In the end, the defender got knocked out. Just 4 days before the start of the Prada Cup, un expected event occurred in Auckland. As expected, the teams are greatly raising the level of training, pushing their AC 75 yachts even in the strong breeze, in search of limits. For Team New Zealand, these are the last occasions to sail close to the other challengers, given that with the start of the Prada Cup the defender will be just watching and it is unlikely that the other challengers will have time for other joint training with the Kiwis. During a practice race against Team UK, in a wind of over 18 knots, Team New Zealand experienced a capsize.
The yacht lost control during a gybe in a high-speed downwind blast with the Brits, with the Kiwi boat Te Rehutai nose-diving and twisting on to its side. The incident can be probably attributed to a lack of coordination between the helmsman and the foil attendant. There were no reported injuries and the crew quickly righted the boat without problems.
AC 75 yachts are equipped with a special buoyancy reserve that avoids a 180-degree capsize. Furthermore, the foils are specially designed for quick righting operations. The incident could happen again to anyone on days of strong wind.
In the meantime, the New Zealand media report a newfound “friendship” between Ineos and Team New Zealand. The two teams would have intensified relations and communication, and the Brits are already spoken of as a challenge of record in case of success of the kiwis in the defense of the Cup. They look like the usual skirmishes from the America’s Cup, with the relationship between the New Zealanders and Luna Rossa that seems to have been compromised for some time. The New Zealanders would probably find it very convenient to have the Brits competitive during the Prada Cup, an additional problem for both Americans and Italians. Can we assume that some useful information has come from the kiwis for Ineos in order to boost the performance of the British AC 75? Perhaps it is just a matter of rumours, also because it is plausible that Ben Ainslie and his team have the technical and financial resources to recover on their own. In this regard, rumours coming from the Hauraki Gulf speak of the English AC 75 as one of the fastest yachts of the competition. To find out if this is true, just wait four more days.
In the meantime, Giornale della Vela is getting ready. In fact, Il Giornale della Coppa will also return with the regattas, which for this first phase of the Prada Cup will go live every day after the regattas at 1pm on our Youtube and Facebook channels, with a first preview episode aired on 14 January. As always, there will be many guests: sailors, designers, America’s Cup fans, together with our “hosts” Bacci Del Buono and Mauro Giuffrè, and there will be contributions from New Zealand. As always, we will answer questions from the public and all curiosities.
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