Perfect conditions but not a perfect performance in Prada Cup
Sunday, February 14, 2021 11:04 AM
The second day of the Prada Cup Final took place in perfect conditions on the Hauraki Gulf. It was not, however, the perfect day for Ineos Team UK, with two costly errors in both pre-starts handing control to the Italians who sailed the perfect races to take two wins and a 4-0 lead in the first-to-seven series.
Racing took place on Course E, known as the ‘Back Paddock’, around 20KM east of Auckland, between Waiheke and the mainland, with a moderate north-easterly 14-16 knot breeze.
Race 3 – Ineos Team UK vs Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli WIN (Delta +0.13)
With port entry, Ineos Team UK entered the start box first. A late attempt to hook Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli did not pay off. That error gave ITA the edge over the start line, and a nine second lead at the top mark.
The race subsequently evolved into a classic tight match-race, ITA covered well. Luna Rossa made no mistakes and held on to their early advantage to ultimately win the race by a 13 second delta, after a race which saw both teams make a record 17 tacks each.
Race 4 – Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli WIN vs Ineos Team UK (Delta +0.41)
The second race of the day was almost a carbon-copy of the first. With Ineos Team UK seeking to win the pre-start this time round, an aggressive move led to the team losing control and breaching with a heavy splashdown. That, again, gave ITA the advantage over the start line.
As there was negligible difference in boat speed, ITA was subsequently able to control the race again, seeking the better pressures on the course and frequently tacking on top of Britannia and protecting the favoured side of the course. ITA won the fourth race of the Prada Cup Final with a 41 second delta.
Speaking from onboard Britannia immediately after racing Team Principal and Skipper Ben Ainslie said:
“That was a tough day. We are not happy with it. We can sail a lot better than that and we need to. We just gave two races to those guys off the start line. To their credit they sailed well to keep it tight with two very even boats. They didn’t give us a chance to get back into it.
“In the first pre-start we got a bit too greedy going for the hook, we thought it was on for a split-second and got it wrong. Then in the second race we wanted to be aggressive and were in a good spot to make an aggressive move but lost control of the boat, which you can’t afford to do. We will have to go away and look back at that one to analyse what went wrong.”
“At this level you can’t afford to make any mistakes and we made too many. We have to go away, regroup, and improve to get our act together and come out swinging.”