36TH AMERICA’S CUP
MATCH: DAY 2 RACE 3
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli beat Emirates Team New Zealand
Current: 0.2 knots @ 154
Winner: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli 0:37
After the first start was halted when spectators were ushered off the race course, the re-start saw Luna Rossa Prada Pirellienter the pre-start zone on port tack. Emirates Team New Zealand were quick to get onto their tail.
As they approached the right hand side of the zone both gybed to set up for the return to the line. Both were early and needed to kill time but neither wanted to drop off their foils. In addition, neither seemed to want to engage.
At the start Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli had gained a slim advantage and set themselves up to windward of Emirates Team New Zealand.
As the boats headed out to the left-hand boundary the Kiwis were the first to tack. The Italians paused, waited for the perfect moment to tack underneath them. It was a perfect lee bow tack that out pressure on the Kiwis. First punch to the Italians.
Eventually, Team New Zealand were forced to tack away. Already the Italians were looking as powerful in the 9-10knots of breeze as the pre-event chatter had suggested.
Although both boats were sailing at around 20-22knots upwind, the real difference between the two was that ITA seemed to be able to tack more quickly and smoothy too, gaining with each manoeuvre.
By Gate 1 Luna Rossa were ahead by 10sec as they rounded the right-hand mark. Emirates Team New Zealand chose to split and took the left in the hope that they could find different breeze on the downwind leg.
From the air, the breeze seemed to be funnelling down the middle of the course and the Italians were making a good job of identifying the best parts of the course to put themselves in.
By the bottom they rounded the right-hand mark 13 seconds ahead.
By Gate 3 the Italians had stretched out their lead to 27seconds as they rounded the left-hand gate.
Once again, the Kiwis split and rounded the right-hand gate. The previous leg suggested that the home team were a shade faster downwind at times, but if this was the case would their extra speed be sufficient to eat into the Italian lead?
By the bottom gate for the second time the Kiwis had indeed pulled back but only by a few seconds rounding 22 seconds behind.
Having chosen the opposite mark to round they were putting the Italians under pressure, forcing them to choose between the route they would prefer and the need to cover. But with a lead they didn’t want to give away, the latter won through as they matched the Kiwis tack for tack upwind.
By the last upwind leg the Italians had stretched out even more distance to round 38 seconds ahead. There was now surely little doubt that the Italian boat was quicker upwind in these conditions.
As they headed down the last leg they were now over 500m ahead.
Twenty seven minutes and 55 seconds after starting Race 3 there was another Italian point on the board as Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli crossed the line to take their second win of the series.