It is a bleak scene as the yachts exit flying mode in the America’s Cup. The suspension has disappeared, as boats lift themselves from the water and only race over the deck on the wings. Instead, yachts slide slowly across Hauraki Bay off Auckland like black swans. In the last race of the Cup so far, the two teams have suffered this fate.
However, it was not boring: after the New Zealand team fell from their wings on the water in the second race of the day, it seemed at first like a clear victory for the Italian team with Luna Rossa. The Italians were sometimes nearly 2,500 meters ahead, which is actually an impossible advance. But this yacht also dived in the gentle breeze – and couldn’t stand on its own two feet.
The Luna Rossa crew desperately tried to catch the breeze at the edge of the regatta to climb again Chips die To ascend the wings. But wind speeds of about seven knots (about 13 km / h) were not enough. The New Zealanders long returned on flying mode and finally sailed away from the Italians. In the previous race, the New Zealanders reversed the deficit for the first time – and it appears that previous racing series rules have been broken.
The beginning is not everything
The most important finding after the fourth day of the Cup race is that the beginning is not everything. While earlier races featured duels for a better start, races are now defined in the open field. For captain “Luna Rossa” Jimmy Spethyl, that’s not really good news. The 41-year-old Australian has earned the nickname “Pitbull” for years through his aggressive maneuvers before the start. If the Italians crossed the line in a better position, Spithill had always succeeded in “nibbling” the New Zealanders with skillful maneuvers.
However, under conditions of light winds, he appears to run out of breath. On the one hand, this is amazing, as the Italians are supposed to be better off in the last two races with a slightly larger vertical sail. On the other hand, differences in performance can now be seen between the two teams – in favor of the New Zealanders.
However, the New Zealanders were only partially able to live up to their obviously preferred role before the Cup. Its “Te Rehutai” is the fastest yacht, especially in the winds, but Italians can sail higher with the wind, thus getting closer to their destination and having to travel less. The reason for this appears to be the different way of dealing with yachts. While the Italians allowed their boat to fly a little higher over the water, the New Zealanders pushed the bow down a bit more forcefully and gained speed.
Translated into racing, this ultimately means: if the Europeans are ahead, they tend to lose a little bit of their lead, while the New Zealanders have mostly expanded their leadership.
A duel for “fresh air”
On the other hand, the Italians held out until the fourth day of the race with good starts and smart tactics. In their three victories, the Italians successfully blocked offensive maneuvers by the New Zealanders by leaving “bad air” behind in their path. This indicates the turbulence caused by the wing-like sail pulling yachts behind. It disrupts the airflow into the opponent’s sails, which could mean precious seconds.
This is why the well-known “suction” from racing does not work in the sliding current when sailing. The wind pressure on the sails should be as constant as possible. Wind distraction, for example by land blocks or the boat in front of you, slows down dramatically.
Therefore, the two teams are not only frantically searching for gusts of wind that could bring them additional pressure and thus an advantage. At least as important as a free path without disturbance to the opponent – that is, “with fresh air”.
The score of 3: 5 for the Italians was already a success: 21 years ago, Luna Rossa sailed against the New Zealand team at the Hauraki golf course – and she had no chance. After a promising first round, the team lost all five races.
Spithill doesn’t want to write off the race yet. He said that you fought on your way back several times from a difficult situation. To catch up, Spithill must be successful in the next two races on Tuesday. If the New Zealanders won both races, they would have defended the cup.