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America's Cup: Challengers train in breeze at Cagliari

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz 20 Jan 00:44 PST 20 January 2020
INEOS Team UK - Cagliari, Sardinia - January 2020 © Lloyd Images

After several days of light winds the two Cagliari based America's Cup Challengers were sailing on Friday in fresh 20kt plus winds.

According to SardiniaSailing.it INEOS Team UK and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli there was a change in weather on Friday morning, with a fresh sailing breeze. That broke several days of Le Secche - days with a very high pressure and light winds, typical in Cagliari in January.

Now we have three days of strong south wind with a lot of waves, a source told Sail-World from Cagliari.

Both teams got in some useful practice in winds that blew in excess of 20kts before they both called it day and headed back to base.

"The wind went slowly strengthening until it exceeded twenty knots at the end of the morning," read an auto-translation of the SailingSardinia.it report. "Both boats seemed perfectly at ease in the strong wind and both the Italians and the British seemed perfectly masters of the craft, with excellent control of navigation in foiling, even when the wind exceeded the intensity of twenty knots."

The website also ran a video of INEOS Team UK sailing upwind in the conditions with no apparent issues.

However the forecast for Cagliari for the early part of this week is not good with strong winds from the Mistral predicted until Wednesday and maybe Thursday.

The British Challenger INEOS Team UK has moved from Portsmouth, UK to the Mediterranean to train in their AC75, Britannia, during the northern hemisphere winter. They will remain until after the first of the America's Cup World Series regattas, scheduled for Cagliari, Sardinia at the end of April. The team led by Sir Ben Ainslie will the head back to Portsmouth for the second America's Cup World Series which will be sailed in their home port in early June.

In a case before the Arbitration Panel for the 2021 America's Cup, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli have suggested that a wind limit of 20kts should be imposed for the Challenger Selection Series, or Prada Cup, increasing to 22kts for the America's Cup Match in Auckland.

Emirates Team New Zealand, the America's Cup Defender, prefer a wind limit of 24kts - the same as applied for the 2017 America's Cup in Bermuda. The dispute is not expected to be settled by Mediation, and the Arbitration Panel is expected to have to make a binding ruling which must be handed down by late March.

A year out from the Prada Cup, Auckland has been suffering high temperatures and light winds in the morning, with a sailable breeze coming early to mid-afternoon, vindicating the decision to start racing in the Prada Cup and America's Cups after 4pm.

Emirates Team NZ's AC75, Te Aihe last sailed in the middle of last week. In that session the AC75 was towed back to the team base at 12.30pm, hauled from the water, without having her mast unstepped. Te Aihe was then launched again after a couple of hours and sailed until 6.00pm in a beautiful seabreeze.

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