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PRADA Cup Round Robin Day 1: Improved team performance for INEOS TEAM UK

by INEOS TEAM UK 15 Jan 2021 00:44 PST 15 January - 22 February 2021
PRADA Cup Day 1: Round Robin 1 - NYYC American Magic vs. INEOS TEAM UK © C GREGORY

The challenge for the 36th America's Cup officially began today with the start of the PRADA Cup, the Challenger Selection Series. The opening day of racing saw INEOS TEAM UK win both their races in perfect conditions on the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand.

After three weeks of a relentless drive for performance gains the team were relieved to see their hard hours in the design office and boat shed rewarded with increased performance.


A last-minute call before the race saw the team switch headsails to the J3 (Jib 3) minutes from the start, with the wind increasing from 10 to 16 knots throughout the race.

The team had made the call pre-race to target the right-hand side of the course where there was better pressure under North Head. At the start INEOS TEAM UK won the right-side giving control of the racecourse, allowing the team to then to stretch their lead and win by a margin of 1 minute 20 seconds.

The matchup against American Magic came with a historical significance, recalling the first ever race for the America's Cup, with INEOS TEAM UK representing Royal Yacht Squadron Racing facing American Magic, representing the New York Yacht Club, the same two yacht clubs that competed in that first ever race around the Isle of Wight 170 years ago.


With the breeze increasing Juan Vila, Meteorologist and Performance Manager, and Rob Wilson, Sailing Team Coach, made the call to switch to the J4. A left-hand shift just before the start saw both teams start on port, with INEOS TEAM UK able to sit on top of the Italians and take control of the race.

The Italians pushed the team to sail a faultless race, with the delta at the finish line just 28 seconds.

Speaking after the wins Ben Ainslie was quick to recognise the hard work of the entire team to get BRITANNIA to this point:

"That felt a little better. We left it late but managed to find the pace when it counts in this breeze. The right-hand side of the course was stronger throughout the day. Giles did a great job calling the breeze, and the guys did a great job sailing the boat fast.

"That race was for the rest of the team back on shore, our designers, our engineers, our shore team, our boat builders, and our team from Mercedes F1 Applied Science. They have all had an epic three weeks turning this boat round.

"We still have a lot of work to do in the lighter airs and that's what we're focussed on. The forecast tomorrow looks a bit lighter. Today's a good start and hopefully we can make the most of this momentum, but we still have a long way to go in terms of getting the maximum out of the boat across all conditions."

Tomorrow, INEOS TEAM UK will race once in the second race of the day vs. Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, with lighter winds forecast.

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