Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli lead with 2 wins
The first day of the PRADA Cup Semi-Final went smooth as silk for Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli which scored the first two points on the leader board against New York Yacht Club American Magic that, against all the odds, managed to make the start line after the Round Robin’s dramatic capsize.
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli performed two perfect starts followed by two consistent and clean races which they just kept increasing their lead over the Americans who, despite working one miracle by putting PATRIOT back together, couldn’t work another on the water with a tough day playing follow the leader..
With the weather being once again a key player today and the SW breeze gusting up to 22 knots at times, a new speed record has been broken today as American Magic hit on 53.31 knots (almost 100 km/h) on race 1.
SEMI- FINAL RACE 2
Current: 0.3 knots @ 150
Wind: 18 knots / 210 degrees
Winner: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli – 3min 7sec
While the breeze had dropped a few knots, the current running against the breeze had built slightly making conditions choppier, especially on the right hand side of the course where the current was stronger.
In the pre-start this time it was Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli who came in on port tack from the left hand side, doing so at 47knots and spot on time.
Throughout the pre-start the Italians looked confident, executing a strategy to control their opponents.
Meanwhile, aboard American Magic things didn’t look quite so settled with the crew struggling to execute smooth manoeuvres.
When it came to the start, Luna Rossa had once again gained the upper hand, leading into the line with American Magic to windward and trailing.
By Gate 1 Luna Rossa were leading once again by 17sec, a similar margin to the first race.
Just as with the first race of the day, Luna Rossa were delivering a confident, poised performance, stretching their lead and looking on track to deliver a similar overall performance. Until that is, they reached Gate 2.
As they rounded the left hand of the two marks, approaching at 49 knots, Luna Rossa lost grip on their foil and skidded to leeward. There was plenty of spray and raised heartbeats but the crew recovered the situation quickly to get back up to speed.
The slip up had reduced the Italian lead over American Magic, but as the next few legs played out it was clear that there were control problems aboard Patriot with frequent loss of control on the downwind legs. Each time the distance between the two boats only grew, delivering another win to Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli by the finish as they crossed the line 3min 7sec ahead.
Two races in the bag for the Italian team, another two and they would be through to the Prada Cup final, but tomorrow’s weather looks likely to change gear and in doing so may re-set expectations once again.
The PRADA Cup Semi-Final is the first knock out phase of the Challenger Selection Series. The first team to win four races will face INEOS TEAM UK in the PRADA Cup Final starting on the 13th of February which is only one step away from the Match.
Races will resume tomorrow 30th of January at 3:15 NZT, weather permitting. Post-race press conferences are held approximately one hour after the end of the last races and are streamed live on americascup.com, Facebook and YouTube. Full replay of the races is available here.