Luna Rossa take 2-0 semi-final lead

Luna Rossa dominated American Magic in both of today's semi-final races. Photo: Getty Images
Luna Rossa dominated American Magic in both of today's semi-final races. Photo: Getty Images
Win the start, sail a clean race and take the win.

It might not be as easy as it sounds, but that was how things played out on the opening day of the Prada Cup semifinals.

Getting the better of the start in both races on Friday, Luna Rossa took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series against American Magic in convincing fashion.

The races followed an eerily similar script; Luna Rossa got the better of the start, held or slightly increased their lead through the first five gates, before a slower leg on the fifth from American Magic ended with a splashdown coming around the gate, essentially taking them out of the race.

The turn around the right-hand marker at the end of the upwind leg was a problem for American Magic in both races – with a costly splashdown in the first race followed by two more in the same spot in the second race.

In race one, Luna Rossa won by 2min43sec, with a 3min07sec win in the second race.

It was a tough day out on the water for American Magic, who made their return to competition after a 10-day sprint to repair the vessel which was damaged in a capsize in the opening weekend of round robin racing.

While they looked good at times and had plenty of speed, Luna Rossa put pressure on the Americans from the start and showed their intentions with two well-sailed races in high winds.

While the wind speed dropped from about 19 knots to 15 knots between the two races, both teams consistently sailed above 40 knots, while both surpassed 49 knots in the opening race.

With a two-race lead to their credit, Luna Rossa are firmly in the driver's seat ahead of the two races on Saturday, with conditions expected to be light and variable over the weekend.

Race One

Before Luna Rossa took to the water for the opening Prada Cup semifinal race against American Magic, sailor Pierluigi de Felice indicated the team had made big gains in the heavier conditions.

In the first race, they showed exactly that.

Luna Rossa took out the first contest of the semifinal against American Magic by more than two minutes, sailing in winds averaging about two knots lower than the upper limit of the scale.

The Italian syndicate made a statement from the outset, dominating the start to get out to a sizeable lead from the starting line.

American Magic began to close that gap straight away, with slightly faster boat speed early on, however it wasn't long before the Italians began to match them.

With an 18-second lead through the first gate, Luna Rossa attacked the first downwind leg with confidence and extended their lead to 22 seconds through the second gate, and further to 33 seconds through the third and fourth gates.

Unable to make headway into the deficit, things got worse for the Americans who dropped trailed by almost a minute through the fifth gate, but dropped off their foils rounding the marker and lost plenty of ground.

From there, the contest was won for Luna Rossa – who simply had to sail a safe race from that point on and avoid a major mistake of their own.

They did so to claim the win in a race in which both teams surpassed 49 knots.

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