The PRADA Cup officially kicked off in Auckland today with Team Ineos UK blasting out of the blocks to take two wins from the first two races against American Magic and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team, with leads of 1 minute 20 seconds and 28 seconds respectively.
Following a series of losses for the British team in the PRADA ACWS in December, this was a result that few people had predicted before today.
After the day’s dominant performance, British Skipper and Team Principal, Sir Ben Ainslie said: “It feels a lot better than six losses or whatever was. We left it a bit late, nice to find the pace when it counts on time in this breeze. Giles did a great job calling the breeze and the guys sailing it fast and handling it. It was a team effort and I have got to say our entire team back on the dockyards, the designers, the engineers, the shore team, the boat builders, they had three epic weeks working to turn this boat around.”
However, following the Ineos Team UK’s sensational comeback, a damper was put on the celebrations as Luna Rosa Prada Pirelli protested the British boat over a technicality.
According to the New Zealand Herald, the Italians protested that Ineos Team UK had its outhaul penetrating the sail skin on its main fairing, meaning a hole in the mainsail which is considered illegal. It’s subsequently been reported by yachting website Live Sail Die, that the Ineos Team UK outhaul does break the rule, however at this stage there is no penalty as it was passed at measurement. Ineos Team UK do need to come up with another solution.