Prada Cup, it’s Ben Ainslie show: Ineos dominates first day

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Ben Ainslie had already had his mocking grin for days, and the first day of the Prada Cup marks a resounding comeback for the British boat, which won both races against American Magic and Luna Rossa and made an at least partly unexpected show of strength. Ineos Team UK first scrambles the Americans, who appeared to be in a performance slump and with a struggling Dean Barker. The Bruni-Spithill pair almost exceeds in aggressiveness at the start, and against the tactically perfect Ainslie-Scott firm and a Britannia as competitive as ever, comes the first Italian defeat.

HERE WE TELL YOU ALL ABOUT IT IN TODAY’S INSTALLMENT OF THE CUP NEWSPAPER

Luna Rossa appeared at least as fast, if not faster than the British in some circumstances, but for the first time less clean in the maneuvers and tactical choices at the start by the two helmsmen. Credit also goes to a Ben Ainslie who has taken over the scene of the America’s Cup and the Prada Cups after the disappointment of the World Series, tactically dominating both races and showing the competitive nastiness that has earned him five Olympic medals, which weigh like a boulder on this first day of racing. Surprising is the evolution of Britannia, which appeared very solid from a performance standpoint, while equally surprising is the debut day of American Magic, appearing behind in performance and in apparent crisis in the cockpit. In just a few weeks, the fortunes of the challengers already seem to have changed, and the Prada Cup promises to be more open than ever.

Ben Ainslie

AMERICAN MAGIC – INEOS TEAM UK

It was in the air, but a similar show of strength by the British was difficult to predict with this size. Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott scrambled Amaerican Magic by winning the first Prada Cup match with 1 minute and 20 seconds to spare. Ineos wins the start by keeping the starboard tack, but on the first windward side American Magic seems to hold. After the first tack, the British took the lead in the race and sent their lead steadily projecting thanks to slightly faster speed, with the help of American Magic, which did not seem particularly in phase. The British with the new boat setup are frightening in terms of foiling cleanliness and speed, with a Ben Ainslie with an increasingly wicked grin.

RED MOON – INEOS TEAM UK

Right of the field favored, Luna Rossa enters the start on starboard tack slightly late. After the first gybe, Spithill allowed himself to be enticed, looking for starboard tack engagement from downwind instead of defending the right, but Ben Ainslie resisted and dominated the start by tacking on the Italian bow to go across the line. Luna Rossa, however, is fast especially upwind and the race remains open. However, the killer instincts of Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott come out, closing all doors in the face of the Bruni-Spithill pair. Luna Rossa also runs into two not-so-clean laps of the buoy, with the boat falling off the foils. Ineos continues to defend the right side of the field, confirming a very lucid tactical reading. There are no real opportunities for Luna Rossa to pass, the Italian boat stays in contact until the end but the British are perfect in closing all the doors and going on to win by 32 seconds.

Mauro Giuffrè

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