Current: 0.1 knots @ 031
Wind 16-20knts / 270 degrees
Winner: Luna Rossa (ITA)
As the clock counted down, both teams were out of position and late for the pre-start entry. But when they did make it into the pre-start zone they were neck and neck. Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli were on starboard and forced American Magic to take avoiding action, a dial down. This should have allowed the Italians to gain the upper hand, but they couldn’t stay on their foils and lost the opportunity to take control of the Americans.
From there, the pre-start preamble was a little lose as both teams tried to recompose themselves. As the start approached Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli had managed to recover to get to the line on time at speed, while American Magic were a shade late.
Both boats crossed the line on starboard at speed. But in an unusual move the Italians chose to make a big call to tack onto port and cross American Magic before they had made it to the boundary. They managed to cross but only just. In doing so the Italians had given up the lefthand side of the course which on the face of it looked to be the favoured side.
American Magic pressed on to the left, got to the boundary and tacked, squeezing everything they could out of the potential advantage.
When they came back together, the Americans had indeed managed to muscle ahead.
At gate 1 American Magic led by just 6 seconds. By the bottom of leg 2 the lead had grown to 13 seconds.
On the upwind leg there was little engagement as American Magic took the lefthand side of the race course, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli took the right.
By the top at gate 3 it was clear that the left-hand side had paid. American Magic were now 27 seconds ahead.
The second downwind leg saw American Magic choosing the better side of the downwind leg, managing to keep their gybes down to just one, a result of the breeze shifting to the left. For Luna Rossa it was three gybes to gate 4 drawing out the distance between the pair to 42 seconds.
But drama was to come.
At the top gate for the last time the breeze had gone so far left that the left hand mark was the only choice. But it meant a very difficult manoeuvre, especially as a squall was sweeping across the course.
They made it through the tack, but as they came out the leeward running backstay was not released, preventing the mainsail from being eased. With sail pinned in and the gust now on them, American Magic’s bow reared up – a capsize was inevitable.
Luna Rossa passed through the gate cleanly and took the lead.
19:50 – UPDATE FROM NEW YORK YACHT CLUB AMERICAN MAGIC
Auckland, New Zealand – New York Yacht Club American Magic, the U.S. Challenger for the America’s Cup, capsized in a strong gust of wind while leading around the final mark during a Prada Cup race shortly before 6:00 PM NZDT on Sunday, January 17 (January 16 U.S. time). All team members onboard were quickly accounted for by the team’s on-the-water safety personnel and declared safe.
The team’s AC75 racing yacht, PATRIOT, was damaged during the incident and began taking on water. American Magic received rapid assistance from the three other America’s Cup teams, along with America’s Cup Event Ltd, the race management team, the Coastguard New Zealand, the Auckland Harbormaster, and local fire and police personnel.
Efforts to stabilize PATRIOT and get the yacht back to shore are currently underway. American Magic is sincerely thankful for all of the assistance rendered to the team following today’s incident.