Italy's Prada lost a crew overboard but recovered to post an impressive two-minute win over Nippon on the first day of America's Cup challenger series for the Louis Vuitton Cup.
Italy’s Prada lost a crew overboard but recovered to post an impressive two-minute win over Nippon on the first day of America’s Cup challenger series for the Louis Vuitton Cup.
Rounding the second mark on the Hauraki Gulf course, the Prada boat Luna Rossa dropped her gennaker in the water and along with it grinder Simone de Mari.
The Japanese boat Asura was able to move past Luna Rossa, but only briefly.
Once de Mari was back on board, and the gennaker cut free, Luna Rossa simply accelerated away from her opponent in a display of speed bound to unsettle the other 11 syndicates in this challenger series.
Lunda Rossa eventually beat Asura by 2.03 minutes to notch her second win of the day.
Earlier Luna Rossa had shown the Swiss boat Be Happy a clean pair of heels, winning by four minutes 20 seconds.
America One and Young America also posted double wins on day one. Young America had a close duel with the less fancied Spanish boat Bravo Espana in the second race, before comfortably drawing ahead. The Ed Baird-skippered boat, representing the New York Yacht Club, had earlier beaten the mixed team America True.
America One also beat both Bravo Espana and America True, looking particularly quick in its first race when winds were light. But America True worried her United States opponents on some legs, catching both rivals with the boat seeming to have clear speed downwind.
Asura, the Hawaiian challenge Abracadabra, 6 Cens from France and Stars n Stripes all registered one win each, with Bravo Espana, Be Happy and Young Australia having no wins.
Dennis Conner had a difficult day though, with Stars n Stripes making hard work of their one outing against 6 Cens.
Although Conner’s boat had led for most of the race, sail problems on the final leg meant the boat was sailing only with a gib and no gennaker and the French came back swiftly but too late to be pipped by nine seconds.