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Thread: 2021 Prada Cup: The Brits Own The Day

  1. #11
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    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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  2. #12
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    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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    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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    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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  5. #15
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    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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  6. #16
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    It's Do Or Die Time For Ineos


    © Chris Cameron

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

    Racecourses B & C will not be used for racing, to mitigate the chance of large public gatherings on shore, which are in line with Government Level 2 restrictions.
    2 metre physical distancing, and face masks recommended.
    All bars, restaurants and cafes surrounding the Race Village can remain open in line with Ministry of Health COVID-19 Level 2 Guidelines.
    Public are reminded to always scan the NZCOVID19 Tracer App.
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  7. #17
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    Feb 19th Prada Cup: The Brits Still Have A Pulse

    INEOS TEAM UK beat Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli



    all images © Studio Borlenghi/COR

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

    Winner INEOS TEAM UK – 0:14

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





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


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







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


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


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

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

    Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli beat INEOS TEAM UK

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





    all images © Studio Borlenghi/COR


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

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

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

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

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










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

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

    Two more wins was all it would take for Luna Rossa to take the PRADA Cup.
    Two more races were all that were left for the British to stop them.
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  8. #18
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    Luna Rossa Takes Prada Cup In 8 Races



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







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

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

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




    RACE 7 SUMMARY

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

    Winner: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli – 0:56

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

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

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

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

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








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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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