America’s Cup 2021: Media reaction – Team New Zealand has ‘one hand on trophy’ as Luna Rossa ‘betrayed’

The world media reacts to the fifth day of the 36th America’s Cup where Team New Zealand came from behind in both races over Luna Rossa and take a 5-3 lead.

In a piece headlined ‘Luna Rossa betrayed by the light wind she had so much invoked’ -Federico Militello of Italian site OA Sport said the two defeats felt like a knockdown.

“When Te Rehutai is in front, the race is almost over. Luna Rossa can do nothing but wait for a mistake: the performance gap is too evident. Moreover, today the New Zealanders overtook the Italians in race 7 after losing the start. We can discuss for a long time the possible tactical mistake made by the Italian fleet. The problem is that if you are confronted with an opponent who travels on average 2 knots faster, in the end the change in command occurs almost by inertia.

“It is curious to note that the much loved light wind then betrayed Luna Rossa during race 8, the boat fell from the foil and was no longer able to pick up speed until after more than eight and a half minutes: an enormous amount. The Kiwis have thus overturned a regatta that seemed already lost, giving that shock to the series that looks so much like a knockdown.”

“Luna Rossa is wrong so much, too much to be able to win such a prestigious event.”

Stefano Vegliani of OA Sport was a bit more hopeful in a piece headlined ‘It’s not over! Room for progress for Luna Rossa and the wind that can turn’.

“It’s not over. Let’s not bang our heads against the wall yet. Whatever happens, Luna Rossa is doing something extraordinary. It is doing it for Italian sailing, for the rich induced that revolves around the Italian challenge. More and more people set the alarm at 4.00 in the morning to experience the races live.”

“…We are always at the mercy of the wind. Even the most experienced and polite fan has had a nervous breakdown, it cannot be denied, but the wind can always turn on the right side, understood as that of Luna Rossa.”

Magnus Wheatley of the Rule 69 sailing blog said had to feel sorry for the Italians who he still gives a chance of coming back.

“…after a second race today that was nerve shredding frustration personified for both teams, in the back of everyone’s mind there’s a nagging feeling that this isn’t over by a long shot.

“You felt desperately sorry. Sport shouldn’t be like this and with the Kiwis flying up behind, using every trick of camber, cant and skill to stay flying, it was a horrible sight to see the Italians in such distress.

“Te Rehutai blasted around, stole the lead and romped away from the light winds at the top of the course into more pressure and an unassailable lead. They sailed ridiculous angles on the final upwind desperate to keep flying and by the time they approached the finish line they were going from reach to reach with the tacking angle of a supertanker. The finishing delta of 3 minutes 55 seconds was a final insult to the Italians who have every sympathy from the sporting public and know that it’s in no way a reflection of the closeness of this Match.

“Some days this happens. And with games of chance, sometimes the fickle finger of fate plays against you. They’ll be back in the gambling salon tomorrow and with the wind staying in the lower regions for the rest of the week, this just isn’t over by a long shot for the Italians.”

Toby Heppell of Yachting World said race two of the day was more about luck but you could read a lot into the opening win for TNZ.

“It’s hard to imagine what the sailors onboard Luna Rossa must have felt as they sailed back and forth at the windward gate trying desperately to get the boat foiling again as all the while, Burling and his team came rushing towards them. I imagine the thoughts would be unprintable.”

“The second race of the day was a crazy spectacle but either team could have taken the win. The Kiwis did well to stay on their foils, even with a smaller jib, but we did not learn all that much.

“The opening race of the day showed us a lot,and if you are an Italian fan, it is pretty ominous. In those 10-12 knot conditions with that sailplan the Kiwis were vastly quicker than their competition. Passing may be hard in this latest America’s Cup class, but there is no way of keeping a boat that is 2-3 knots quicker than you behind.”

In an article headlined ‘New Zealand put one hand on trophy after Luna Rossa blow four-minute lead in ‘bizarre’ race’ – Tom Cary of the Telegraph said the scenes in race eight were a first.

“It was certainly unprecedented in America’s Cup history. These vast foiling monohulls are impressive machines in the right conditions, capable of hitting 50-plus knots in wind speeds less than half that strength.

“But they have a very specific operating window and if they fall outside of those parameters, they can look foolish; multi-million pound yachts bobbing about on the water in displacement mode, unable to get up on their foils again.”

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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