Team New Zealand made an ominous start to the America's Cup World Series with a crushing win over Luna Rossa today.
Ineos Team UK are in all sorts of trouble. After already being embarrassed by American Magic, who claimed a win by more than five minutes over the Brits, Ineos Team UK were forced to withdraw in their second race of the day, against Luna Rossa.
In the final race of the day American Magic made an early statement on the America's Cup stage, following up their first-up demolition of Ineos Team UK with a solid victory over the defending Team New Zealand.
Team New Zealand make big statement with crushing win against Luna Rossa in first race of World Series
text by Michael Burgess
It's only one race, but Team New Zealand made an ominous start to the America's Cup World Series with a crushing win over Luna Rossa today.
The defending syndicate led from start to finish, and the race looked over at the first mark.
Te Rehutai crossed the line a staggering 3:13 ahead of the Italians, in what was an absolute, good old-fashioned smashing.
The New Zealand crew was faster upwind, quicker downwind and better with their transitions in a result that will send shock waves through the Challenger fleet.
The boats made an even start, though Peter Burling had got over the top of Jimmy Spithill in the last period of the pre-start.
There was a big split early on – well as large as possible with the narrow boundaries – and Team New Zealand made good ground on the left-hand side of the course.
They made further gains – as the Italians struggled to stay on their foils – with plenty of positive talk on the Te Rehutai.
Team New Zealand had a 41-second lead around the top mark, and extended further downwind, reaching speeds of more than 40 knots.
Team New Zealand in the first race of the World Series against Luna Rossa. Photo / Dean Purcell
They were more than a kilometre ahead at the bottom mark and the race already seemed a complete mismatch, with the local boat more than a minute ahead (1:13).
The Italians weren't exactly slow – they hit 45 knots during the downwind leg – but couldn't make an impression on their opponents.
Team New Zealand held a 1:15 lead when they went around the top mark the second time, and were flying at 47 knots when they completed the second lap.
Nothing had changed at the bottom mark (1:17) and it was obvious that Team New Zealand have something special under the hood.
Their advantage was 1.3 kilometres as they rounded the mark for the last time (2:38), and it was a procession to the finish.
Veteran yachting broadcaster PJ Montgomery was understandably impressed during commentary on NZME's Gold AM.
"However you look at it, this is a wake-up call," said Montgomery.
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