PRADA WINS THE PRADA CUP: How Did AC75 Racing Get Boring So Quickly?

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Feb. 22/2021:  There we have it: the Italian Luna Rossa team will face Team New Zealand in the America’s Cup final next month. The Prada Cup final between Luna Rossa and INEOS Team UK, which ended yesterday with a 7-1 tally in favor of the Italian boat, was a real snooze, I have to say.

In six of the eight races the boat that won the start won the race and led the whole way through. Only in the last two races this past weekend was that pattern disturbed a bit. In race 7 the start was effectively a tie, but Luna Rossa quickly built a lead and never lost it. In race 8, Team UK won the start and had a small lead early on. Luna Rossa, in the only lead change in the whole series, overtook them on the first leg and then just walked away with it. Per the viddy here:

Just a month ago the game was a lot more exciting! In one of the last races in the Prada Cup prelims just last month Team UK beat Luna Rossa in an amazing dust-up that saw nine lead changes in less than half an hour!

And the American boat went down in a spectacular capsize and almost sank:

Ah well. It was fun while it lasted.

No one has ever raced boats like these before, so all the teams have been climbing steep learning curves. I was hoping this would lead to the sort of volatility we saw in the 2013 America’s Cup series. Then they were sailing those big foiling AC72 wing-sail catamarans, boats that also had never been raced before (and haven’t been raced since), and Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team USA staged a staggering comeback, the biggest in sports history, overcoming an eight-race deficit to keep the Cup from the Kiwis.

We were seeing that sort of volatility early on in this AC cycle, but now these guys seem to have their boats all figured out.

The question now in my mind: will Luna Rossa have a powerful edge in the AC final over Team New Zealand, just because they’ve raced a lot more???

We’ll find out in less than two weeks.

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1 Response
  1. bmiller

    It seems to have become purely a race of technology. Where one knows who is likely to win before the start. Takes some of the fun out of it, just waiting for a mistake or misfortune.

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