Win the start, win the race remained the key for success on day three of the America’s Cup in Auckland as Team New Zealand and Italy’s Luna Rossa again won a race each on Saturday to be locked at 3-3.
However, both races disproved the theory that the boat entering the starting box from the starboard side was at a disadvantage.
Unlike the first four races in the best-of-13 series on Waitemata Harbour, the boat that entered on the favoured port side in races five and six was beaten in the pre-start and was never able to make up the difference.
Luna Rossa, considered the outsiders in the 36th edition of the America’s Cup match, went 3-2 ahead when they timed their start to race five perfectly while defending holders Team New Zealand fell off their foils.
But it was the reverse in the following race when an error cost Luna Rossa their port-side advantage allowing Team New Zealand to lead over the start line and remain in control through to the finish.
“It was a good way to finish another tight day,” Blair Tuke, the flight controller on the high-tech Team New Zealand yacht, said.
“The boat obviously had that big speed difference at the start, very pleasing. But we’ve still got a lot of work to do, it’s a tight battle.”
Luna Rossa helmsman Jimmy Spithill said he was happy with the position of his yacht heading to the start of a race he was expected to win only to get caught in light airs.
“We just could not get the boat going back to the line. Almost a reversal of the first start when the other guys fell into a light spot and couldn’t get going.
“It was unfortunate but there were not a lot of passing lanes from then on. It’s a little bit of a minefield out there especially in the start box.”
Luna Rossa opened up a 22 second lead on the first leg of race five, and although they were in the dominant position they had only increased the margin by a further five seconds at the end of the sixth and final leg.
When Team New Zealand controlled race six they were 51 seconds ahead after the first leg and pulled away to be one minute 41 seconds in front at the finish.