As if written into the script, the final race was the one that mattered when it came to who would take the PRADA America’s Cup World Series Auckland trophy. With Emirates Team New Zealand and American Magic on even points, a win against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli would give the Kiwis the point that they needed to take the trophy.
And that’s what happened. Emirates Team New Zealand won the last race by 0:16 seconds over Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and opened the bottle of Mumm Champagne on the Race Village main stage in front of their fans.
The Kiwis got the top seeding in the PRADA ACWS Auckland with 5 wins and only 1 loss. Second ahead of tomorrow’s PRADA Christmas Race come New York Yacht Club American Magic (4 wins – 2 loss), third come Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (3 wins – 3 losses) and fourth INEOS TEAM UK (0 win – 6 losses).
Four match races have been held on the third and last day of the PRADA ACWS Auckland on the Race Course B, off the East Coast Bays, between Devonport and Takapuna with moderate to very light winds (8-15 knots). Top speed of the day was reached by Britannia (UK) with 43.3 kts, then Te Rehutai (NZL) with 42.6 knots, Luna Rossa (ITA) 41.2 kts and PATRIOT (USA) 37.5 kts.
Races will resume tomorrow 20th of December at 15:00 weather permitting for the PRADA Christmas Race. The first race will see Emirates Team New Zealand facing INEOS TEAM UK, followed by a match between Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli vs New York Yacht Club American Magic. After the two first head to head match ups, the winners of each will progress to the final, the losers to a playoff match which will help decide the final rankings.
QUOTES FROM THE POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE:
Peter Burling – Helmsman – Emirates Team New Zealand
On today's victory: “Today was at the bottom end of the wind range we agreed to sail on. We could really notice big gains and losses, which made it a tricky race. We had a pretty good race with Luna Rossa, even if we were seeing some pretty light numbers, so it made for a pretty tricky end of the race.
We really enjoyed the challenge. We were blown away by how many Kiwis showed up to see us here and seeing how many boats were around the racetrack."
Jimmy Spithill – Helmsman – Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team
On today's racing: “Today was a little bit patchy. At every start, the wind was at the correct speed to kick off the race, but there clearly were a couple of errors on the course, but the guys that did a better job of that won the race."
On the pre-start strategy: “Francesco and I get to discuss the strategy before the start. There is certain times where you are the helmsman and you make the decision, and the other guy is really doing the foil trimming, and every time you are the helmsman you have to make the decision. It's been a fun process: it's something completely new, never done before in the Cup, so it's been really cool experience. Felt good to come off the line well both times.”
Dean Barker – Helmsman – New York American Magic
“We were looking forward to having a good close race with Emirates Team New Zealand, it was nice to have a small advantage at the beginning, but when you drop off the foil it's sort of game over. These boats are challenging at the bottom wind range.”
Sir Ben Ainslie – Skipper – INEOS TEAM UK
On today's racing: “Tough day, particularly in lighter air we are struggling. There is certainly a lot for us to look at in terms of what went wrong. The other three teams are doing a much better job than we are, so we've got to figure that out pretty quickly. All boats stopped, some more than others.”
On tuning Britannia: “We want to be more competitive than we are right now. We are right at the cutting edge of technology, all these teams have fantastic designers, engineers and right now we are not where we need to be, but that's why we want to compete in this arena, to push ourselves against the best, and we've got to learn, understand, develop, and make that jump. There is a couple of key areas where we are lacking a little bit, this event is for us actually a more than an incredible opportunity to be able to go up against these teams and realize 'OK we've got some serious problems'. We've got a bit of time to turn that around and make the most out of this opportunity.”
Full replay of the PRADA ACWS Auckland available here. Race course and exact start time for the PRADA Christmas Race will be published every racing day on americascup.com and Social Media at 10:30 AM. Tomorrow’s price giving will be held again on the Main Stage on Te Wero Island one hour after racing and will be followed by the post-race press conference that will be streamed live on americascup.com.