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36th America's Cup Day 5: Luna Rossa's first day without a race win

by Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli 15 Mar 21:53 NZDT 10-17 March 2021
America's Cup match day 5 - Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli crossing ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand © ACE / Studio Borlenghi

After the cancellation of racing on day 4 due to lack of wind on the racecourse, the race program in Auckland between Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and Emirates Team New Zealand resumed in the 36th America's Cup presented by PRADA.

Coming from a 3-3 tie, today closed with two wins for Emirates Team New Zealand as they move to the top of the leaderboard with a 5-3 score.

Course E was the setting for both races, in a 13-knot wind setting that during the afternoon dropped down to 7-8 knots, especially at the upwind buoys.

In the first race, the New Zealand boat approached the start line and was forced to bear away in order to avoid an early start penalty, whereas Luna Rossa with a perfect time on distance started to windward of the Kiwis and controlled all of the first upwind and the second downwind leg.

At the first downwind gate Te Rehutai managed to separate and moved to the right of the course, gaining a few meters, capitalizing on this gain that turned into a 58-second lead for them at the finish line.

In the second race Luna Rossa made a good start. A few seconds after the line the Kiwi boat was forced to move to the right side of the course, which seemed to have weaker pressure. The first beat was led by Luna Rossa who rounded the upwind gate with a 16-second advantage. During the first downwind leg the New Zealanders managed to close the gap and get closer to Luna Rossa's wake, but during a gybe they fell from their foils and were not able to resume flight until after almost 3 minutes, allowing Luna Rossa to accumulate an advantage of over 4 minutes.

This lead however vanishes at the second upwind mark, when the roles were reversed. This time, due to a wind drop at the upwind mark, Luna Rossa fell from her foils during a tack and got stuck in a wind hole.

Racing resumes tomorrow with two more races starting at 4.15 pm, with a forecast of light wind conditions.

Pietro Sibello, Mainsail Trimmer:

"We lost two points today. However, we proved that we can hold our own and in the start we fought hard. They seemed to have an edge on us in these conditions, especially in the first race. In the second we had another nice start and here again we fought back. Unfortunately we made a mistake in the second upwind and fell off the foils when taking in a really light wind that just died on us, which is when they passed and took the point home. Tomorrow is another day and our intention is to go out and keep on fighting until the very end."

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