He is laughing a little less Ben Ainslie after the first day of Prada Cup Final races, because Luna Rossa, at least for the moment, has wiped his mocking grin off his face. The series is very long and nothing is decided, anything can happen and Ineos proved to have a thousand lives, but if there was a good way to start the series it was to win two races. And winning one in light winds and the second in air that rose even up to 20 knots is great news for the Italian boat. Luna Rossa wins and convinces. Fast, more than the British, but above all also very much in phase tactically on the race course. Francesco Bruni, James Spithill and Pietro Sibello deliver a day that borders on perfection.
It is hard to find an error to blame on the Italian cockpit, which is divided between seeking pressure on the field and soft coverage on the opponent. It could not have started better than this, so many pieces of Luna Rossa’s puzzle seem to have fallen into place and certainly now the series in this final has a different story than the eve’s predictions that gave Ineos as the favorite. Nothing is decided, Ben Ainslie will do anything to get back into the game but the blow he received on the first day certainly hurt him.
Light wind at the start, bordering on raceable. Luna Rossa opts to do only one gybe on the right edge of the starting box. The British come in starboard tack, gybe and then decide to tack to approach the line, because Luna Rossa with starboard tack closes off their ability to gybe, but they fall off the foils. Luna Rossa thus dominates the start showing once again excellent maneuverability. The British show great difficulty in maneuvering, even taking two penalties for failing to tack in time before the bounderies.
Despite the significant gap, the Italian cockpit applies soft marking even at a distance, still trying to remain well positioned with respect to the opponent without allowing too much lateral separation. The race glides smoothly for Luna Rossa, always in control even with the wind increasing to 12-14 knots
DETACHMENTS AT THE GATES:
FIRST BOA 1 minute 20 seconds
SECOND BOA: 1 minute 36 seconds
THIRD BOA: 1 minute 54 seconds
FOURTH BOA: 1 minute 57 seconds
FIFTH BOA: 2 minutes and 3 seconds
ARRIVAL: 1 minute 52 seconds.
Even start but with Ben Ainslie very aggressive succeeding in attacking Luna Rossa from downwind. Bruni and Spithill defended well and managed to start upwind. Still good speeds for Luna Rossa despite the fact that the wind had increased to 15-20 knots. At the first upwind crossing Luna Rossa passes and maintains a small margin until the first gate. Aft careful Italian cockpit not to let Ineos get away, always looking for good positioning in control. Softer marking in the second upwind, with Luna Rossa seeming to seek a little more wind pressure than tight control over Ineos. Sibello, however, seems to be having a great day and Luna is always in phase with the wind. The lead remains small, but the Italian boat looks solid in terms of performance and also tactically. The second stern is uneventful, albeit with Ben Ainslie always in contact. The last upwind seems to start with a scare, Luna Rossa chooses the left gate and leaves a big split to Ineos, but at the crossing the Italian boat is right, which then immediately goes into cover. Ineos is still looking for the split in the stern, but Luna Rossa remains surgical in the broadside and does not concede much of a chance and ends the debut day with a double win.
FIRST BOA: 11 seconds
SECOND BOA: 17 seconds
THIRD BOA: 19 seconds
FOURTH BOA: 18 seconds
FIFTH BOA: 26 seconds
ARRIVAL: 26 seconds