Ineos Team UK finally turned it around, just as it seemed they had run out of ideas of how to beat the Italian team Luna Rossa.
Luna Rossa took the first race of day 3 at a stroll, after Ineos went for a barging start, with both starting early and getting penalties. Ineos eventually rounding the first gate 15 secs behind Luna Rossa.
At the finish Luna Rossa crossed 1 min 20 sec ahead of a dispirited looking Ineos crew.
Ben Ainslie commented . . . “We are struggling in terms of straight-line performance, so we have to push it hard to make something happen. It was a pretty close start, we got the first cross but they were just sailing away with their actual speed up wind.”
The second race of the day (R6) with the exit signs flashing, Ainslie finally won a start, leading accross the line to the LH boundary. Luna Rossa tacking away to the RH boundary.
After lee-bowing Luna Rossa at the first cross, Ineos eventually crossed ahead approaching gate 1 and rounding with a ground-breaking 8 sec lead.
Ineos extended to a 32 sec lead over the next legs, but with the wind dropping Luna Rossa came back on the final leg to finish 14 sec adrift . . . as Ainslie and Ineos Team UK took their first win in the Prada Cup Final.
Jimmy Spithill – Co-Helm of Luna Rossa commented, “The day has shown the boats are very similar. Ineos sailed a great race, but there was not a whole of opportunities, it was one of those races where the lead boat is always able to stretch a little.
With their first win on the board, the score at 5 – 1 down and seven races still to go for, Ainslie commented . . .
“We are very happy with the win, we have been on the wrong side on the last few days. The team did a great job, they just don’t give up they are going to keep fighting all the way, so we got one back, we needed it.”
“I think seems to be that on 13 knots and above the boats are pretty even, but beneath that we struggle, they know, and we know, that is the challenge.”
“I can’t say enough about the team, they have been great. When the wind dies down it’s a tricky situation, Giles did a great job there, we were concerned we might be losing in there.”
Racing continues Sunday with two more races and Ineos will have to win at least one to keep the dream alive.
Expected Race Schedule – Subject to weather and any change to the lockdown restrictions.
Feb 21: Race 7 and 8
Feb 22: Race 9 and 10
Feb 23: Race 11 and 12
Feb 24: Race 13.