All you need to know ahead of day three of the America’s Cup match between Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa.
The 36th America’s Cup remains on a knife edge as testing conditions and the entry into the starting box continue to make a lottery of the battle for the Auld Mug.
Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa are deadlocked at 2-2 in the first-to-seven series following a superb fightback from the Kiwi boat in the second race off Waiheke Island yesterday.
Today’s racing will begin from 4.15pm on race course A, offshore from Takapuna in Auckland’s North Shore.
More wind near the 6.5kn lower limit is predicted for Saturday, with race 5 set to start at 4.15pm and race 6 an hour later.
The Kiwi boat capitalised on an early splashdown by the Italian challenger to level the score with an emphatic 63-second victory in Friday’s second race after being outsailed in light breeze in the first race.
In a day of light and inconsistent conditions, the performances followed suit on Friday, particularly Luna Rossa who sailed a near-flawless race in the opening contest on the day, before an error on the second leg of race two saw Team New Zealand cruise to victory by a large margin.
Things were relatively interesting down the first leg of the second race as the boats remained close and hope remained for a possible pass or two downwind. But it became an exercise rather than a high-pressure race when a bad Luna Rossa gybe saw them drop right off the pace as they had an issue with their foils.
While Luna Rossa dropped off the pace, Team New Zealand sailed a strong race, showing their pace and making clean manoeuvres up and down the course, eventually winning by 63 seconds.
“That was a really good race for us,” Team New Zealand flight controller Blair Tuke said after the win.
“The boat’s going really well and we managed to extend nicely.”
AUT Sailing Professor Mark Orams said the win would be a big relief to Team New Zealand and their supporters.
“This is a thrashing…800 metres in front,” said Orams. “It looked as though they [Team NZ] were getting the boat into the groove.
“We also learned that Te Rehutai is fast, in these light winds, this is something we did not know before today. The numbers coming off her suggest a speed advantage over LR in these under 10 knots of wind speed conditions.
“That’s a surprise because almost everyone picked LR to be the faster boat in the very light winds. However even if you are faster these narrow race tracks mean that it is extremely difficult to get past the boat in front.
“If we track back over the races from the Prada Cup semifinals, finals and now these first four races of the AC, in 16 out of 17 races, the boat leading off the start wins.”
It was a different story earlier in the afternoon, when Luna Rossa claimed a 37-second win for a short-lived lead in the series.
Despite some onboard issues before racing that appeared to threaten Luna Rossa’s day, they sailed a near-faultless race to further show they are well and truly capable of winning this competition.
The teams both got out of the starting gate well, but Luna Rossa got the better of the first manoeuvre, and executed well, sailing in the face of Team New Zealand to build a handy lead on the first leg.
The defender needed to find something, and opted to split the course around the first gate. Initially, it looked as though it had been a good move, as Team New Zealand ate into the Luna Rossa lead on the second leg.
However, an excellent third leg from the Italians saw them more than double their lead through the halfway point in the race, which they extended further late in the race to claim a clean and clear win.
The America’s Cup match is a best-of-13 series, with the winner being crowned champions and awarded the Auld Mug. The racing window for each race day will be around 4pm-6pm, with the first race of each day scheduled for 4.15pm.
Mar 13: Race 5 and 6
Mar 14: Race 7 and 8
Mar 15: Race 9 and 10*
Mar 16: Race 11* and 12*
Mar 17: Race 13*
* If needed
Team New Zealand – $1.60
Luna Rossa – $2.20
Overall winner of the America’s Cup:
Team New Zealand – $1.50
Luna Rossa – $2.45
How to watch and stream:
The Herald will have live updates on nzherald.co.nz/sport with AUT’s sailing professor Mark Orams, while you can listen to live commentary on Newstalk ZB, Gold AM and iHeartRadio.
America’s Cup coverage is free-to-air on TVNZ. You can also stream the action live or on-demand at tvnz.co.nz or on the America’s Cup YouTube channel.
Heading into the Cup racing?
• Give yourself plenty of time and think about catching a ferry, train or bus to watch the cup.
• Make sure your AT HOP card is in your pocket. It’s the best way to ride.
• Don’t forget to scan QR codes with the NZ COVID Tracer app when on public transport and entering the America’s Cup village.
• For more ways to enjoy race day, visit at.govt.nz/americascup.
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