This weekend’s Prada Cup event is set to showcase “Ghost Races” after the withdrawal of American Magic.
The American Syndicate confirmed on Monday that it will not be the starting line for this weekend’s Robin Tour matches as it race to repair the extensive damage inflicted in Sunday’s dramatic coup.
With only three competitors, the absence of American Magic caused some trouble to race management, who had to readjust the already light race schedule.
After consulting with the teams and stakeholders, the Copa America has opted for the possibility of a Friday race, and the remaining matches for the third and fourth rounds are organized on Saturday and Sunday.
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However, to collect points from their clashes against American Magic, Italian union Luna Rossa and Ineos Team UK still have to hit the starting line and follow through with advance suggestions. The point will be awarded once the boat crosses the starting point.
“It looks like we have adopted the term ‘ghost race’ to them,” said regatta manager Ian Murray Things.
“The way the rules work is if one boat falls, the other boat is given a race. But there is a process where they actually have to start the race to claim the point.”
“They have to attend, they have to be in good shape to race, and if no one is racing, it is awarded.”
American Magic’s absence means that there are only two full races left over the weekend between the Italians and the British table-top team, which was unbeaten in the first two rounds of the tour.
If the British Guild wins Saturday’s race against Luna Rossa, the Sunday race result will be redundant because Sir Ben Ainsley’s uniform will be the first undercover team from Robin’s Tour, and as such, it will move directly to the Prada Cup Final.
In this event, Murray says, the two teams will have a choice between racing on Sunday.
“We’re just trying to do the right thing for the event and the difference. There have been a lot of consultations and discussions about how to get the most out of it for everyone, bearing in mind that the teams want to move forward, they want to start the next stage of development with what they’re doing with their boats,” he says.
“Watching the weekend is popular with the public, and then there is the television. There are a lot of stakeholders you have to manage.”
“Ghost races” are not a new concept for the Copa America. In the 2013 edition in San Francisco, Swedish challenger Artemis was missing from the first weeks of the regatta as they struggled to get their boat back in the water after a disastrous training accident that claimed the life of one of their crew, Andrew Simpson.
Artemis was not able to return to the water until the final stages of Robin’s tour. In Artemis’ absence, the other two contenders, Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa, had to complete the course on their own to claim the race point.
Revised timeline for Round Robins 3 and 4:
Saturday: LUNA ROSSA PRADA PIRELLI vs INEOS TEAM UK – starts at 16:00
Sunday: INEOS TEAM UK vs LUNA ROSSA PRADA PIRELLI – starts at 16:00