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 win RR1 Race 1
RR1 – Race 1
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 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
Current: 0.2 knots @ 331
Wind – 16-22knots / 215
Winner: INEOS TEAM UK 0:28