It’s back on the water in Vilanova for the America’s Cup Preliminary Regattas after the first two completed races affected by light winds. Yesterday evening the “case” of Luna Rossa’s start in Race 1, first judged irregular in the water, then put back on the leaderboard after a protest by the Italian team which pointed out that there had been no communication of the irregular start by the Race Committee.
The Italian crew returns to the water to make a comeback in the rankings, and the curiosity is also to more realistically assess the forces on the field after a first day that gave little on the technical values front.
Race 3 Preliminary Regattas
The wind is finally increasing on the Vilanova race course, with steady 8 knots that should finally allow for more regular racing.
Stable foiling for all AC 40s in the pre-start, with teams immediately entering the leeward zone at the line than they did on the first day. Smooth start with New Zealand choosing the right side of the line and Luna Rossa going left. American Magic comes out in the middle of the fleet and takes the lead mid-first windward mark, with fairly small gaps between the boats. So reduced that in the end it is New Zealand that takes the lead at the windward gate, with Luna Rossa fourth.
Team New Zealand remains in the lead throughout the stern, with American Magic as the closest boat to threaten the Kiwis. Second windward leg in control for Burling and co. defending the right side of the course and turning the windward gate still in the lead, continuing in control in the second stern, with Luna Rossa battling for third place with Alinghi Red Bull Racing.
Solo by Team New Zealand, which goes on to comfortably win Race 3 of these Vilanova preliminaries, followed by American Magic and a Luna Rossa finishing third in a comeback 57 seconds behind the Kiwis. Fourth Alinghi, fifth the French si Orient Express, last Ineos Britannia in great difficulty.
Race 4 Preliminary Regattas
Constant wind even in race 4, with peaks at 10 knots. Luna Rossa still chooses the left side of the line with good timing on the start and free from waste. American Magic sails to the left with Luna Rossa and overtakes her on the first tack taking the lead in the race, with Alinghi and Emirates Team New Zealand going to the right. American Magic first at the windward gate followed closely by Alinghi and Luna Rossa, with Team New Zealand losing ground. Solid American leadership in the first stern as well, with Alinghi and Luna Rossa vying for second place, more detached the others with Ineos Britannia still in great difficulty.
The music does not change in the second windward leg, and the following stern, with Luna Rossa continuing to contend with Alinghi for second place, out of the picture momentarily for the Team New Zealand podium. At the start of the last stern, Luna Rossa is 8 seconds behind Alinghi, with American Magic now uncatchable going on to win comfortably. Luna Rossa still third behind a rampant Alinghi Red Bull Racing second. Fourth Team New Zealand, fifth Orient Express, still last Ineos Britannia.
For Luna Rossa, entry into the finals, reserved only for the top two in the rankings, becomes almost impossible.
Race 5 Preliminary Regattas
Wind slightly decreasing, with AC 40 moving from Flake 2 to 1. Problems for Luna Rossa in the pre-start, taking a penalty for leaving the race box, probably due to an audio problem in communication between the two helmsmen. Not starting due to a technical problem Alinghi, race immediately uphill for Luna with the burden of the penalty. Team New Zealand immediately took the lead and dictated the pace, with the rest of the group compact.
Surprise Orient Express, momentarily second in this first windward leg and in the running for a place in the finals thanks in part to victory in race 1. Luna Rossa turns fourth through the first gate, making a slight comeback. Clamorous fall from the foils of the New Zealanders in the first stern who lose the lead after a gybe. American Magic goes into the lead followed again by Orient Express and Luna Rossa, which takes advantage of the Kiwis’ defection and tries to undermine the French. Decisive comeback by the Italian crew in the second stern that overtook Orient Express and tried to put pressure on American Magic. However, Luna Rossa mishandles a tack at the end of the third windward leg, failing to maintain cover on Orient Express, which retakes provisional second position, with the Americans again securely in the lead.
Luna Rossa now also has to watch its back against the return of Team New Zealand, which at the end of the last upwind manages to pass by taking advantage of the struggle between the Italian and French crews. American Magic goes on to comfortably win the regatta, while it is a tussle for the podium. Team New Zealand completes the comeback by going on to take second place and a spot in the finals against the Americans. Luna Rossa finished the race in fifth place behind Orient Express and Ineos after a disastrous foil drop on the last gybe. Fourth overall ranking. For the Italian crew
Preliminary Regattas – American Magic – Team New Zealand Final.
Kiwis immediately fall off the foils in the pre-start, followed shortly after by American magic, the unexciting scenario of the displacement race reappears. The Race Committee wisely halts the race and waits for an evolution of the weather conditions, which do not improve. This concludes these first Preliminary Regattas: American Magic is awarded, in light of the ranking in the fleet races, the first event of the America’s Cup 2023-2024. Credit to the American crew led by Paul Goodison and Tom Slingsby, objectively the most consistent crew seen on the water in the fleet races, even more so than the Kiwis, who were not exempt from a few blunders. Second place for Team New Zealand, third for the surprising French of Orient Express Team France, the last to receive the AC 40 but still competitive. They are followed by Luna Rossa, Alinghi Red Bull Racing and Ineos Britannia in the final ranking of the event.
Preliminary Regattas – The Moon Doesn’t Shine
Not a brilliant weekend for Luna Rossa, flawed at the start and not surgical at key moments as in the turn in race 5 that could have been worth a second position and instead caused a double overtake in favor of Orient Express and Team New Zealand. Max Sirena has made it clear in public statements that the Preliminary Regattas for the Italian team are not a focus and the most important thing is to concentrate on the future AC 75. However, the fact remains that no one likes to lose, and these regattas still serve as a measure of the quality of the various crews and their dynamics. It’s back on the water Nov. 29 to Dec. 2 in Jeddah, again with the AC 40s, with hopes of seeing a Luna Rossa fighting for the podium.
Monday 6 p.m. Cup Journal returns
With the first official races, the most-watched web format of the last edition of the America’s Cup, The Cup Newspaper, also returns to comment on everything that happened at Vilanova and uncover the secrets of the various teams. The appointment is for Monday, 18 at 6 p.m., live on the Sailing Newspaper Youtube channel.
Under the conduction of our Mauro Giuffrè , and with the participation of the Deputy Editor of the Journal of Sailing Eugenio Ruocco, the first guests of our talk will be: Francis Bertone from the DryLaps Team, tactician of Ker 46 Lisa R and European Waszp 2022 Champion; Lamberto Cesari, sailor and racer with extensive experience among Formula 18 (on Vittorio Bissaro’s bow), Class A and more; Luca Bassani, modern boating guru, visionary founder of the Wally brand, sailor and racer.