Ainslie's 'lame duck' takes surprise lead in America's Cup challenge

16 Janvier, 2021, 01:49 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • INEOS TEAM UK on the water with Luna Rossa during official practice racing ahead of the PRADA Cup

This time, with the Italians looking to stay close and pounce, the margin for victory was smaller however the positive result was still secured and the British team started to put to bed the memories of the PRADA America's Cup World Series Auckland and PRADA Christmas Race.

During the commentary Nathan Outteridge, the Australian who skippered Artemis in the 2017 America's Cup in Bermuda, said: "I'm sorry guys, but does anyone else think they've been sandbagging?"

INEOS Team UK raced twice and won both the first match against NYYC American Magic (+1:20 sec.) and against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (+0:28 sec.).

The decisive contest commences with this set of round-robin races and from the six-race days, one victor will emerge who will advance straight into the PRADA Cup final. The right side of the course was strong all day and Ben Ainslie and his INEOS Team UK knew it.

It was a flawless day for the Brits as they stormed to victory. The British team enters the box from the left and moves straight to the right side of the pre-start area.

INEOS TEAM UK had a clear plan right from the pre-start; both boats made a perfectly timed run into the start and crossed the line on time and at speed.

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. We waited for them to make a mistake but this didn't happen.

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"It feels a little bit better than the six losses or whatever it was", he said after winning the first leg. They ensured that BRITANNIA took full advantage of the conditions as snatched that option away from Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team with their line.

During those warm-up races, INEOS TEAM UK suffered from technical difficulties with the foil cant systems and also found themselves behind their rivals performance wise, particularly in the lighter winds.

The opening race between INEOS TEAM UK and New York Yacht Club American Magic was a key one of the British charge. This meant that Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli was forced to tack off and head towards the lighter conditions on the left-hand side of the course.

Although they were able to whittle the British lead down to 13sec on the last windward gate rounding, by the finish INEOS TEAM UK had stretched out to win by 28sec.

"It nice to find the pace when it counts". It was a team effort and I have got to say our entire team back on the dockyards, the designers, the engineers, the shore team, the boat builders, they had three epic weeks working to turn this boat around. With a better start for sure we could have had a well-fought race.

Today Race 3 of RR1 will start at 3:15 PM NZT weather permitting and will see Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli vs American Magic. "It's been really tough", Ainslie said at the end of the race day. Early days, one race, we would have much preferred to come with a win, but it's a long series we need to keep improving. "Hopefully we can build on that momentum now and keep moving forward".

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