Things are ramping-up in Auckland as the first day of the Prada Cup Final approaches.
The Ben Ainslie versus Jimmy Spithill match race series is being sold as the ‘Hulk’ versus ‘Pitbull’ showdown, with every raised voice incident in their yachting careers featured and picked over.
The two have America’s Cup history . . .
They sailed together on ORACLE Team USA in 2013, when Ainslie was brought on board as tactician with the Spithill helmed American team at 8-1 down to ETNZ, they turned it around to win the closest match in America’s Cup history, 9-8.
Saturday will see the first two races of the ‘first to seven-win series’ that will decide who will challenge Emirates Team New Zealand in the 36th America’s Cup in March.
In this video Shirley Robertson interviews Ineos Team UK’s Sir Ben Ainslie and Luna Rossa Peada Pirelli’s Max Sirena ahead of racing on Saturday 13th.
Two unknowns will be on display Saturday and that is what makes this crucial stage of the America’s Cup such a compelling, not to be missed event.
Was the twin helm set-up of Luna Rossa flattered in their four race semi-final whitewash of a crippled American Magic?
Has the extended racing layoff for the Ineos Team been a chance to add more improvements to Britannia, or have they lost their competitive momentum?
Ainslie talks of making marginal gains to continue improving their performance, of making a 2-3% performance gain, which at this level is huge.
In the second video, Ben Ainslie and Pietro Sibello talk with Matt Sheahan of PlanetSail about their progress, and Ray Davies of
defenders Emirates Team New Zealand talks about how they see the event shaping-up.
If the weather plays ball and provides a decent sailing breeze on Saturday, it will immediatly be obvious just which way the performance pendulum has swung.
Luna Rossa’s 4 – 0 win in the semi-final, compared with Britannia’s 3 – 0 score line over Luna Rossa in the round robins.
The Prada Cup Final replicates the schedule of the America’s Cup and the result . . . “there is no second”
First Parada Cup Final race Saturday 13 February, 16:00 hrs NZT (03:00 hrs UK)