Skip to main content

Prada Cup: Brits Take First Two Races

Who saw that coming? After getting skunked in December, INEOS Team UK has swept the first two races in the Prada Cup elimination series of the 36th America’s Cup 

Racing took place on racecourse “C,” sheltered between Auckland’s North Head and Bastion Point to take advantage of the southwesterly breeze at start time. More important, at least as far as Sir Ben Ainslie and the rest of INEOS were concerned, the breezes were solid and steady throughout—in stark contrast to during the America’s Cup World Series regatta last month, which was marked by light breezes in which the Brits suffered.

The first to fall was New York Yacht Club American Magic in wind speeds ranging from 8 to 16 knots. INEOS won the start and never looked back, eventually notching a finish delta of 1 minute, 20 seconds—an eternity aboard a full-foiling AC75 monohull.

After that, it was Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli’s turn to face the revitalized UK team. This time wind speeds ranged from the mid-teens to the low 20s, and Ainslie and company simply at it up. Again, they had a rock-solid start. After that the Italians could do nothing more than play follow-the-leader, eventually crossing the finish line 28 seconds after their British rivals after splitting tacks in search of a miracle on the last leg.

“It was a tough race,” said American Magic helmsman, Dean Barker. “They were going a lot better than we have seen on practice racing. Maybe it was a surprise for some, but we kind of knew it was going to be pretty close.”

As for Ainslie, he was understandably ecstatic with his team’s turnaround, though as an experienced America’s Cup sailor, he knows a lot can change over the course of any Cup regatta.

“It feels a lot better than six losses or whatever was,” Ainslie said, referring to his team’s performance in last year’s World Series. “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. As I said to the boys, though, we are long way out of the woods yet. It’s a couple of good races. Time to make the most of the momentum now.”

Race 3 of the first round-robin of the regatta will start at 1515 NZ time and will see Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli taking on American Magic. The first race of the second round-robin will follow with INEOS TEAM UK sailing again American Magic.

For the latest on the 36th America’s Cup, click here

For all the background on both this Cup and Cup’s past, click here

m3364_PC_PAIRINGS

January 2021

Related

00-LEAD-210918_11HR_AZIMUT48HRS_AMO_00411

11th Hour Racing Team's Green Mission

“I’ll admit, it’s still hard to watch the boat leave the dock sometimes,” says former Volvo Ocean Race sailor Mark Towill. Since meeting during a Transpac campaign over 15 years ago, he and his teammate Charlie Enright have sailed thousands of miles together aboard two Volvo ...read more

D61_JKELAGOPIAN-3

Boat Review: Dufour 61

Dufour, long one of France’s most well-respected builders, has been producing sailboats in La Rochelle since the dawn of fiberglass boatbuilding. Having recently merged with another La Rochelle-based builder, Fountaine Pajot, Dufour has now joined other European mass-production ...read more

m138123_14_00_210609_TORE02_SE_2152_2504-2048x

The Ocean Race to be “Climate Positive”

The 2023 Ocean Race intends to be one of the world’s first climate positive sporting events, offsetting more greenhouse gasses than are produced. The two-fold effort means cutting emissions by 75 percent and investing in ocean projects that sequester carbon and restore ocean ...read more

01-LEAD-Ancients-3-2048x

Cruising Lake Superior

Almost anywhere a sailor drops the hook someone else has been there before. We are hardly ever the first. That remote Maine harbor without a soul in sight: there’s a lobster trap. The south coast of Newfoundland: the crumbling remains of a fisherman’s cabin lie hidden among the ...read more

01-LEAD-Tablet-Holder-4

Fabricating a Tablet Holder

During the pandemic, I was stuck aboard Guiding Light, a Lagoon 410, in St. Lucia for over a month. During that time, as I worked on the boat, I started by doing a spring cleaning in my spares locker and finding some parts and material that I forgot I had. As soon as I saw them, ...read more

00-LEAD-AdobeStock_486335954

A Catamaran for a New Era

Anacortes, Washington, is an unassuming sea-salty town near the San Juan Islands of Puget Sound, and the Betts Boats yard is easy for a passerby to miss. But within Betts’ facilities, the dawn of an era in Pacific Northwest production boatbuilding could be breaking with the ...read more

X5_plus_slide-01

Boat Review: Xquisite X5 Plus

The Xquisite X5 Plus is a major update of the boat that SAIL awarded Best Large Multihull and Best Systems titles in 2017. The changes were not just cosmetic, but genuine improvements to an already fine boat, making it lighter, faster and less dependent on fuel. The builder’s ...read more

01-LEAD-AdobeStock_40632434

Cruising: Offshore Prep Talk

When I began preparing Minx, my 1987 Pearson 39-2, for extended Caribbean cruising, I had to balance my champagne wish list against my beer budget. Every buck spent on the boat before leaving would be one less frosty can of Carib down in the islands. On the other hand, I had to ...read more