Italy’s Luna Rossa move to the Prada Cup Final after completing a 4-0 semi-final victory over American Magic on the Hauraki Gulf.
There was no dramatic turn-around for the New York Yacht Club team, following their tremendous efforts to rebuild their crippled AC75, Patriot, after the dramatic capsize and near sinking in the round robin stage.
Terry Hutchinson and his team, with the assistance of the other America’s Cup teams, put in a massive effort to get back on the water to save their AC36 campaign.
But despite their off-water efforts the magic was not there and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli had little more to do than safely complete two final races to claim their place in the Final with Ineos Team UK.
Luna Rossa will now meet Ben Ainslie’s Ineos Team UK in the Prada Cup Final, a first to seven wins series starting on the 13 February, to decide the official challenger for the 36th America’s Cup match.
Semi-Final Race 3
Barker and the American Magic crew made a better start, to lead off the line to leeward of Spithill and Bruni on Luna Rossa in the drag race to the boundry, for the first tack, with Luna Rossa then setting a tight cover.
At the first mark rounding Luna Rossa had a 13 second lead and a 300 metre gap, that allowed them to stretch away to a 41sec lead.
Although American Magic closed the gap, by the finish it was Luna Rossa with a 35sec win and it was looking difficult to see how the American team could raise their game to comeback, with the Italians just needing one more win to claim that Final place.
Semi-Final Race 4
The breeze had increased to 16 knots and American Magic tried to take the fight to Luna Rossa but failed to gain control of the pre-start and Luna Rossa lead off to the left, while American Magic tacked away to the righthand boundry.
At the first cross Launa Rossa had a 130 metre lead, which increased to 700+m at the first mark rounding after American Magic had problems to lower their starboard foil arm and overstood the layline, rounding 45sec behind.
Worse was to come with with another arm malfunction then forcing a boundry penalty, as Luna Rossa sailed away to a 1500m lead and a 2min 36sec advantage at the mark 3 rounding.
That was game-over for American team, with Luna Rossa safely completing the race with a 3min 51sec victory.
Next will be the much anticipated Prada Cup Final between Ineos Team UK and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli.
Luna Rossa have looked impressive in this semi-final but was that the lack of realalistic competition from the lack-lustre New York YC team.
Their early promise brought down by the devasting round robin crash-out and effort to come-back that seemed to drain the ‘magic’ that everyone hoped for, but reality cruelly ended.
Looking ahead to facing Luna Rossa in the Final, Ben Ainslie said:
“It was a great effort from American Magic to get back out on the course, but it wasn’t their weekend. They are great competitors, and we look forward seeing them come back stronger.”
“Our focus is now on the Prada Cup Final in two weeks’ time.”