Francesco Bruni and his Luna Rossa team have proven they can win races against Team New Zealand and, after a bizarre day’s sailing yesterday, are in a position where they now have no choice but to do so.
Luna Rossa dropped both races against the Kiwi crew yesterday to fall 5-3 down on the scoreboard, with Team New Zealand moving within one day’s racing of defending the America’s Cup.
While the light and inconsistent conditions ultimately decided how the day finished, there were positives for Luna Rossa including getting the better of both starts.
But while they now must win at least one race in the next day’s racing to remain in the competition, co-helmsman Bruni said nothing changes in terms of the pressure on his crew.
“Obviously not an easy day for us,” Bruni told the Herald.
“We clearly are not happy with the results of the day but we know that we can come back and win races. We had two good opportunities; we made a couple of mistakes and we paid for it. It’s still a positive feeling and we will keep fighting until the end.
“The boys are professionals and they know you can have a bad day – we don’t have to teach them that. They know you can have a bad day then be OK the next day. The attitude is still the same: race by race and fight until the end.”
In a competition so heavily dependent on weather conditions, things can go very wrong very quickly in the America’s Cup.
Unfortunately for Luna Rossa, their bid to wrestle the Auld Mug from Team New Zealand was made more of a challenge after the changing conditions made an example of both teams in the eighth race of the best-of-13 series – Luna Rossa getting the worst of it.
Both teams came off their foils in the eighth race of the series in light and inconsistent breeze on Monday afternoon, with Team New Zealand parking up on the second leg, before Luna Rossa followed suit a leg later.
Having already lost to Team New Zealand in the seventh race of the series to fall behind 4-3 on the scoreboard earlier in the day, Luna Rossa will likely see the day’s second race as an opportunity missed after their lead of more than a kilometre evaporated when Team New Zealand got back up and foiling while the Italians were struggling to find enough pressure to get their own vessel moving.
The lead quickly vanished, and Team New Zealand went on to sail home to a 5-3 lead in the series.
“It’s never in the bag, as you saw,” Luna Rossa co-helmsman Jimmy Spithill said on the worldwide broadcast after the day’s second race.
“We did some things well. Obviously, there’s a few things we have to go back and tidy up, but we know we can win races. We’ve been in some tough situations before, and the guys will keep their heads up.
“We’ll go back, try grow stronger and come out firing tomorrow.”
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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