Please select your home edition
Edition
Barton Marine 2019 728x90

INEOS TEAM UK win the Prada Cup Round Robins

by PRADA Cup 22 Jan 23:57 PST 15 January - 22 February 2021
PRADA Cup Round Robin 3 - Jim Ratcliffe joins the INEOS TEAM UK cew aboard BRITANNIA © COR36 / Studio Borlenghi

INEOS TEAM UK stays unbeaten after what was probably the closest race seen so far on the AC75s, with 9 lead changes throughout the nail biting race against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli.

With that result, Sir Ben Ainslie's team won their the fifth race in a row in the Round Robins. Upon finishing the 'ghost race' start successfully it took them to 6 points, enough to qualify directly to the PRADA Cup final.

The Italian Challenger of Record fought until the last jibe of the last leg of a race that was the perfect definition of match race which saw the top speeds exceeding the 50 knot mark for the first time in racing.

INEOS TEAM UK win RR3 Race 2 against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli

  • RR3 - Race 2
  • Start: 1720
  • Port: ITA
  • Stbd: GBR
  • Course: C
  • Axis: 227
  • Length: 1.9nm
  • Current: 0.2 knots @ 316
  • Wind: 18-22 knots / 240 degrees
  • Winner: INEOS TEAM UK +33 seconds
If the tension surrounding this Italian/British shoot out for the right to jump straight to the PRADA Cup final wasn't enough, the weather was about to throw plenty of more stress into the mix.

As the start time arrived, the breeze was shifting back and forth across the race course, preventing the race committee from setting a fair course.

As a series of delays followed, pushing the start back by almost an hour, news then came that INEOS TEAM UK needed to play their 'delay card' of 15mins as they struggled to repair a problem with the cunningham, one of the key controls for the mainsail.

By the time the race did start at 1720 the breeze was up towards 20 knots at times and still clearly very shifty. In the pre-start and with just a few seconds to go there were the first indications that this would be a closely fought race.

As they crossed the line, both were at the pin end, INEOS TEAM UK to windward, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli to leeward.

As they headed out towards the left hand side of the course INEOS were first to tack away. Luna Rossa followed shortly afterwards and when the pair came back together on the right hand side of the course they were still neck and neck. Luna Rossa tacked underneath, but were slow to come out of the tack. From here, the close battle continued to the first gate where INEOS rounded just 2 seconds ahead of Luna Rossa.

Drag racing down Leg 2 both were on port tack with Luna Rossa slightly lower and faster. But when they came back together, the Italians had lost out as the British crossed ahead.

At Gate 2 the British lead had increased to 9 seconds as they rounded the left hand mark. Luna Rossa took the right.

The next time they came back together Luna Rossa had taken the lead, the Italians appeared to be in phase with the shifts and were capitalising on it, pulling out more distance. By Gate 3 their lead was 19sec.

But there was plenty more left in this match.

Once again, the pair took opposite marks as they headed down leg 4.

When they came back together this time BRITANNIA had taken distance out of their opponents and by Gate 4 the gap was down to 10sec.

As both boats went around the right hand mark, Luna Rossa headed out to the right while INEOS TEAM UK pulled off a more tricky tack around the mark to split from Luna Rossa who saw the move and tacked to cover.

Both now on starboard, when the British team came back they were now just a boat length apart as INEOS TEAM UK passed just behind them.

From there, Sir Ben Ainslie pushed out to the right, they needed the breeze to swing in their favour to capitalise on their move to the right of the course. Next time that they came back together, INEOS TEAM UK were ahead as they crossed the bow of the Italians on starboard. The tables had turned yet again.

From here, just over one leg lay between the British quest to jump to the final and the Italian hopes to keep their fast track to the Prada Cup alive. By the top mark for the last time, Gate 5 there was just one second between the pair as they headed down the final downwind leg.

Once again, they took opposite marks and they came back together INEOS TEAM UK were on starboard, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli on port, the British were ahead by no more than a second as both tacticians talked of the left hand side being the better side.

For the next cross into the finish, INEOS TEAM UK were on port but could lay the finish, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli couldn't and tried to get INEOS TEAM UK on a port starboard. As they approached the stern of the British boat, Luna Rossa called a protest as they claimed they had to avoid the give way boat. The umpires didn't agree. The Italians had played their last card, it hadn't worked and Sir Ben Ainslie cut the finish line 33 seconds ahead.

Quotes from the Race Course

SIR BEN AINSLIE - INEOS TEAM UK Team Principal and Skipper
"That race was one for the fans. Pretty awesome race, great to take part in. Lots of lead changes, neck at neck all the way to the line, credit to the Luna Rossa guys for pushing hard. We had few issues leading into the pre-start as we were missing one of the key settings. The guys did an awesome job getting us around the track in one piece and getting the win."

