America’s Cup 2021: Bianca Cook – Is it game over for American Magic?

OPINION:

Never underestimate how much time, blood, sweat and tears went into rebuilding Patriot.

But a tough day for the American Magic team in the Prada Cup semifinals would mean another long night for the shore crew as they search to tune a fast but unsettled boat.

Jimmy Spithill, Francesco Bruni and their Luna Rossa team won the starts and stormed to victories in the opening semifinals on Course C.

It was a case of winds versus tide which meant unstable conditions for the AC75s. It led to a few scary moments for American Magic, who were unable to break free of Luna Rossa’s controlling positons.

The Italian team seemed flawless in their communications and apart from getting the speed wobbles around a leeward mark, they had two fine races.

But Dean Barker needs to find a way to put pressure on Luna Rossa, and far more than he managed today, to test just how good the Italian team really is.

It was disappointing to see American Magic struggle so much, after putting in so many hours to get back on the water after their dramatic capsize and near sinking.

So is the situation solvable?

To be honest I just don’t know.

Barker is an incredible match racer, a multiple world match racing champion. Normally, you would think he could dominate the starts. Both of their starts were a long way from what you would expect.

I think they will be far more aggressive in the starts on Saturday, and with slightly lighter wind conditions predicted they should be able to push the boat harder.

It appeared they had technical issues on board, which meant it was difficult to push the boat as hard as they wanted to.

American Magic will have suffered a blow to their morale.

However, they did at least they hit the highest racing speed we have seen so far, of 53.3 knots, and comebacks are certainly known in the America’s Cup.

Luna Rossa are two wins away from victory in this semifinal. One thing is for certain – Barker and his team can’t leave anything on shore. They have to go out fighting. If they don’t, it’s game over.

Heading into the Cup racing?

• Give yourself plenty of time and think about catching a ferry, train or bus to watch the Cup.

• Make sure your AT HOP card is in your pocket. It’s the best way to ride.

• Don’t forget to scan QR codes with the NZ COVID Tracer app when on public transport and entering the America’s Cup Village.

• For more ways to enjoy race day, visit at.govt.nz/americascup.

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