How quickly could disaster happen. Fine details are minimized and everything starts to vibrate. This is what happened to the British team about captain Ben Ainsley when they fought for the perfect positioning in the Challenger’s duel against Luna Rossa before the start of the fourth final race. Ineos UK is clearly behind after three losing matches and entering the starting zone as a Hunter. Ainslie does not allow the Italians to escape, and wants to pin himself to the sensitive side windward through a narrow curve in order to dictate speed and course from there. Luna Rossa has nowhere near her to work.
But then, during a turn, Ainslie gives the order to lift the lighter-weight foil than the water – the “Rita” is released all over the air and threatens to capsize.
Although the British were able to intercept the boat, they quickly picked up speed, so close to catching Luna Rossa at the finish line. But only roughly, and if one thing is not enough about this high-tech fencing, it almost is.
The accident almost brings back unpleasant memories of the disaster that befell the American team, American Magic, three weeks earlier and that was supposed to eventually expel them from the competition for the sailing crown. This crown has been in the display cabinets of the New York Yacht Club for over a hundred years, and it was taken out with each new challenge, only to be returned shortly thereafter. When the Australian national team first lost the trophy, and worse, it was sent back to the US by Californians around Denise Connor, the traditional club did not feel another ambition for a long time to participate in the trophy search, and it led to the ego number of junior billionaires. Only now Terry Hutchinson managed to persuade his club colleagues to take part in the sailing weapons project.
With the “Patriot”, New Yorkers launched a car that interpreted design rules in the most radical way. They understood this to be a pure flying body, with at the stern of a ship having more of a plane shape than a floating body shape. At Dean Barker, they also hire a proven expert for this racing format. The New Zealander has fought more Cup battles than anyone else. Even those who didn’t make it 8: 1 in the lead, To win the decisive ninth race over the San Francisco Bay. His time with his local team is over after that and he has to make room for young talent, which is why he enlisted in the Japanese at first – with little success – and now as Campaign Leader, American Magic hopes to improve the cup’s budget.
Could the 47-year-old Parker really want to compete against his fellow countrymen who brought the trophy to New Zealand in 2016 against the back of Auckland Harbor Stadium?
Anyway, that shouldn’t have come. He bet on his chances with one maneuver.
It was a windy day with a shower gushing at the upper end of the monocular load cap, which was previously unbalanced, and had no counterweight to rise again. You just fall. American Magic dominated the race against Luna Rossa as in the previous days. Only the British were always the best, which is why they already qualified for the final of the three contenders with a score of 4-0.
As Parker headed towards the last sign of the wind in the rising wind, his tactic, sitting right behind him, signaled a gust of wind. “It’s going to be a really tough maneuver,” Paul Goodison said several times, hoping that his commander would deviate from the originally agreed strategy and choose the safer option. But Parker didn’t even think of giving up an advantage. When Goodison had previously told him that the other side of the gate was in fact closer, Parker turned to him in disbelief. As if to say: Are you crazy?
So he headed towards the buoy, and when he reached it he turned the boat slowly to face the wind. In fact, he wanted to start a 210-degree loop, the toughest maneuver ever, when the Patriot accelerated so quickly in the incoming storm that Parker lost control. The whole boat flew out of the water, jumped sideways and hit hard after a few meters. The collision caused a hole in the hull. The speedy assistants – from other teams as well – took hours to prevent the boat from sinking.
It took American Magic ten days to get its contestant back on his feet. As it was shown in the semi-final against Luna Rossa, it only succeeded halfway through, dropping the Americans 0: 4 with an often unreliable device whose systems revealed flaws time and time again. It went so far that it hit hard again and again due to chip control failure.
So, the accident disturbed the balance of power. Luna Rossa has had two weeks to evolve further, while American Magic can at most restore the old state. The fact that the Italians, who were still weak in the preliminary round, were able to gain the most experience in racing, also dissolved the gap that had previously been clear to the British. Although Ainslie rarely leaves himself behind and intervals remain in a few seconds, Jimmy Spithill and Francesco Bruni, as helm captains who share the mission aboard Luna Rossa, have taken over the action. It doesn’t mean that they can take it wrong. They just didn’t do one.
The Challenger’s duel should continue in the middle of this week. But with New Zealand re-infected with the Covid-19 outbreak, the races have been postponed to the weekend. Which sparked some excitement behind the scenes. Because the schedule is strict. Any delay gives teams an opportunity to improve their technique. Luna Rossa doesn’t want that at the moment.
The team that won seven times was the winner. This almost gives the meeting on Saturday and Sunday the status of a decision.