to the latest COVID-19 concerns.”

                              ACE has consulted with the America’s Cup Minister Stuart Nash and senior Council officials and one consideration has been to postpone the current schedule of racing and events in the best interests of the public and all stakeholders given the current COVID-19 environment.




                              The position of ACE is based on one of two options based on the Government’s review of alert levels at 4:30 this afternoon:

                              If the alert levels drop to level 1 in time, then racing will resume this weekend.
                              If the alert level remains at 3 or 2, which obviously entails restrictions in gatherings and difficulties with events, racing and event activations would need to be rescheduled to recommence the Prada Cup Final on Friday 26 February. To respect the original timeframe scheduled between the Prada Cup Final and the America’s Cup Match, Race 1 of the Match would subsequently begin a week later on Saturday 13 March with the intention of racing still being completed by 21 March.
                              This morning the Challenger of Record (COR36) has made their position very clear in stating their desire to race from tomorrow despite COVID Alert level 3, to complete the PRADA Cup final by the 24th February in accordance with the existing PRADA Cup conditions.

                              They have also stated that if the racing program cannot be completed by Wednesday (24th) they intend to declare the leading point scorer the winner of the PRADA Cup and Challenger for the America’s Cup Match. Under the current points situation, that would be Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team.

                              “There is no guarantee as to what COVID-19 Alert Level Auckland or New Zealand will be operating under. If the event is faced with operating under COVID-19 Level 2 or 3, plans are in place to ensure the continued delivery and conclusion of the 36th America’s Cup presented by Prada within the scheduled dates.” Explained Symmans.
                              “Clearly this would have potential implications for public participation which we are trying to avoid, however the intention of the potential rescheduling will give the best possible opportunity to see the event run with maximum engagement and benefits for public and stakeholders.”
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