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Thread: 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
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    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.
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    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
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    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.


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

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    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."
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    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. #8
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    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 at 10:32 AM.
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  9. #9
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    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. #10
    Looking like an Ineos and Luna Rossa finals, but I am no expert!

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