Prada Cup Final: Day 2 – Italy up by 4
by Ben Gladwell – Sail-World NZL Feb 13 10:03 PM PST
14 February 2021
Luna Rossa and Ineos compete against the wind in the show’s first major duel. © Media Cup of America
Tucked away today on today’s easternmost line E, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and Ineos Team UK continue today’s battle, Auckland. After a shaky start, Ben Ainslie and the crew should really get some points on the leaderboard.
Hauraki Bay – which translates to North Wind – lives up to its current name with a solid 18-21 knots on the regular racetrack, prompting race officials to move onto Line E – known as “The Back Paddock – where the wind is gentle. is a quieter but slippery 10 knots.
To whom this hand will play remains to be seen. Ineos relies heavily on the tactical nous Giles Scott who is unique among the challengers in his role as a dedicated tactician. Luna Rossa on the other hand will have Jimmy Spithill and Francesco Bruni sharing the roles of helmsman and tactician as well as traveler and rake driver.
This is how the day opens:
Finally we got to see some argy-bargy on the prestart between Spithill and Ainslie. Ineos prepares to fight Luna Rossa and takes aim at the hook as the boat returns to the starting line, but Luna Rossa paces and flees in front of them. Ineos retreated several lengths of the boat and stuck it on. Luna Rossa slammed the lid tight and left with them, the two boats starting from the harbor, towards the right side border.
The boats looked more harmonious so far today. As they clung to the border, Luna Rossa stayed ahead and led back towards the port boundary some 60 meters ahead. This is the first real line-up we’ve seen where boats are content to sail side by side, trying to gain an advantage in pure speed and altitude over the opponent rather than looking for a different wind. Ineos seem to have a much better high mode and make inroads when they cross the line. Luna Rossa continued to the boundary and lay line, reaching the top with a few less maneuvers and stepping out to lead over 100m over the top of the pitch. Delta at the mark 9 seconds.
The speed of the boat downwind is very balanced, the boat is locked at a distance of 140m. If there is a difference between the two it is in the maneuver section. Luna Rossa seems to get the length of the boat or more whenever they make a tackle or insult. Luna Rossa rounds the low limit 9 seconds ahead again but looks a lot closer than it does the upper limit. Luna Rossa rounded the left-hand gate and extended to the side of the court where Ineos went to the same gate but held both foils and shot straight, effectively completing a 180 degree turn at 40+ knots.
Although only narrowly superior, Luna Rossa initially seemed happy to let Ineos separate from them and instead of following Luna Rossa to the left, they continued to the border. When they get back together, Spithill and Bruni do a textbook slam-dunk, tackling directly in front of Ineos and forcing them to resort to other tactics as they are barely able to get back to race pace after making the previous tackle. Now this is a real match race. Luna Rossa is clearly quicker to maneuver, adding to the advantage of 180 meters. They must have seen their lead and were eager to force him home, forcing Ineos to sail in a sweep behind Luna Rossa’s wing or tackle again and again, bouncing off the beaten track and never really being able to stretch his legs and accelerate. This is probably the closest thing we’ve seen to a classic match race between two AC75s.
Luna Rossa rounded off the mark ahead again, their lead stretching to 18 seconds and 320 meters. If Ineos wants to stand a chance in the series, they have to start racing to Luna Rossa, so far they have let Spithill and Bruni dictate terms and sail where they want, leaving Ineos to sail in less desirable parts. racing course. The brilliant layline calls at the bottom line were almost undermined by the less than stellar “JK” that Spithill and Bruni called rounding tackles on the bottom line. They carried the wind still up front, but gave most of their lead back to Ineos who was back within 9 seconds behind.
While JK isn’t very fast, it puts Italians in a great position to bypass Ineos who has done the traditional rounding at the other gates. This meant that as they approached the limit, Italy could tackle a little earlier and set themselves up to be right in front of England, forcing a resumption of their tackling duel from the previous round, although this time they coached Ineos on the right. limit. As before, in each tactic, Ineos will hand Luna Rossa another 10 meters away. There were more tacks in the first half of this half than in any of the previous races at regatta.
As they entered the final 500m of this beat, Luna Rossa was 150 meters ahead and set up a very controlling position on the right layline, giving Ineos no choice but to follow right behind them as they headed for the finish. rounding. In this reminder of the g-force on board, a very loose insult to Ineos sees Giles Scott slide back and up the deck as the crew rushes in contempt as he crosses the ship. Luna Rossa makes a clean final run, with a loose flap to stay between England and the bottom line.
It is a much closer race than most of what we saw in the Prada Cup but Luna Rossa remains well in control, going up 3-0 in the series.
Another must-win start sequence for Ineos sees them head skywards thanks to foil control issues – a crash accompanied by some completely un-English language over onboard communications. Luna Rossa was again allowed to start unhindered and jumped to the 100m lead. This opened the door for Luna Rossa to install another tight cover, pinning the British ship to the starboard boundary in a second race that promised to be quite intensive for the grinders.
Luna Rossa maintained their lead, effortlessly covered Ineos and kept locked up 150 meters behind nearly the entire foot. They will round the first top mark in the next 12 seconds. Luna Rossa follows the match racing’s instruction manual into the mail – staying between the man and the target. The boats looked perfectly matched in these conditions, so while the delta at this stage was only 150 meters, it looked like it was taking the lead, which Ineos didn’t seem in a position to do anything about. But Ineos’ onboard communication was very relaxed, so maybe they knew something unproven to the audience about their prospects for their first race win in the series. Once again the delta at the bottom limit was 10 seconds and again England went for a rounded JK tack, heading off to the left-hand limit, followed shortly after by Luna Rossa who looked to the box seat to set another choke grip to beat. downwind.
Ineos get a limit penalty when they return to the center of the field. Ainslie doesn’t feel like it’s guaranteed and the Virtual Eye chart shows they don’t cross the line. Another move following the leader made for a smooth watch, which would suit Luna Rossa’s supporters fine. The difference slowly slipped closer to 250m by the time the boat reached the crest mark, with the breezes looking a little moderate. When they crossed the target, Luna Rossa extended the time to 21 seconds.
A massive right-hand shift of nearly 20 degrees played perfectly to Luna Rossa’s hands who jumped 500m, looking for the moment as if they might hit their mark without turning, but the wind blew back and forced a double-jibe near the bottom so they could. get the left autograph and return to their favorite side on the field.
It was now clear that if Ineos was to win this race, Luna Rossa would have to make her own mistakes. They are now far enough ahead that they can do what they want, pick their shifts and step up the 500m lead, rounding off the final mark more than 35 seconds ahead.
At this time, it seemed that Ineos had just run out of ideas on how to get around Luna Rossa. Their strategy and attitude are very similar to ACWS in late 2020. This appearance raises the question, is Luna Rossa sailing in a much faster boat, or are they just sailing in a perfect race? Is it just the case of Ineos winning some starting to turn things around? Or are they in a deeper hole?
Luna Rossa up 4-0.