again the light wind to decide the only America’s Cup regatta run in the night on that mined race course that the Hauraki Gulf: on the home ground, which he knows by heart and manages with skill, the defender Team New Zealand beat the challenger Luna Rossa by 30 ”in the ninth regatta of the 36 America’s Cup, securing an advantage that brings the kiwis to the first match point: 6-3.
The moment of perfect balance in which the two teams were at 3-3 seems light years away. Now Te Rehutai and his crew of black sailors are one step away from final victory: everything will be decided on Wednesday morning (at 4 am Italian time). The second regatta of the day, race 10, was canceled: the wind dropped further, dropping below the 6.5 knots necessary to kick off the flying boats.
Not finished, but now Luna Rossa needs a miracle – or rather four – to overturn the prediction and bring the old silver jug to Italy for the first time in 170 years of history.
The wind, the only thing together with the weather that cannot be bought in the America’s Cup, rises up to 15 knots and then collapses: little, it jumps like a cricket, but enough to race. The race course C, positioned with some difficulty in reading the direction of the breeze, there is a postponement then off we go. And the usual excellent start of Luna Rossa’s two-pronged attack, Bruni-Spithill: the Italian Ac75 hooks Te Rehutai entered the box from the left, he places himself in a high position and to windward. Team New Zealand seems happy with the left, the even start, perfectly punctual on the line. The tightest regatta of the whole series begins from there: an exhausting melee, at very close range, a challenge to those who catch the right gust to not lose meters of water, a duel of turns and jibes with the excellence of world sailing committed to playing a game of tilting chess.
Upwind and downwind are exciting, with Luna Rossa sailing high to control the opponent and New Zealand confirming a speed of a few more knots and not losing ground, remaining attached to the blues tooth and nail. The turns around the buoys are also decided for a gluing: 1 “advantage for the Moon at the first gate, 8” at the second, 9 “at the third, 3” at the fourth (here a very long shiver runs through the back of the fans: the kiwis arrive on starboard tack, with right of way, but the Luna does not do a pliss, opens the gas and goes through the broken cuff). Don’t sail, heart-pounding wrestling.
The fifth decisive side. Great separation (Italians on the right and New Zealanders on the left), drum roll in sight of the intersection: the Moon in front of a glue, just 30 meters, turning into cover difficult task, the opponent too close and nobody wants to risk bumper car. Another separation. At the intersection, Bruni and Spithill turn on the nose of the kiwis, which they don’t like and to free themselves they go to the right, where they find the decisive turn of air. how to fish l’ago in the haystack: a substantial 15 degree wind shift that brings Te Rehutai to the head. Skill and luck, it takes a mix of ingredients to win this America’s Cup. Once in the lead, Team New Zealand releases all the horsepower in the engine, exploits its speed while Luna Rossa in the wind down in distress. The situation now reversed: the kiwis at the gate have an advantage of 18 “which becomes 30” on the finish line.
Bruni announces redemption
After an excellent regatta, the Italian disappointment was great. Francesco Bruni retains the will to fight: a result that we do not like, a very hard race to digest but we remain with our heads held high and continue to fight! We are fighting hard: I am very proud of the guys on our crew. We have not been able to make the most of every wind shift, we have lost this opportunity, but we have to think about the next race, we can still win. At the first aft gate we had a match race, we chose to block Team New Zealand’s way, they had not yet engaged and therefore could not jibe. From Jimmy Spithill there was a big call on the choice of the board drop, so that we could reach the nearest mark with the best angle, in that moment we made a lot of money. We had a fantastic race, with no big regrets. Now no change in our battle plan: we still have to fight and take all the opportunities that are given to us. The analysis of skipper Max Sirena bittersweet: One of the most beautiful regattas of the last 15 years of the America’s Cup! The guys were very good at starting to check, we kept them behind for four sides without ever giving up. After all we are in the final against a very strong team and I am very proud of the guys at sea and of the whole team, because today they did a space race. Obviously there is a bad taste in the mouth because we have lost, but we are still alive and tomorrow we go into the water to fight and we will give everything. Still not over.
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March 16, 2021 (change March 16, 2021 | 11:57)