It was all over at the start really. Luna Rossa wanted the right and Dean Barker made them pay for it. Luna came off the line to the right but very thin on the hip of Team New Zealand and slow. Luna tacked immediately and TNZ matched them. A long port tack ensued with TNZ to windward. Both boats fairly even through this. As Luna realized they were not going to get enough right shift to overcome the 1 length they game up at the start, they began tacking. TNZ match every tack until one when Luna Rossa tacked so thin on their hip that they were comfortable staying on starboard and heading toward the mark.
It was a 25 second lead at the first mark, 29 seconds at the gate, 35 seconds at the second windward mark and 40 at the finish. Nothing spectacular happened after the start and first 5 minutes on port.
For me, the boats are fairly even, at least in 13 knots of wind. Certainly either boat can win tomorrow’s race. Big changes are not necessary. The start is all important.
Jesse Kames Spithill made a desperate move to get the right with 45 seconds to go. He got flagged by TNZ but no penalty was given. It was the correct call by the umpires but still, a risky move for Luna Rossa. But the move was very telling. Was James feeling some extra pressure to play a meaningful role? Did he feel a little underachieving after yesterday’s race. Both teams wanted the right today. It was the right that paid yesterday. But there is the; “We prefer the right” and the, “Must have the right”. What was the call from Torben and the Met team on Luna Rossa? What came out at the start was; we got the right but had to pay one boat length for it. The right never paid them back that length and that was all she wrote for Race 2.
Now Luna Rossa has another thing to manage? The pressure. The pressure they put on themselves first. Of course every person on that team wants to win. They did not expect this but this is their reality. They don’t need to make big changes. The races are very winnable. They just need to get a slightly better start than TNZ and life will be much easier. Even an even start will be ok, they have the speed and skill to win a dog fight race. There will also be pressure from the media, families, etc. Managing all this, channeling it and turning it all positive requires, maturity and experience. Now is when Francesco de Angelis and Torben Grael need to kick in, tonight and tomorrow morning, before the team go on the water. Over reacting would be just as bad as not reacting enough. They will need to have just the right balance in order to put on their best performance tomorrow.
If they can reverse the trend tomorrow, anything is possible.