Fri. Nov 18th, 2022

Luna Rossa and Team UK start Race 7 of the Prada Cup final. Credits: Image – Photosport; video – TVNZ
App users click here for latest updates
Prada Cup Final, Race 8
INEOS Team UK v Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli
Luna Rossa win by 56 seconds, win series 7-1
Finish – Luna Rossa approach the line to win the Prada Cup and the right to challenge Team NZ for the America’s Cup. Now they can celebrate.
Team UK finish 56 seconds back, their suffering is over.
Sixth leg – Team UK round 53 seconds back and they won’t have enough speed to catch their rivals from here.
The Italian lead is now 600m.
Fifth leg – The Brits have gone as far left as they can, but Luna Rossa have spotted the tide going out on the right and stay on that side of the course.
The lead holds at 350m, as both boats head right. Team UK tack left.
As they line up for the top gate, the lead is 430m. Luna Rossa lay from the left.
The Italians round the right mark and head down the left towards the finish.
Fourth leg – Italy are 350m ahead on the water.
More than halfway through this contest, the series is over, with Luna Rossa just cruising at 360m ahead. They’ve complained to race committee about a helicopter hovering too close.
The Italians lay for the bottom gate from the right, cutting across to the left mark.
Team UK are 36 seconds behind.
Third leg – The Italians can now control the course here, just covering their rivals and putting them in bad air. Their advantage is about 120m.
As both boats head to the right of the course, Luna Rossa are 160m ahead and just shadowing Team UK.
The margin reaches 200m, both boats at 30 knots upwind.
The Italians lay for the top gate from the right and Team UK follow suit, but well behind and wider.
Luna Rossa round the left mark and have piled on seconds here -Team UK are 34 seconds back now.
Second leg – Split again the downwind leg, with Luna Ross left and Team UK right.
They cross in the middle of the course, with the Italians 160m ahead.
“We’re going to have to do something special here,” says Sir Ben Ainslie.
The Brits had closed the margin to about 70m, but as they cross again, Luna Rossa are 150m ahead.
Luna Rossa lay for the bottom mark from the left and round the right mark, Team UK follow around the left mark, still 12 seconds back.
First leg – Luna Rossa clear the penalty and charge back from a 100m deficit.
The Brits cross 30m ahead and head to the left side of the course.
Luna Rossa have snatched the lead further up the course, forcing Team UK to cross behind them.
The boats are split, with Team UK to the right of the course, Luna Rossa out left, as they lay for the top gate.
The Italians take the right mark and round 12 seconds ahead, as Team Uk take the left mark.
Start – Luna Rossa have first port entry for this race and will be best placed to dictate terms in what could be the series winner. 
Race committee have given the clearance to race…
The Italians enter, with the Brits coming from starboard. Team UK immediately trail Luna Rossa to the right boundary and turn back in unison.
Team UK are leading back to the line, but they’re both early and have tack back. The Brits tack back to the right, Italians continue left and they pass close – Luna Rossa crossed early and must slow down.
Advantage UK.
Prada Cup Final, Race 7
INEOS Team UK v Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli
Luna Rossa win by 1m 45s, lead series 6-1
Finish – Luna Rossa cross for 6-1 lead in the race to seven wins. Can they finish the job today?
Team UK follow 1m 45s behind. They won the start, but could not hold their advantage up the first leg – end of story.
Sixth leg – Team UK head towards the left mark and then head back to the right, losing more ground – they’re 1m 45s back now.
Luna Rossa are more than 1.2km ahead now and heading towards matchpoint in this series.
Fifth leg – The boats split, Luna Ross to the right and Team UK to the left, with the margin now 700m on the water.
Team UK need a major disaster from their rivals to get back into this race.
Luna Rossa lay for the top gate from the left, 800m ahead. They round the right mark and head downwind towards the finish.
The Brits have lost ground…
Fourth leg – The Brits are now 1m 7s behind halfway through this race. Surely no way back from there…
The lead is up to 700m on the water.
Both boats travelling 35 knots downwind.
Luna Rossa heading to the right layline for the bottom gate. They round the left mark and will pass Team UK again on their different legs…
The Brits seem to have made up some time here. They’ve sliced five seconds off their deficit, now 1m 2s.
Third leg – The boats are split, Team UK to the left and Luna Rossa to the right, but the Italians tack back across the course with a 400m lead.
Now the Italians are just covering their rivals, not letting them back into the contest.
The Italian lead now hits 500m, as they tack off the right boundary.
Team UK are nibbling into the deficit on the left side of the course, but must tack back at the boundary, letting the rope out again.
Both boats travelling at 29 knots upwind.
The Brits are only just now laying for the gate from the left, as their rivals sail past on the next leg.
Second leg – The margin is more than 200 metres now.
Team UK forced to follow Luna Ross down the right boundary, because that’s where the better wind lies.
