by Chuck Lantz
Luna Rossa at the first mark, losing distance as ETNZ speeds off - America’s Cup
More photos from Chuck Lantz, showing the second half and finish of today's LVC race between Emirates Team New Zealand and Prada Luna Rossa.
After a late start resulting from Luna Rossa asking for, and being granted extra time to install a different set of rudders, today's match got underway with no surprises. ETNZ won the start and reached the first mark already enjoying a comfortable lead over Luna Rossa, a lead that steadily grew to the finish. It was the classic horizon job, with ENTZ crossing the finish line as Luna Rossa was just beginning their final downwind leg.
The large crowd of spectators at the finish was very loudly pro-New Zealand, waving and cheering as ETNZ crossed the line at nearly full speed.
With the speed of the AC72 fleet being so much higher than anyone has seen before, judging who's faster during the solo races is very difficult. But after the few actual two-boat races, it's more than clear that ETNZ is far ahead in boat speed and especially in boat handling. In just a few short months, ETNZ has mastered foil-to-foil gybes to the point where they lose very little speed in the maneuver. Even without their obviously superior speed, both up and downwind, their quick and efficient tacks and gybes alone put them in a class apart from Luna Rossa.
In a few days the newly re-launched Artemis will join the fray. They will have an extremely steep learning curve, with what is essentially a new boat, and very little time to practice before meeting ETNZ and Luna Rossa. To make matters worse, the Artemis crews have only been able to practice foiling with one of their two AC54 boats. Transferring the foil-riding knowledge they've gained in the smaller boat to the AC72 should prove interesting, to say the least.
Not nearly as close as it looks in the photo, ETNZ ahead of Luna Rossa near the bottom mark - America's Cup
ETNZ, making it look easy - America's Cup
ETNZ on an upwind leg - America's Cup
Luna Rossa crew body-language tells all we need to know. - America's Cup
Luna Rossa - America's Cup
Luna Rossa tacking - America's Cup
ETNZ flying towards the finish, with Luna Rossa far behind - America's Cup
ETNZ at the finishing mark, looking racy - America's Cup
ETNZ wins another round as the crowds onshore cheer them on - America's Cup