'Chinks in their armour': World media reacts to Team NZ's loss to rival

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 18 Dec 2020, 10:50AM
American Magic and Team New Zealand during Race 4. Photo / Brett Phibbs
American Magic and Team New Zealand during Race 4. Photo / Brett Phibbs

'Chinks in their armour': World media reacts to Team NZ's loss to rival

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 18 Dec 2020, 10:50AM

The world media has hailed American Magic for its win over America's Cup defenders Team New Zealand after the first day of the World Series in Auckland.

INEOS Team UK caught the brunt of the analysis after their tough day where they lost to Luna Rossa and were forced to retire in their second race, while there were some nerves about the Challenger of Record who were well off the pace against the Kiwis.

Stefano Vegliani from Italian sports website OA Sport wrote that Luna Rossa's performance was not one "to be proud of" but played down the first competitive race between the Challenger of Record and the Defenders, saying it's still too early.

"Call it what you want, but it certainly does not fit a performance to be proud of," Vegliani wrote of Luna Rossa in his report of day one. "But don't worry it's not a knockout blow. The New Zealanders certainly have a super boat, but these regattas are worth as [much as] the Formula One and MotoGP tests. Many things can still change."

INEOS Team UK Britannia pulls out of racing during the third race of the America's Cup World Series. Photo / Dean Purcell

INEOS Team UK Britannia pulls out of racing during the third race of the America's Cup World Series. Photo / Dean Purcell

Vegliani also said American Magic's win over Team New Zealand in race 4 proved the Kiwis are "not unbeatable".

"In short, it is too early to let go of pessimism and make definitive predictions. Also because the last race of the day proved that the New Zealanders are not unbeatable, that even their boat is not infallible and indestructible.

"Dean Barker at the helm of American Magic left his opponents on the ground at the start (even for the Kiwis sometimes something doesn't work) and they always sailed on the right side of the race course while maintaining a good advantage."

Michele Tognozzi of Italian sailing website Farevela praised Luna Rossa co-helmsmen Jimmy Spithill and Francesco Bruni, claiming they "ridiculed" Ben Ainslie in the Italians' win over Team UK.

"Luna Rossa appeared solid in manoeuvring and prestart, where Spithill / Bruni ridiculed Ben Ainslie.

"There will be a lot of work, and reflection, for Ben Ainslie who appeared in difficulty with two DNFs due to problems with the on-board systems and in any case with a speed not at the level of the other three teams."

Tognozzi also analysed that, based on day one, the races could come down to "few but vital" tactical choices.

"The AC75 regattas will need to be perfected but it is perceived that, as soon as the boats are close, the show is not lacking and everything is resolved in always bringing the boat to the maximum and in getting the few tactical choices right.

"Few but vital, which do not allow mistakes because there is simply no time to recover them. As soon as the wind changes, performance changes radically and the choice of foil and headsail appears decisive.

"Boundaries to [need] be reviewed, with the racing fields too narrow (too rectangular) and the penalty system, not very clear to the viewer."

Meanwhile, Ed Gorman of The Times in the UK labelled the British team's day as "disastrous".

"Ainslie was in defiant mood after Britannia, his ill-starred America's Cup challenger, was left dead in the water with a broken foil canting system and in danger of running aground at the end of a disastrous first day of racing in the America's Cup World Series event off Auckland.

"Ainslie's team were thrashed in their first race by American Magic and then had to retire at the start of the second leg of their second race against the Italian Prada team."

Scuttlebutt Sailing News said the first day "couldn't have gone much worse" for Team UK.

"Entering the day with a boat struggling during foil lift-off and maneuvers, the Brits lived up to the hype when problems led to losses in boat races," the sailing website reported.

Others in the world media focussed on American Magic's win, with the Telegraph UK labelling the win over Team NZ as "impressive".

Sailing.org said American Magic "engineered a better approach to the finish to take the win".

Sail World's Richard Gladwell wrote that Team NZ showed "chinks in their armour seemingly ironclad armour" in their start to their loss to American Magic.

"Emirates Team New Zealand showed a few chinks in their seemingly ironclad armour in the prestart of their second race, entering the start box late because they couldn't get foiling and then failing to foil tack, giving an easy start win to Barker.

"Speeds down the run were fairly evenly matched, hovering between 38 and 42 knots with Emirates Team New Zealand sailing a click lower. Burling is well known for throwing in a few extra maneuvers to stay in better breeze, which he did on the first run but to no avail. Failing to stay on the foils at the bottom mark, as he attempted a complete 180 turn in a tack-rounding, handed Barker another 200m to add to his lead. This was not the deadly clinical performance from earlier in the day, while American Magic looked to be cruising."