America’s Cup 2021: ‘This is a thrashing’: Team NZ bounce back in style

The America’s Cup match remains level.

After Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa traded wins on the opening day of the match, the two did so again on day two to see the scores sit at 2-2 after four of a possible 13 races.

In a day of light and inconsistent conditions, the performances followed suit, particularly Luna Rossa who sailed a near-flawless race in the opening contest on the day, before an error on the second leg of race two saw Team New Zealand cruise to victory by a large margin.

This were relatively interesting down the first leg of the second race as the sides remained close and the hope remained for a possible pass or two down wind. But it because an exercise rather than a high-pressure race when a bad Luna Rossa jibe saw them drop right off the pace as they had an issue with their foils.

While Luna Rossa dropped off the pace, Team New Zealand sailed a strong race, showing their pace and making clean manoeuvres up and down the course, eventually winning by 63 seconds.

“That was a really good race for us,” Team New Zealand flight controller Blair Tuke said after the win.

“The boat’s going really well and we managed to extend nicely.”

AUT sailing professor Mark Orams said the win would be a big relief to Team New Zealand and their supporters.

“This is a thrashing…800 metres in front,” said Orams. “It looked as though they (Team NZ) were getting the boat into the groove.

“We also learned that Te Rehutai is fast, in these light winds, this is something we did not know before today. The numbers coming off her suggest a speed advantage over LR in these under 10 knots of wind speed conditions.

“That’s a surprise because almost everyone picked LR to be the faster boat in the very light winds. However even if you are faster these narrow race tracks mean that it is extremely difficult to get past the boat in front.

“If we track back over the races from the Prada Cup semifinals, finals and now these first four races of the AC, in 16 out of 17 races, the boat leading off the start wins.”

It was a different story earlier in the afternoon, when Luna Rossa claimed a 37-second win for a short-live lead in the series.

Despite some onboard issues before racing that appeared to threaten Luna Rossa’s day, they sailed a near faultless race to further show they are well and truly capable of winning this competition.

The teams both got out of the starting gate well, but Luna Rossa got the better of the first manoeuvre, and executing well and sailed in the face of Team New Zealand to build a handy lead on the first leg.

The defender needed to find something, and opted to split the course around the first gate. Initially, it looked as though it had been a good move, as Team New Zealand ate into the Luna Rossa lead on the second leg.

However, an excellent third leg from the Italians saw them more than double their lead through the halfway point in the race, which they extended further late in the race to claim a clean and clear win.

Race two:
Gate 1: NZ 9sec
Gate 2: NZ 34sec
Gate 3: NZ 34sec
Gate 4: NZ 48sec
Gate 5: NZ 58sec
Final: NZ 1min03sec

Race one:
Gate 1: LR 10sec
Gate 2: LR 13sec
Gate 3: LR 27sec
Gate 4: LR 22sec
Gate 5: LR 38sec
Final: LR 37sec

Heading into the Cup racing?

• Give yourself plenty of time and think about catching a ferry, train or bus to watch the cup.

• Make sure your AT HOP card is in your pocket. It’s the best way to ride.

• Don’t forget to scan QR codes with the NZ COVID Tracer app when on public transport and entering the America’s Cup village.

• For more ways to enjoy race day, visit at.govt.nz/americascup.

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