Both boats travelling 34-35 knots downwind, Luna Rossa’s lead out to 300m.
UK managing a higher speed downwind and at least holding the margin at 230m.
Luna Rossa round the left mark ahead, Team UK take the right mark 21 seconds behind.
Luna Rossa approach the top gate from the left and round the right mark.
First leg – Both boats head to the left side of the course and tack back together.
Pretty much neck and neck up the first upwind leg. The Italians may have just edged ahead here.
Team UK tack away to the left again, unable to find clean air in the shadow of Luna Rossa, who continue right, before following.
The Brits tack right, but Luna Rossa also tack before they cross – Italy lead by 100m.
Both boats travelling just over 30 knots.
The Italians stretch their advantage to 150m and will lay for the top gate from the right.
Luna Rossa round the left mark first, with Team UK trailling by 16 seconds.
Start – Huge spectator fleet on the water… wonder how that fits under Level 2?
Race committe confirms the wind is sufficient for a contest, so game on.
The British enter the start box first on time, followed by Luna Rossa from starboard. 
Team UK continue to the far right, as has become the custom, followed by Luna Rossa.
The Brits curl back at the boundary and Luna Rossa now try to undercut them, but are still behind, despite their different line to the start.
Team UK control the start at the port end of the line and have the early lead.
4:05pm – Plenty of talk about changing weather conditions over the next couple of days, with winds becoming stronger and more suited to Team UK’s range.
Luna Rossa will want to finish the job today.
3:21pm – All the remaining teams are out on the water today, including defenders Emirates Team NZ.
Winds are at 11-12 knots on the course right now, so pretty light.
3:04pm – Team UK will have port entry for the first race today, giving them an ideal opportunity to dictate terms at the start, which will be crucial to staying alive in this final series.
If racing so far has shown nothing else, it’s that whoever wins the start usually wins the contest.
*****
Kia ora, good afternoon and welcome to Newshub’s live coverage of the America’s Cup challenger final between Luna Rossa Prada Pirellli and INEOS Team UK on Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf.
The British have finally chalked up their first win of the Prada Cup final, outduelling their rivals at the start of Saturday’s second race, building a 32-second lead over the first four legs and then holding on grimly for victory.
But after taking out the day’s first contest, Luna Rossa are still in the box seat at 5-1 and can clinch the best-of-13 series with two victories today.
Winds are forecast at 9-14 knots from the north-northeast, which really wouldn’t suit the Brits, although those winds may build through the day, as they did yesterday.
Today’s racing will take place on Course A, the northern-most racetrack of the six, bearing in mind the two inner-harbour courses are out of bounds under COVID Alert Level 2. 
TAB odds: Luna Rossa $1.40, Team UK $2.70
‘We have momentum’: Ainslie’s Prada Cup lifeline
It may only provide a glimmer of hope, but Sir Ben Ainslie is clinging onto INEOS Team UK’s first win in the Prada Cup final.
The Olympic sailing great hopes the momentum has swung in the Brits’ favour, after pegging Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli back to 5-1 in the first-to-seven series.
Trailing 5-0 into race six, Team UK produced their best performance of the challengers final, leading from start to finish in a complete turnaround from earlier in the day.
The Italians blitzed Sir Ben and crew in the opening race on Saturday, moving within two race wins of a spot in the America’s Cup against Emirates Team New Zealand.
But the Team UK skipper is a fighter and some smart sailing in the pre-start gave Brittannia a slight edge on the first leg, which they turned into a 14-second race win.
Sir Ben hopes this is the start of another classic America’s Cup comeback story.
“We are off the mark and that gives us a bit of momentum, and as we know, momentum in sport can be everything. We had one good race and one not so good.
“That breeze coming in the second race – we felt that we were okay in those conditions and we kind of hung in there to win
“Credit to Luna Rossa – they sailed away with the first race and kept the pressure on us throughout the second.
“We will keep fighting all the way here and I am really proud of how the guys dug in in the second race.”
But Team UK will pray for heavy winds on Sunday or risk going home early.
In any conditions under 13 knots of wind, Sir Ben admits the Italians have a superior boat and with 12 knots forecast for Sunday’s two races, the outlook is bleak.
“We will keep tweaking the boat to make it faster in lighter airs – that’s where they are strong,” he says. “We have to get the best out of the boat – make some tweaks and get faster.
“We have made some improvements, but clearly not enough.
“Tomorrow’s [Sunday] forecast looks quite light, so we will see what happens. We would like a bit more breeze, but we will have to take whatever comes.”
Rival Jimmy Spithill remains optimistic about his team’s outlook, regardless of the wind strength.
“Our boat is great. I’m really happy with the boat in all conditions quite frankly.
“I think we are a little smoother in manoeuvring, but we still have a lot to work on.”