Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli started the day with 5 wins and 1 loss. INEOS Team UK started the day with 1 win and 5 losses. The British needed to win at least one race on day 4 to stay in the game, and Italians needed to win both races to claim the right to race in the 36th America’s Cup Match against the New Zealand team.
Prada Cup Final – Race 7
Current: 0.2 knots @ 007
Winner: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli – 1:45
PRADA Cup Final – Race 8
Length: 1.85 nm
Current: 0.3 knots @ 007
Wind: 12 knots – 025 degrees
Winner: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli – 0:56
Prada Cup Finals Race 7 – All eyes were on the start. Based on the previous races in this PRADA Cup Final it was the opening stages of the race that frequently defined the result. After facing five losses in a row, INEOS TEAM UK had shown that winning the start in race 6 could lead to winning the race overall.
As the British led into the start line after having escaped the clutches of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli just moments before, the early advantage was to INEOS TEAM UK. But it didn’t take long for that to change. With both boats heading off the line on starboard, Luna Rossa was to windward in a tricky position as they tried to keep the pace on while sailing in the disturbed air off the back of the British boat.
As both boats headed out towards the left-hand side of the course it was clear that the Italians had the extra mode that has been talked about during previous races allowing them to sail higher than their opponent while maintaining the same speed.
As both boats tacked at the boundary, Luna Rossa was still to leeward but now they were ahead. Their second punch was about to be delivered. As they squeezed their way up to INEOS TEAM UK they did so without losing any pace once again and eventually forced the British to tack. Advantage Luna Rossa.
But the last leg of the race was executed as perfectly as the previous five and they crossed the line the same distance ahead. Just one more race and the PRADA Cup would be theirs. For the British, they had to win every race from here to do the same. The next race would be absolutely crucial.
Prada Cup Finals Race 8 – As the pair headed towards the start line INEOS TEAM UK were ahead and to windward, Luna Rossa were chasing from to leeward, but both were early for the start. Slowing down was going to prove tricky, there was very little runway left, especially for the British. Seconds before the start, INEOS TEAM UK tacked onto port and just managed to stay behind the line but most importantly just managed to cross Luna Rossa who were on starboard and had right of way.
But the close quarter’s action had seen Luna Rossa start with a penalty as they headed out on starboard leaving the British to head off on port tack. But, despite having won the start and the first part of the upwind leg, when the pair came back together for the second time the advantage had switched, Luna Rossa was ahead as they crossed on starboard.
By gate 2 Luna Rossa had maintained their leading margin of 12 secs as they rounded the left-hand mark. In an effort to keep splitting from their opponents, INEOS TEAM UK took the right-hand side of the gate. On the second upwind leg, the racing took place mainly on the right-hand side of the course, great for the spectators. After the fourth leg, as the pair approached gate 3 Luna Rossa had increased their lead. As they rounded the left-hand mark they were now 34 secs ahead a distance in the water of around 400 m.
Another lap of the course and the Italian lead had grown and never looked likely to reduce. By the finish, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli was 56 sec ahead. They had scored their seventh victory. They had now won the PRADA Cup trophy.
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Wins the 2020 Prada Cup Finals
For the second time in their six attempts, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli has their name included in the exclusive list of just 36 challengers in 170 years that have made it to the America’s Cup itself.
The 36th America’s Cup Match starts in less than two weeks, on the 6th of March