World Cup USA: Day 1 – Live updates from Waitemata
By Richard Gladwell SailWorld NZ Dec 17 03:08 PDT
American Magic – World Cup America – Day 1 – Waitemata Port – December 17, 2020 – The 36th Americas Cup presented by Prada © Richard Gladwell / Sail-World.com
The race will begin in the World Cup USA at 3:00 pm New Zealand time.
This story is our constant update for today
Four races will be sailed on the opening day with races set up for the C-session – the stadium stadium – between Rangitoto Island and Orakei Wharf.
The conditions are an idea for sailing AC75 with an SSW breeze of 16-18kts which is expected to remain steady for the race.
Above the sky there is a blue sky and bright sunlight, as the fleet of spectators move into position, the competitors have not left the Viaduct Harbor.
The first race will be held at 3:00 pm between Emirates Airline New Zealand and Luna Rossa.
First race – Emirates Airline New Zealand against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli
For more than three years, the yachting world has been drooling over pictures and AC75 shots. Perhaps never before has there been so many rumors and rumors about what we can expect from the Copa America. Today’s race wasn’t likely to give us a lot of ideas about who would win the event, but it sparked a lot of interest for sailing experts and hobbyists alike as it would be the first time the public had some tangible real numbers on what the boats were capable of and we weren’t disappointed – Luna Rossa and ETNZ make sailing upwind in a range of 30 knots high at 15 knots of winds look like a pedestrian. Downwind, we saw VMG numbers 40 knots north.
For the score, ETNZ entered the starting box first, kicking off the event with some standard match-race tactics, working to get a tight position as the boats approach the line. Luna Rossa spares her side and sprints towards the right side of the track ahead of the line and when the boats are back together ETNZ has gone a few lengths up front, this is the last time Jimmy Spithill and Co saw the Kiwi boat. Burling and New Zealand advanced to 700 meters with the first lead. Luna Rosa seemed to be sailing at a slow, high pitch compared to the kiwi. By the first bottom mark they were lagging behind 1:15.
The second lap saw Luna Rossa hold on much better, winning or losing no ground to talk about, but on the third lap ETNZ is knocked out again and thanks to a failed intervention near the final mark by Luna Rossa, she won near three minutes.
Race 2 – American Magic vs Ineos Team UK
Ineos ran into hydraulic issues right before they started but got away with it cleanly. Dean Parker and his crew, aboard the American Magic, looked good at home on Hauraki Bay, sailing away from Eneos to lead 50 seconds into the first overpass mark.
The second race’s breeze seemed a bit lower than the previous heat, even the American Magic didn’t reach the same numbers as the boats in the previous race, sailing about three decades slower than ETNZ and Luna Rossa at first blow to the wind.
Ineos’ troubles came head again in the first windward direction, giving the spectators – and sailors – their first fears of the event. Communications on the British boat suggested that they had a problem controlling the rudder which resulted in a slight pop during their first move. Slipping off the foil allowed American Magic to sail 1,800 meters by the time they turned at the first mark below.
With the next high mark, the average breeze was 17 knots, gusty 21. These conditions created a dramatic distant bear and a lot of whitewater as they accelerated far to 2,400 meters and sped toward the trough at 37 knots.
Both teams are looking to sail the boat much higher than those in the previous race, as the windward tip of the foil often scratches the water surface and daylight beneath their hull far more than the likes of ETNZ.
The Ineos seemed to have struggled with control issues throughout the race, but they looked powerful and weren’t shy when faced with it in the groove. Ben Ansley and his crew were finishing their first outing more than 3,500 meters behind Dean Parker’s American Magic, and they got their DNF out.
Third race – Eneos against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli
Jimmy Spethyl was up to his old tricks in the pre-start against Ineos, getting close and personal and scoring a double kick on Ben Ainsley, forcing them out of the competition and winning a penalty. The result was that Spethiel and his assistant Francesco Bruni led Luna Rossa around the first mark 1:09 in the lead.
The breeze was a little more in this race, now averaging 16 knots but speeding up to 24 knots at the Weather Beacon at Bean Rock which is two-thirds of the distance from the tempo at Racetrack C.
Ineos continued implementing a second DNF for the day, this time thanks to the onboard control system shutdown. There was some panic on board the British boat, who was not able to obtain the windward foil to stabilize the boat or move away from the oncoming fleet of spectators.
Meanwhile, Luna Rossa sailed down the clean wind and took a win by the race committee. They have chosen to stay outside and sail again from the three laps allotted to them – to make the most of the luxury of having some clear water and tagging to do some practice.
Fourth race – Emirates New Zealand vs American Magic
The Emirates Airline team in New Zealand showed some holes in their seemingly stiff armor in the previous round of their second race, entering the starting square late because they couldn’t get frustrated and then failing to thwart the course, giving Parker an easy start.
There was a lot of conversations on board about their systems that seemed to not be working properly; Including Traveler and Jeep, which left Burling struggling to get the boat in the groove.
Some of Parker’s traditional match-racing tactics unfolded in the first blow, and he seemed content to sit with his boat between Burling and the top mark while the younger captain slowly regained some of the lead it initially recognized. Parker has been obsessed with the wheel his entire life when he drove the Patriot away from his old team by about 15 seconds.
Speeds were fairly equal, hovering between 38 and 42 knots as the Emirates team sailed New Zealand with a single click. Burling is known for throwing in some extra maneuvers to stay in a better breeze, which he did in the first round but to no avail. After failing to stay on the chips at the bottom mark, as he tried to turn a full 180 in a rounding round, Parker gave another 200 meters to add to his lead. This was not the fatal clinical performance that happened earlier in the day, as American Magic appeared to be taking off.
A second headwind saw the ETNZ stabilize and finally position its arm correctly, pulling the deficit at the top mark to 26 seconds and tearing the turn at 43 knots. ETNZ followed a simpler strategy, which was to sail at low speed, pull five seconds back on the crew from the New York Yacht Club, split the courses and have the opportunity to sail in a different breeze as the two boats set off to the wind.
The first duel in the regatta yielded some good wins for the Kiwi, pulling 30-40 meters off their rivals every time they crossed the tracks. If anyone thought that there would be no match races at the event, they were proven wrong. The landing speed saw Burling jump right at the top mark, sneak around the mark inside American Magic and score a penalty kick to boot.
As if we weren’t seeing enough swinging momentum in this race, a difficult time-out put the Americans back in the final round while the Emirates Airline team in New Zealand headed towards the seemingly favorable lower right corner of the racetrack.
This was not the case for the New Zealanders as American Magic crossed the streak 12 seconds ago.
Take points home from today:
Mistakes on these boats are costly.
– AC75s are all that they have been cracked up to be.
We’re ahead of us for a very exciting few months of yachting – and we can even expect a little match racing.
Points for the day and the regatta are as follows:
American Magic: 2
Emirates Airline New Zealand Team: 1
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli: 1
Ineos UK Team: 0