Please select your home edition
Edition
Stoneways Marine 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Modes and Moods

by Mark Jardine 21 Feb 05:23 GMT 13-22 February 2021

There are many sailing phrases: high and fast, low and slow, tweak it up a bit, glamourous, in the groove, climbing off them, falling into the dirt. Nothing beats that feeling when you know you're quicker, with the ability to choose your own tactics, conversely when you're slow a race can feel like having a tooth pulled in slow motion. In the rarefied air of America's Cup land there are no hiding places when you're in the slower boat, and the role of skipper can feel a very lonely place.

In Race 7 of the PRADA Cup final, INEOS TEAM UK had the slightly better start, in the leeward position, ready to squeeze up Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli towards the left-hand side boundary, but the Italian team had the high mode available to keep air clear. As we've seen previously, if Francesco Bruni and Jimmy Spithill on Luna Rossa get their noses in front, especially in the light stuff, then it's game over.

We watched the race play out and the moods on board the two boats were obvious. All was serene and calm on board the Italian boat as they simply sailed away. On Britannia the communication was a note more subdued and Ben's crosses of the boat noticeably a notch slower.

The stats at the end of the race were telling. The speeds of the two boats were similar, but INEOS TEAM UK had sailed 1500 metres further than Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli. It's been well documented that the British team prefer sailing in the higher winds and in the light stuff the Italians have all the right modes, giving them the ability to simply sail a shorter distance between the marks.

Post-race Francesco Bruni was saying all the right things about it still being one race at a time, but he was right in his assertion when he said, "We definitely had the high mode".

With the Italian team on match point, the British couldn't afford to leave anything on the table in Race 8. In a potentially tricky position beneath the lay line Ben Ainslie threw Britannia into a tack on to port in front of Luna Rossa. Jimmy Spithill dialled Luna Rossa up to try and catch them port-starboard, taking their boat over the line early in the process, while the umpires ruled that Ben had kept clear.

With Luna Rossa having to lose 50 metres due to their starting penalty Britannia had an early lead, but this was short-lived as the Italian team used their modes to work ahead. These boats are incredibly fast, the final race only taking 30 minutes to complete, but this was the conclusion of four years of work and INEOS TEAM UK's 36th America's Cup campaign.

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli can savour their PRADA Cup victory today. The scoreline was emphatic and their performance was close to flawless. The America's Cup veteran Jimmy Spithill simply said, "Let's head in for a beer" at the conclusion, while an ecstatic Francesco summed it up with "Fantastico!". They will celebrate tonight, but it'll be straight back to work tomorrow for the team as the America's Cup match versus the ominously fast Emirates Team New Zealand awaits in March.

The debrief for the British team will be painful but necessary if they are to mount a competitive challenge for the 37th America's Cup, wherever that may be. The reality is that the crucial decisions on design were made a long time ago. INEOS TEAM UK is composed of incredible sailors and many brilliant minds but as Ben said at the finish, "we need to go back to the drawing board and see what we can do".

Related Articles

Kites flying high
Over the past couple of weeks 138 of the best kite foilers gathered in Sardinia I'm not going to lie; I was disappointed when the International Olympic Committee raised concerns about the Mixed Offshore Doublehanded event at the Paris 2024 Olympics. Posted today at 9:00 am
Jumbos rule
B&G gave us Nemesis, and this was a pretty cool piece of kit indeed. Not all the world's jumbos got retired and parked in the Arizona desert at the beginning of 2020. Boeing's venerable bus had served us all - so, so well… Later on that same year, B&G, gave us Nemesis, and this was a pretty cool piece of kit indeed. Posted on 10 Oct
Protect your kit from the elements with KitBrix
Keeping wet kit away from dry kit is easy with KitBrix's new storage system We used KitBrix's innovative system this summer and it worked brilliantly... and we spend a lot of time on the water! Posted on 5 Oct
What's happening in America's Cup land?
Like it or not, it is the pinnacle event in yachting A lot is written about the America's Cup, and a huge amount of it is speculation. Like it or not, it is the pinnacle event in yachting, and for those who try to win it, it becomes an all-consuming obsession. Posted on 4 Oct
Hooray for the hundredth!
Here is our card to the J/99, which will soon enough have 100 vessels sailing all around the world. Now if you're a British subject that means you get a letter from HRH QEII. If you're French, maybe you get one from President Macron. Certainly POTUS does to US citizens. Posted on 26 Sep
Mixing it up
A few sailing events which are a bit 'out of the norm' As we head towards the end of September, I've been thinking about which events, and days out sailing, have been the most fun this year. There are a few to choose from, and overall it's been a good year for time on the water. Posted on 21 Sep
Happy, happy. Joy, joy!
Without doubt, the best perk of this job is the reach and connection There are definitely some serious perks to this gig. Yet without doubt, the best is the reach and connection with sailors far and wide. The emails, calls, and chats on the quay still come in, and continue to inspire the entire team. Posted on 13 Sep
Inspirational
It's such an important word in any sport It's such an important word in any sport, and seeing an inspirational performance in sailing fills us with enthusiasm. Posted on 7 Sep
Did someone say, Goldilocks?
Flagstaff Marine's Graham Raspass had set up the informal conversation with Gianguido Girotti... Going back a good while now, well into the pre-COVID era actually, I had the distinct pleasure of being granted a one on one meeting with Beneteau's then newest employee. Posted on 29 Aug
Great sport requires great rivalries
Thanks to SailGP we now can regularly see the greatest names in sailing compete Interest in a sport, outside of the fanatics and those who regularly take part in that discipline, requires great rivalries, and thanks to SailGP we now can regularly see the greatest names in sailing compete in some of the most exciting racing ever. Posted on 22 Aug