36th America’s Cup: INEOS TEAM UK to face Luna Rossa in PRADA Cup final

INEOS TEAM UK will face Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli in the PRADA Cup final after the Italian team secured a 4-0 victory over New York Yacht Club American Magic in the semi-final.

Sir Ben Ainsle’s team will contest Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli in the first to seven wins final from February 13, live on Sky Sports, for a place in the 36th America’s Cup match against defending champions Emirates Team New Zealand.

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli added two further victories on Saturday to their opening two on Friday to create an unassailable 4-0 lead over in the best-of-seven-race semi-final.

“I’m very proud of the team,” co-helmsman Francesco Bruni said, directly after their second race of the day on Saturday.

“We made some huge steps forwards compared to last weekend. In five days, the boat has been completely transformed and we are sailing better. The whole team has gone to another level.”

PRADA Cup Semi-Final – Race Three

PRADA Cup Semi-Final – Race Four

Now, both Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and INEOS TEAM UK have further development time with the PRADA Cup final starting on February 13.

Both know that their years of hard work are coming down to the first to seven points contest, and that only one of them will become the challenger to Emirates Team New Zealand in the 36th America’s Cup match in March.

“Now INEOS boys,” Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli co-helmsman Jimmy Spithill, was heard saying as they crossed the line.

Spithill knows his PRADA Cup final opponents well, in particular INEOS TEAM UK’s team principal and director Ainslie, after being together as skipper and the new tactician for Oracle Team USA’s incredible comeback to win 9-8 from 8-1 down in the 2013 America’s Cup match.

Farewell to New York Yacht Club American Magic

As a result of their four losses, New York Yacht Club American Magic’s ambition to take the Auld Mug back to America comes to an end.

Four successive defeats is a tough way to go out of the competition. It caps a really challenging PRADA Cup campaign for the American team and once again, shows the unpredictability of the America’s Cup.

At the end of the round robins, Spithill warned fans never to be surprised by the twists and turns of the America’s Cup and he’s right.

Never be surprised in the America’s Cup. Change can happen really quickly. You only have to look back at that Christmas Regatta, where the teams stacked up then and what the experts and bookies were predicting, now look at it! How much has it changed? I’d say it has been flipped.

Jimmy Spithill (Image – COR 36 | Studio Borlenghi)

During the PRADA Cup warm-up races, New York Yacht Club American Magic were tipped by many to be the overall winner of the PRADA Cup. At that point in time, race boat PATRIOT looked fast and as a collective they seemed to be moving in exactly the right direction.

However, fast forward to the PRADA Cup and the challenges started. The opening two race days ended in defeat before the team crashed down and capsized on the third, whilst chasing their first victory and leading against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli on the last leg.

A herculean effort followed, first to save PATRIOT from sinking, and then to re-build and restore her in time for the semi-finals.

The challenge brought out the best of the American team, and of their rivals, as every one of them did what they could to assist New York Yacht Club American Magic.

Once back out on the water, the team’s fortunes didn’t change enough and instead their quest for the America’s Cup halts at the PRADA Cup semi-final stage.

“Obviously the last, really four, races weren’t our best,” Terry Hutchinson, skipper and executive director, said during his immediate assessment on the water.

“However, I have the highest praise for the entire American Magic team for overcoming what we did to get the boat back out on the water. It would have been easy to stop.”

Watch every moment of the America’s Cup challenge, live on Sky Sports. Coverage continues with the PRADA Cup final at 2am on February 13, live on Sky Sports Mix, repeated again at 9am.

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