America’s Cup 2021: Ben Ainslie’s Team Ineos UK claim first Prada Cup final win

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Team Ineos UK, skippered by Ben Ainslie, got their first win in the Prada Cup final in New Zealand but still trail Italy’s Luna Rossa.

Action resumed on Saturday with two races after Auckland was placed in a 72-hour lockdown earlier this week.

The Italian boat now leads 5-1 in the best-of-13 final series for the right to race holders Team New Zealand for the 36th America’s Cup.

“Getting one back was what we needed,” said Ainslie.

The four-time Olympic gold medallist started both of Saturday’s races aggressively but Ineos conceded a penalty early in race five, allowing Luna Rossa, who had dominated the series so far, to build up an advantage and win by 80 seconds.

But Ainslie controlled race six, covering every move to win by 14 seconds.

He admitted that stronger winds had helped his boat, which is aiming to become the first British outfit to win the America’s Cup.

“Probably 13 knots and above both boats are even but beneath that we struggle. They know it, we know it,” he said.

“We’re happy with a win after being on the wrong side of it in the last few days of racing.”

Luna Rossa, skippered by Jimmy Spithill, can seal the series with wins in Sunday’s two races.

Covid-19 restrictions meant that crowd numbers are now limited to 100 and while Luna Rossa were keen to get back on the water after the Auckland lockdown was lifted, Ineos were in favour of delaying racing so it could take place in front of unlimited crowds.

Agencies

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