'Torturous day': How world media reacted to America's Cup drama

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 20 Dec 2020, 11:01AM
Emirates Team New Zealand crew celebrate beating Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli in rac 3 on day three of the ACWS America's Cup World Series Christmas Regatta. Photo / Michael Craig.
Emirates Team New Zealand crew celebrate beating Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli in rac 3 on day three of the ACWS America's Cup World Series Christmas Regatta. Photo / Michael Craig.

'Torturous day': How world media reacted to America's Cup drama

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 20 Dec 2020, 11:01AM

Team New Zealand clinched the America's Cup World Series yesterday, but it was far from straightforward.

On a tricky day, with light, fluky winds, they battled arch rivals American Magic, before winning by a significant margin, then banked a nail-biting victory over Luna Rossa.

They were trailing in both races before coming back, with a crazy contest against the Italians - as both boats were submerged off their foils for a prolonged period, at one point crawling at six knots.

Here's how the world media reacted to day three of the America's Cup World Series.

'Torturous day on the water'

The UK Telegraph described Sir Ben Ainslie's experience as another torturous day on the water.

"They had looked to have turned a corner on Friday, showing reasonable boat speed and staying up on their foils for the most part.

"But they are really struggling with their manoeuvres in light airs, and Saturday's patchy conditions - 7-13 knots - did not suit them at all.

"After a late shift of the racecourse further up the Rangitoto Channel to get the best of what breeze there was, Ineos Team UK lost both their races, to American Magic and Luna Rossa, by heavy margins, their boat Britannia frequently falling off its foils during manoeuvres. They are now six defeats out of six."

"It was a tough day," Ainslie admitted. "We've been talking for a while about the lighter airs where we're struggling. There's a lot to look at in terms of where we're going wrong. The other three teams are certainly doing a better job than we are. So we've got to figure that out and figure that out pretty quickly. All the boats stopped [ie fell off their foils], but some more than others."

"Ineos Team UK have been extremely aggressive with their design, but there is no time now to make radical alterations to the boat ahead of the Prada Cup challenger series which starts on January 15.

"Making a serious hull modification is probably unlikely in terms of the amount of time it would take us off the water," Ainslie admitted. "As we've seen, every hour on the water at the moment we're making huge gains. So I think it's unlikely that we will make any hull modifications. But we've certainly got to look at all the other areas where we can make gains. We're struggling down the range in particular, at the slower boat speeds."

Regatta full of surprises

It has been a regatta of surprises, wrote Richard Gladwell for Sail-World.com

"Each of the three days has tested a different quality of the class and those who sail it.

"Thursday, the first day of the regatta was all about speed.

"Friday, the second day was all about rapid-fire match racing skills and strategy.

"Today (Saturday) was all about flight control. Those who stayed aloft for the longest prevailed over those who didn't."

'Take the Brits home'

There's the faintest hope they can improve further but the first casualty in the America's Cup still seems certain to be Britannia, the AC75 of Ineos Team UK, writes Paul Lewis.

"There is a glimmer of hope modifications and more time on the water will help further — but you still get the feeling they might just as well load up Eckford's Otter with a few cases of beer and do a mass whakapohane at Team NZ before heading off to friendlier waters.

"Maybe this analysis is too harsh — but they are clearly the slowest boat."

'We've got time'

"The important thing is the Cup isn't raced tomorrow," Spithill said of Team New Zealand's current advantages.

"As challengers, we've got time. The thing we have is that we get to race collectively together, and the defender doesn't. What we've already seen or noticed is that any time we can actually line up with another boat, especially race another boat, that's where you take some big gains.

"From a technical and design point of view, every team is going to be doing everything they can to get faster so we have a lot of work to do. Do I think we can bridge the gap? I do."