The third and final day of the inaugural Prada Cup Challenger Selection Series completes the first half of the group stage. INEOS UK (GBR) team once again outperforms the forecasters, Luna Rossa (ITA) maintains its position and American Magic (USA) continues the downward spiral.
Day three of the Prada Cup: America out of the game?
RR2, Gara 2 – ITA versus GBR
The first race of the day was abandoned after a strong wind shift, as a result of a strong gust of rain hitting the track while the two boats were completing the second cycle. The recovered path was directed to the west. The breeze displacement was exactly as the forecast suggested but means that the trajectory will be more susceptible to the possibility of unstable conditions. Initially, about a minute into the end, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli took the opportunity to force INEOS TEAM UK to avoid them in the hope that they could delay the British team at the start. And while the maneuver might not give exactly this result, it did allow them to take charge from the start and put pressure on INEOS TEAM UK to the point where they were forced to turn left.
Luna Rossa team vs Eneos
From that point the two boats turned opposite ends of the 3-lap course, and veered at the boundary. When they got back together, the Italians were clearly ahead having benefited from a good turn on the right side of the field. At Gate 1, British Captain Ben Ainsley approached starboard, but Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli was 10 seconds ahead. At Gate 2, close the margin in just 7 seconds. Right after another wind race fought hard. This time at the top of the course the two boats passed through Gate 3 at exactly the same time. Then came the change of progress in the fourth stage. In the leeward part, INEOS TEAM UK took the right side of the track, while the Italians took the left. He pushed the right side and the British were now in the lead. INEOS TEAM UK crossed the finish line by 18 seconds, winning the fourth out of four starts.
Prada Cup: Group List (Complete Calendar)
RR2, Grade 3 – USA vs ITA
With the countdown, both teams were off site and delayed entry before departure. But when they got to the pre-start area, they were face to face. Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli had to turn and force American Magic to take avoidance action, with one handle down. This should have allowed the Italians to dominate, but they lost the opportunity to dominate the Americans. From there, the pre-start preamble was a bit loose as both teams tried to pull each other together. Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli managed to recover to speed on time, while American Magic lagged slightly with winds of 16-20 knots at 270 degrees for the 3-turn. By the end of the second leg, the US lead had grown to 13 seconds. The windward second leg saw American Magic pick its best side, and it was able to keep its arms low to one side, due to the breeze shifting to the left. But the drama was coming.
Twists of American Magic: The United States Exit from the Game
At the upper gate for the last time, the breeze had gone so far to the left that the left hand was the only option. But it was a very difficult maneuver, especially since the storm was spreading along the track. The United States broke through the walls, but when they did exit, the aft pillar that was traveling downwind was not released, preventing the main sail from slackening. With the sail and storm locked on it, the American Magic’s bow rose – a flip-flop was inevitable. So, with the United States out of the game. Luna Rossa passed through the gate cleanly and took the lead, leading in the second leg to victory as American Magic scored her second goal.
This race completes the second round of the inaugural round that includes four Rubens’ rounds, with the final two rounds scheduled for January 22-24.
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