AC NEWS – By XS Sailing – Team New Zealand wins the first ever race between two AC72’s by a huge margin. They won the start by stuffing Prada upwind and sprinting to the starting line late, but in control of Prada. After that, Team NZ’s extra speed and smooth crew work increased her lead on every leg to win by over 5 minutes.
Prada had a very good position to win the start but made a tactical mistake (see above). Prada, sailing on port, entered the start area and cleared the starboard sailing Team NZ with ease and with a large lead. Prada had a chance to jibe and control the Kiwis with a safe leeward starboard position but instead tacked and gave up the leeward position. If Prada would have jibed in their first transition after entering the pre-starting zone, Prada would have been on starboard and to leeward of Team NZ. Watch the replay (see below) at 2-minutes before the start to see where Prada lost control of the start.
But the start was only the beginning of Prada’s troubles. After the start, Prada lost on every leg as Team NZ was just to smooth and fast in every leg and transition. Team NZ’s foils were working better as Prada’s foils produced more spray as the weather foil had trouble clearing the water. Also the speed of Team NZ and how quickly they can deploy their dagger foils was another advantage.
So there it is…the first AC72 race and the AC is now underway. If we were Prada we would spy on the foil designs of Team NZ and start building a new set of foils now. It looks as though the team who has the fastest set of foils and smoothest crew work will win the AC. And as you can build a set of foils very quickly nobody can be ruled out of this competition. Prada could show up with a new set of foils and the tables could be turned. This will be a very interesting America’s Cup to watch!