Italy’s Luna Rossa took a strong position on the first day of the Prada Cup Semi-Final, winning both their races against American Magic.
Luna Rossa put on a commanding display in the windy conditions and have achieved 50% of the target of four race wins required to take the semi-final, and go through to join Ineos Team UK in the Final.
Although American Magic set top speeds in both races, with a new record 53.31 knots in the first race, general handling problems limited their options for taking the fight to the Italian team.
On Luna Rossa, Bruni and Spithill looked much more relaxed than they had done against Ben Ainslie and Ineos Team UK, the performance margin over American Magic giving them time to ease back and produce a confident day 1 result.
Race 1 started in 20 knots with Luna Rossa luffing American Magic to a stall, and then going full speed for the line to the left boundry with a 240 metre lead at the tack.
With both boats sailing at 38+ knots Luna Rossa had an 18 sec lead at the first mark.
Downwind speeds hit the high forties and the lead stretched to almost 500 meters, with Luna Rossa rounding mark 2 with a 22 sec lead.
At mark 5 the lead was up to 58 sec and American Magic seemed to lose control in the rounding, crashing off the foils, forcing them to tack, as they collected a penalty going out of the boundary.
By then it was game over and Luna Rossa took a smooth 2 min 43 sec win, on what had been a shakey return to the course for Barker and the American Magic crew.
Race 2 saw a similar start situation with Luna Rossa again crossing well ahead of American Magic to lead by 100+ metres at the first tack.
Luna Rossa rounded the first mark with a 17 sec lead but then messed up their rounding at mark 2 rearing up on the foil and crashing down, but regainedt control and still held a 22 sec lead.
From there on American Magic could make no impression as they seemed to struggle with control, leaving Luna Rossa to pull out to a 3 min 7 sec lead at the finish line.
Luna Rossa helm Francesco Bruni . . . In the past the boat wasn’t the fastest in the strong winds, but we knew we had made some big improvements in terms of performance, we saw very good numbers, and today on the water we also felt the difference.
American Magic SkipperTerry Hutchinson . . . We had a good warm up and being so windy the boats are always on edge but to be completely candid with you I wasn’t even thinking this would have been possible about twelve days ago.
Racing continues with two races on Saturday . . . same time, same place.