In a dramatic about turn, the three Challengers and the America’s Cup defender have agreed to take part in some more practice racing on Monday and Tuesday.
The three AC36 challengers – Luna Rossa, American Magic and Ineos Team UK – have now agreed to race with ETNZ before the challengers’ boats are officially measured on Wednesday in preparation for the Prada Cup opening round robin starting on Friday 15 January.
This is apparently to assist the race organisation to fine-tune their racecourse systems for the Prada Challenger Selection Series.
But it works for all involved . . . as a chance for the three challengers to see how their modifications have worked compared with one another, and for the Defender, ETNZ to see if the challengers have closed the performance gap.
More Justin Mitchell videos including a recent one of ETNZ showing some good light weather performance here . . .
This is good news for the Kiwi team you otherwise would not have had any chance to pace themselves against the challengers until the actual 36th America’s Cup match kicks off in March.
It is also a chance for Ben Ainslie and the Ineos Team to get to see if their hard work has paid off before they go into the real battle on Friday.
They have looked much improved over the past week, but still comparing foils combinations up to Sunday, and this extra racing could help them decide which foil set to declare for the first-round robin week.
This is nerve racking stuff for British fans . . .
Ineos face two races on the first day of the Round Robins, firstly against the NYYC American Magic team, and then the Italian team Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli in their second match.
Over the six days of the first Round Robin stage, they will race eight times, with the winner from the three challengers going direct to the Semi-Final stage.
The other two teams will then continue to race to decide the other semi-finalist, and one team will drop out.