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Prada Cup semi-final - Day 1

9 Feb, 2021

American Magic v Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli


Hats off to American Magic for getting back on the water and finishing two races. From what I hear, 24 hours before these were not givens. If the chatter is to be believed their test day was pretty scary with systems going down frequently leaving doubts as to how things would turn out in the heat of battle. So it was of little surprise to see so many back slaps and man hugs as the team headed out to the race course. The dockout today was an emotionally charged affair and plenty of spectators and supporters came out to cheer them on. And hey, they made it, got around the course in very blustery conditions and lived to fight another day. The trouble is that is all they have now. One day to put a win on the board, something they have yet to do in the Challenger Series. Win or walk away, this round is tough. It’s especially weird to think that after three years of development and just 21 official races in total, (just 9 for the Challenger selection series), we could be seeing a team pack their bags. Even with the benefit of interviews and dockside gossip it’s been so hard to figure out how American Magic would shape up after the Patriot rebuild. Would they come firing out of the blocks all guns blazing with a ballsy new attitude, or would they take time to find their feet? Whatever they wanted to do the reality seems to be that Patriot has serious control issues. Once again during racing we heard Dean say that he had lost the rudder shortly before the boat planted itself again. Often they were doing high 40s and in one case 53 knots. I don’t know how you handle that mentally, knowing that your machine has just been rebuilt in record time, (draw what conclusions you may from that) and then find out that when your runaway train is at full bore having successfully completed the bear away, that you’re about to get a blow out. And all the time you’re trying to build sufficient confidence to keep the pedal to the metal so that you can mix things up in the pre-start and try and get the upper hand. In some ways its eerily reminiscent of the problems that the Brits had before Christmas, but they had some time to fix the issues, American Magic have tonight. If they’re looking to buy some time, and no one from the team has said that they are, there may be a glimmer of hope when you look at the weather forecast for Saturday’s racing. The weather models are banging about all over the place but if there is a consensus it is that it will be light. As I write this it looks as if the breeze on Saturday will be around 4-9knots at around race time. While the strength may be within limits, the forecast direction is SE backing NE. I’m no expert down here but that doesn’t sound good. Sunday is looking a knot or two more, but still with big fluctuations in direction, E backing N. Monday is a lay day so the next opportunity to race would be Tuesday when the breeze is supposed to be N 7-11. Now it may be that the Americans don’t want or need to buy time, but if recent Cup cycles have shown us anything it is how much a little time can change things. Meanwhile, Luna Rossa have said very little once again about what they have been up to. There was a school of thought that suggested that they were out of upgrades having raided their toy cupboard earlier on and used up all their trump cards. Today it seems not. Today we saw an impressive and confident step up in performance, a huge leap forward in conditions that they claimed their boat didn’t favour. The comms between Spithill and Bruni also seemed much better today too and apart from demonstrating what stalling the main foil at 49knots looks like when you are cranking around the leeward mark, their performance was flawless. If nothing else, we’re starting to get used to these big turnarounds and starting to get used to not making predictions…or at least not banking on them.https://youtu.be/cqQ6HJ3LWMk

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