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The Prada Cup already has a finalist: Sir Ben Ainslie’s Ineos UK Team showed their good moment and beat Luna Rossa in a thrilling duel, the best so far, and left up nine lead changes and speeds of up to 50 knots. The British ship was more successful in key moments and beat by 33 seconds. With a full of triumphs (six of six, also counting the point of the phantom race) he takes a vital step to try to challenge Emirates Team New Zealand in the 36th America’s Cup. As for Luna Rossa, he must now Play the semifinal (or play-off) against the American Magic from the 29th.

The nerves did not take long to be noticed in Auckland and it is that the start of the race was delayed more than an hour because, first, the Race Committee could not establish a playing field in conditions due to an unstable wind of between 10 and 20 knots of intensity and, later, the skipper of the British team, Ben Ainslie, He requested a 15 minute delay due to a problem with the cunningham, a mainsail control. After that and with the Ineos UK Team and Luna Rossa ready, an exciting Round Robin began because the Italians had no margin for error.

For the start, the two boats decided to start the first section against the wind, at the left mark, and the following decision-making and maneuvers seemed to favor Ineos because it managed to get ahead. Although at gate 3, Luna Rossa took the lead by sailing to windward and had a 19-second margin. The crosses through the following markers were history, with intense gybes, which left a final sprint without a clear leader.

It was there when Ineos knew how to better steer its boat to port to find the winning gust of wind and, although Luna Rossa protested because she considered that the English boat had forced her to change course (the referees did not attend her), managed to sail faster, proclaim himself the winner and lift the PRADA Christmas Race trophy, which was not awarded in December because the races were not contested due to the lack of wind.

After the race, Sir Ben Ainslie, skipper of the Ineos UK Team, commented that “the race was for the fans, quite impressive with many changes of leadership and we give a lot of credit to Luna Rossa because they pushed hard. The guys did an amazing job taking us down the track in one piece and getting the winNow the British boat will enjoy three weeks off, without competition, after decide not to compete in this Sunday’s race and they will begin to develop their boat and prepare for the final. Ainslie already has what she was looking for: time.

On the other hand, Luna Rossa will again compete in six days in the semifinal against the American Magic. Jimmy Spithill, helmsman of the Italian ship, explained that “we made a good effort and congratulated Ineos. We did not get the result we wanted, but we have learned a lotFinally, and about the protest they made during the race, he added that “we were both sailing at 45 knots and we had to avoid the ‘Britannia’ so I was a bit surprised that they thought it was not close enough.”

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