Kiwi helm Pete Burling admits to a bit of ‘rustiness’ in the their suprise loss in the second race of the 36th America’s Cup in Auckland on Wednesday.
After taking a 31 second win in the first race, Emirates Team New Zealand looked set to start counting down to a seven to nil cleansweep, but Luna Rossa co-helm Jimmy Spittle raised his game to control the second race start and make Burling look very ordinary, forced to tack away to escape.
And after that it was the Italian team co-helms Spittle and Bruni out-tacking the Kiwis all the way to the finish.
The highly promoted speed difference was nowhere to be seen, and unless ETNZ have found the missing speed package in the back of the shed over the lay day, it looks like we could have a real match that might just get some Auld Mug glory back.
And this 36th America’s Cup really needs something to go right . . .
Caught out by the Covid-19 pandemic, that could still cause more upset yet, the poor entry takeup, the cancellation of the pre-events, the wreck of the American entry and the performance failure of the British, resulting in a one-sided challenger series.
Everything is riding on the actual Cup match race being something special, and here we are going against tradition. Six of the last 10 Cups have finished without the loser posting a single race win, and only two matches in the last 11 have seen it come down to a final decider race.
The right signs are there with both teams posting a win, so they have passed the first hurdle.
The second race day will show us if the Kiwis can shake off the ‘rustiness’ and if the Italian’s can show that they are more than one-race wonders!
With Auckland still in Level 2 this Friday, racing will return to one of the two outer courses, and the forecast is for light winds.
But just before the Mixed Zone session, it was announced that the Government would reduce the COVID levels for Auckland by a day, meaning that Course C would come into play for Saturday’s racing.
The two outer courses (A and E) are notorious for there being are no passing lanes, so a change to the inshore Course C could provide more open racing as well as better spectating.
Viewing AC36 in the UK:
BBC TV in the UK is showing the second day of racing – Fri 12 March – from 03:00 hrs UK. It is then available on the Red Button One at 07:00 hrs UK.
All the AC36 matches are being shown live on Sky TV between 03:00 and 05:00 hrs UK time, from Wednesday.
The Sky channel is either Sky Mix, Main Event or Sports Action, depending on the day.
The America’s Cup YouTube channel also has a free live stream in the UK.