Luna Rossa dominate American Magic to reach finals

Luna Rossa with a commanding lead over American Magic in the Prada Cup semi-finals. Photo: Getty...
Luna Rossa with a commanding lead over American Magic in the Prada Cup semi-finals. Photo: Getty Images
American Magic have been eliminated from the Prada Cup in the most punishing fashion.

Down 3-0 in the semifinals against Luna Rossa, the syndicate from the New York Yacht Club needed to win the second race on Saturday afternoon to sail again tomorrow.

However, issues with their foil arms took any opportunity they had of keeping their campaign alive out of their hands within the opening leg.

It was a tough watch seeing American Magic struggle to figure out what was going on with the vessel, which had to be rebuilt after capsizing during the second round robin.

"Patriot is dead in the water," said former Team New Zealand member Mark Orams. "This will bring back terrible memories for Dean Barker in the ill fated defence, in the same waters, in 2003, when NZL82 boat was unreliable, broke its mast, took on water, busted a jib tack ... it's all going so bad for them."

The race was over after the first leg, as Luna Rossa had a 45-second advantage through the first gate, which extended to beyond the two-minute mark after the second leg.

In the end, Luna Rossa claimed a win by 3min51sec to punch their ticket into the Prada Cup finals against Ineos Team UK.

For the Americans, it's a case of what might have been. The only syndicate to beat Team New Zealand in the America's Cup World Series, American Magic were billed as the favourites going into the Prada Cup and while not getting the results early on, they showed their speed and potential.

After a hole in the hull appeared as a result of their capsize and there were worries that the vessel might sink, a 10-day recover effort was needed to rebuild it and get it back on the water to compete.

They were able to do that, but weren't able to match the improvements made by Luna Rossa during that time.

In the third race of the series, held earlier on Saturday, Luna Rossa took a nicely sailed win over their American counterparts in the first of two races on Saturday, taking advantage of their advantage on the upwind legs for a 35-second win.

After Luna Rossa dominated the game in the starting box yesterday, they made a couple of slick manoeuvres to overcome American Magic's better position to get an even start.

The Italians landed the first blow with the first cross, getting their boat in a position to force an early manoeuvre from American Magic and take a 13-second lead through the first gate.

The lead was extended to 22 seconds on the first downwind leg as Luna Rossa were able to maintain their speed and quickly recover from a jibe that was not greatly executed to push the lead out.

Through the second gate, American Magic tacked straight away around the gate, looking for a way to make ground on Luna Rossa.

However, sailing the AC75s in reliable conditions as they had today, races to date have shown if the opposition doesn't make a mistake, it is hard to make ground up. As American Magic were working to get back into the race, the broadcast picked up Luna Rossa helmsman Jimmy Spithill's message to his team: "Let's keep the foot on the throat."

They did just that, further extending their lead on the second upwind leg to 41 seconds halfway through the race.

While Luna Rossa was having things their way through the first half of the race, American Magic showed they weren't going down without a fight, making a massive gain in the fourth leg to close the gap to 20 seconds through the gate.

Needing to make something happen, American Magic split the course around the markers – rounding the left side while Luna Rossa rounded the right.

However, Luna Rossa's performance advantage upwind was clear to see in the fifth leg as they extended their lead back to 41 seconds, before going on to claim the win.

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