As Luna Rossa crossed the finish line in the clinching race of the Prada Cup semifinals, co-helmsman Jimmy Spithill wasted no time setting his target on the next challenge.
“Now Ineos, boys,” he said to his crew onboard just moments after eliminating American Magic from the competition.
In the 4-0 sweep of American Magic, Luna Rossa showed plenty of improvement and proved their boat was only getting faster.
It shows just how much ground can be gained in the space of a week, with Spithill explaining their final round robin races against Ineos Team UK opened their eyes to some flaws that needed addressing.
“We were pretty disappointed, to be honest, with how our racing was going against the British. It was fantastic racing, but we left a lot on the table,” Spithill said.
“We were critical and pretty candid about what we needed to improve. Between myself, Checco [co-helmsman Francesco Bruni] and [mainsheet trimmer] Pietro Sibello – who I think has done a huge step forward and sailed a fantastic regatta – we’ve got a very candid relationship where we can call each other out and discuss ideas, and the end result is we get strong and get better. That’s what it’s all about.
“We’ll be doing all we can to come out and get some payback on the Poms.”
So, while losing out to Team UK in the round robins meant Luna Rossa were faced with a sudden death segment of the campaign, it provided the benefit of four additional races while the British syndicate had a three-week wait between racing.
In the series against American Magic, Luna Rossa were impressive. With some dominant work in the starting box, clean sailing and increased speed, the Italians showed just how far they have improved their challenge since the America’s Cup World Series late last year, particularly at the higher end of the wind limit, and perhaps indicated just how much more they can still improve given they won’t race again until February 13.
Bruni said the elimination series was something Luna Rossa needed.
“I think we are lucky we’ve gone through this series, because I think for winning the America’s Cup, you have better chances if you’ve gone through the semifinals,” Bruni said.
“I’m very happy with the team reaction from last weekend. We’ve improved as a sailing team with our communication, tactics and the boat has been going faster. It’s a good combo to have.”
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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