JIMMY SPITHILL - Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - Helmsman
"When we lodged the protest the both of us were doing 45 knots, we had to avoid BRITANNIA so it was a bit of a surprise that they thought it wasn't close enough. At the top we didn't pull off a couple of tacks as we should have, but it was really shifty. A continuous up and down the entire the racetrack and that's why we saw so many lead changes. It was a good effort from the guys on board, and congratulations to INEOS TEAM UK. We didn't get the result we wanted but we certainly learnt a lot from that one."

In recognition of being top round robin qualifier, INEOS TEAM UK were presented a bottle of G.H. Mumm and have been awarded with the PRADA Christmas Race trophy - which was not assigned in December as races were not held due to the lack of wind.

INEOS TEAM UK now have three full weeks to develop their boat and getting ready for the next race, whereas Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli have only 6 days before to fine tuning their AC75 before the next race against American Magic who are in a race against time to repair their boat and get back to the startline. The Semi-final - the first knockout phase of the PRADA Cup - starts on Friday 29 January and by then the pressure ramps up dramatically.

No races will be held tomorrow.

Related Articles

Burling and Tuke reflect on a challenging year
Kiwi duo look back on a challenging year - the 49er Medal race; what happened at 3-3 in AC36 Peter Burling and Blair Tuke look back on a challenging year - the 49er Medal race; what happened at 3-3 in the America's Cup; starting their SailGP team; and progress with their Live Ocean conservation projects Posted on 29 Nov
America's Cup: Facilities move to Cork docklands
Irish media are reporting that America's Cup bases are relocating to use publicly owned land at Tivo Irish media are reporting that America's Cup bases are relocating to use publicly owned land at Tivoli Docks, rather than the initial proposal for upgrading a private dockyard in Cobh. Posted on 24 Nov
America's Cup: RNZYS clarifies SGM situation
RNZYS Commodore Aaron Young issues statement around America's Cup venue SGM request Aaron Young, Commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has issued a statement "to clarify the situation in respect to a member petition for an SGM". The statement text was the basis of an earlier report in Sail-World. Posted on 23 Nov
America's Cup: Blunt talk on NZ Defence Venue
"Need to consider offshore venues. The consequences of not doing so are potentially dire – no Cup" Two motions will be put to the Special General Meeting at Royal NZ Yacht Squadron, whose General Committee, have made the blunt statement "There needs to be a reality check in respect to a New Zealand based AC37 Match...." Posted on 22 Nov
America's Cup: US team continues design work
36th America's Cup challenger American Magic is proceeding with design works and rule analysis American Magic, the U.S. Challenger for the 36th America's Cup [AC36] and a prospective Challenger for the 37th, was pleased to receive the AC37 Protocol and updated AC75 Class Rule Posted on 19 Nov
Dalton, Ainslie and Bernasconi on new AC75 rule
Grant Dalton, Ben Ainslie and Dan Bernasconi discuss the new AC75 Class Rule The third generation of the AC75 foiling monohull will be less complex, lighter, with a little less righting moment, and will foil earlier, than those seen in Auckland in AC36 and the Prada Cup. And the bikes might be back. Posted on 19 Nov
America's Cup: Special General Meeting on Venue
RNZYS Commodore confirms receipt of a request to hold a Special General Meeting on Cup Venue Royal New Zealand Yacht has confirmed receipt of a request to hold a Special General Meeting to consider amending the club rules requiring "…that the America's Cup shall always be defended in the waters adjacent to the City of Auckland" Posted on 19 Nov
America's Cup broadcast wins prestigious award
36th America's Cup presented by Prada wins the ‘Most Successful sports event broadcast' The TV broadcast of the 36th America's Cup presented by Prada has won the ‘Most Successful sports event broadcast' award at the prestigious Sports Business Awards 2021 Posted on 19 Nov
37th America's Cup Protocol announced
With details of AC40 class and mandatory hydrogen powered chase boats The Protocol of the 37th America's Cup was released today by the Defender, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Emirates Team New Zealand and the Challenger of Record - Royal Yacht Squadron Ltd and their representative team INEOS Britannia. Posted on 16 Nov
America's Cup: AC75 shortened the AC67.5
The Protocol and revised class rule governing the 37th America's Cup have just been released. The keypoints include reducing the weight of the boat by 900kgs, enable earlier foiling and reduce costs. A major change is in the prohibition of team reconnaissance programs - with all teams having to fund a centralised program. Posted on 16 Nov
Selden 2020 - FOOTERRooster 2020 - Impact BA - FOOTERDoyle Sails 2020 - Redefining Boundaries 728x90 BOTTOM