DrAmerica’s Cup goes to the next round. After the New Zealanders won the ninth round of the 36th edition off Auckland with a superb performance, the second round of the day was canceled due to weak winds. This tenth race was the first in which the New Zealanders could have secured an all-out victory.
Business reporter for South Asia / Pacific based in Singapore.
Day five of the race before Oakland brought what the sailing world expected from the Copa America: gripping duels where teams gave each other nothing. In winds of between eight and eleven knots, the newly constructed AC75 performed ballet before starting at 46 knots (85 kilometers per hour). The run was conducted under a cloudy sky on track C, which is a path with strong winds and currents.
In the end, one mistake by Luna Rossa, who the New Zealanders had been waiting for, clinched the first race of the day. With this, the Italians opened the door for the New Zealanders to successfully defend the oldest International Sports Cup, which they brought back to Auckland in 2017, after their four victories in a row.
“it was really fun”
After the initial postponement of the start of the match on Tuesday afternoon, New Zealand captain Peter Burling got a better start on the leeward side, as he drove at a higher speed towards the upper limit of the virtual tournament and, after the turn, fell over Luna Rossa. The fine tuning of the last few days seems to have worked: the kiwis were often faster passing and for the first time they sailed roughly the same height as their opponents.
The two flying boats reach the windward buoy practically at the same time, but then the kiwi throws the throttle: they choose the right side of the path and advance 40 meters. In the Windbreaker Box, experienced match racing expert Francesco Bruni digs deep into his tricks bag and takes a T-Riotai tied atop the box to be the first to make the round. The Italians are now eight seconds ahead – the blink of an eye, but important.
However, under these weather conditions, they could only increase their advance to the leeward buoy by one second. After the second spacing course, hunter and stalker are practically equal. But then, of all people, Italian starter captain Jimmy Spethyl, who has been praised as a cool tactician, lets New Zealanders drive to the right without being covered, as in all past intersections of the boat racing series – his first big mistake in Eight races so far.
The Kiwi picks up the better side of the tournament, spinning the barrel 18 seconds before Luna Rossa and winning by 30 seconds at home. “It was really fun to finally sail on Track C today,” said Burling, who for the first time seemed so relaxed, about sailing “the playground” of his home area as soon as he crossed the finish line. Bruni, in charge of the mood aboard Luna Rossa, did not want to leave himself: “It hurts. But of course, keep your head on.” Then he added, “We won the races and we can still do it.”
However, to do so they have to win the first race on Wednesday. The cup for Kiwi has yet to be won, even if more and more people in New Zealand seem to see it differently. Giving herself an outward look, Luna Rossa has proven to be at least equal in the nine races so far, if not superior to the light, wind shift. She lost two crucial races late in the afternoon on Monday and Tuesday due to her unnecessary mistakes – although Spithill is the most experienced match contestant with his participation in four American Cups.
But Berling is now swimming in the wave of enthusiasm in his homeland. He knows he has four more runs left to take home the overall win. And with six World Championship titles and two Olympic medals, along with Tuke Blair, standing next to him in Te Rehutai, he has often proven that he can even turn a hopeless situation into a victory. But on a Wednesday afternoon in New Zealand, the starting position for him and his team wouldn’t be hopeless in any way.
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