Prada Cup: Brits back in the loo again

Published on February 15th, 2021

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
Both teams entered the Prada Cup Challenger Selection Series Finals claiming an advantage, which is what you say when it’s all you can say.

INEOS Team UK, having won the series prelims, enjoyed the extra time to refine their boat, while Luna Rossa saw advantage from the semifinal competition against American Magic.

Both could have been true, but after the British team booted four consecutive starts in the Finals (on Feb. 13-14), whatever they accomplished in speed upgrades failed to pass the better sailed, and quite speedy Italian team. It was clear the Brits could have benefited from more race experience.

Now sitting 0-4, the Brits understand highs and lows. Looking deathly ill during the December preview races, they kicked the sand out of their shoes to go undefeated in January, rising from the outhouse to the penthouse against all predictions. However, they are back in the loo again.

No cliché is more used in the America’s Cup than the value of time, and with the COVID-19 lockdown in Auckland, the next scheduled races on February 17 are postponed. The Brits needed time to turn their plight around, and time has been granted, and not just in the shed.

While government restrictions limit activity in the City, the teams can continue their on water training. Good news for the Brits… almost.

Each team had to submit their boats for measurement on February 8, with each yacht presenting the foils (including foil arm stocks, foil arm fairings, foil wings, and foilflaps) and rudder (upper and lower) for the anticipated weather conditions. If the Brits made wrong decisions, they are stuck with them for the complete series.

Another much discussed variable early on had been the 11-person crew configuration in each boat, and how the British had developed their grinding systems for just six crew, permitting port and starboard flight controllers and a dedicated tactician. In previous races, that looked to be an advantage, but the races are now tighter.

Tight races upwind mean tacking duels, which need muscle, and with the Italians having eight crew on the handles, they had no problem managing the Brits in a mano a mano slam-fest. With the Italian’s co-helm system, they always have their best driver on the wheel and can turn at any time.

When will racing begin again? Much like everything else to do with COVID-19… stand by, stay home when possible, keep washing your hands, and practice social distancing. We’ll know when we know.

Prada Cup Final Scoreboard (wins-losses)
INEOS Team UK (GBR): 0-4
Luna Rossa (ITA): 4-0

The PRADA Cup is a series of four round robins (Jan. 15-17 and Jan. 22-24), with the winner of the series qualifying for the PRADA Cup Final and the remaining two Challengers going into a Semi-Final Series (Jan. 29-Feb. 2) for the right to join the Round Robin winner in the Final (Feb. 13–22). The first team in the Final to win seven races earns entry to face the Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand, in the America’s Cup Match beginning March 6.

More information:
• Prada Cup format, standings, and how to watch online: click here.
• Complete America’s Cup coverage: click here
• Additional America’s Cup information: click here

Source: Prada Cup, Scuttlebutt

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