Today could have sealed their place in the Cup but the weather had other plans
LV Finals – Race 7
The breeze was up against the limits for the first race, just what Luna Rossa wanted but despite the optimum conditions for the Italians the outcome was the same as we’ve seen again and again with the Kiwis dominating from the start.
As both boats hit the line at the same time it was Emirates Team New Zealand that had the greater pace and once again beat Luna Rossa to the first mark. From there the picture only got worse for Italian fans as the Kiwis winning margin increased throughout the race.
At the first leeward mark the Italians trailed by 27 seconds. By the windward mark the margin had ballooned to 1min 53secs.
As both boats hammered downwind at 39 knots there was nothing Luna Rossa could do to close the gap other than hope the Kiwis tripped up. But once again they didn’t and took a win by 1min 58secs.
Just one more victory would secure their place as the Challengers.
“It’s been a while since we’ve raced in this breeze,” said Dean Barker shortly after the finish. “I think the breeze is picking it up and we’re pushing it. Today was always going to be dicey for race two.”
Despite their defeat the Italians remained upbeat.
“The boat was going pretty well downwind but the problem is that it’s a one way track up wind and there’s not much you can do,” said Luna Rossa tactician Francesco Bruni. “We made a couple of mistakes with the boards but other than that I think we were sailing at around 98 percent.”
But while the Italians were sailing at 98 percent the stats painted a more worrying picture for Luna Rossa. Their average speed around the track was 19 knots to the Kiwis’ 21 knots, a huge difference. And when it came to the maximum speed recorded in this race, the Kiwis hit the jackpot again with a max speed 47.18knots.
The biggest problem for both teams however were the conditions as the breeze built beyond the wind limit, just as it has done on so many occasions through the finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup.
In the end with the breeze well into 23 knots and race 8 was postponed. The Kiwis would have to wait another day to seal their place in the 34th Americas Cup. Meanwhile Luna Rossa lived to fight another day.