By Craig Ligibel.
In ideal conditions on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbor, Italy’s Luna Ross Prada Pirelli America’s Cup team defeated the American entry in the final two races of the Prada Semi Finals series in Auckland, New Zealand. The Italians took two races on Friday when the winds gusted in excess of 20 knots. They repeated their winning streak with two victories on Saturday. Luna Rossa will advance to the Finals of the Prada Cup where they will compete with Ineos Team UK for the right to challenge the Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand, for the Auld Mug starting on March 6.
The US boat was never in it on Saturday as Luna Rosa helmsman Jimmy Spithill and American Magic’s Dean Barker battled to an even start under ideal conditions…but the American boat quickly fell behind and ended up playing follow the leader around the course, finishing 35 seconds behind Luna Rossa. The second race saw the American boat gaining a slight edge at the start. That lead soon evaporated as Patriot experienced a malfunction of the Foil Cant System (FCS). The team was forced to sail well outside the course boundary before they could find a workaround, get the board down, and turn back toward the windward gate. In this race, the damaged American boat finished almost four minutes behind the Italians.
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