The tension is mounting down in Auckland, New Zealand and around the world in anticipation of Wednesday’s match up between America’s Cup holders Emirates Team New Zealand and the Challenger Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team.
In recent days both crews have been spending significant time engaged in high speed duels with their respective chase boats as they try to polish up their pre-start routines and manoeuvres.
With the pre-start activity likely to play such a key role in the racing, we turned to six-time match racing world champion Ian Williams to help us all better understand what the two crews will be trying to achieve in the all-important final two minutes to the start.
I have found the pre-starts during the Christmas Race and Prada Cup really interesting and have certainly enjoyed the return to upwind starts. Offsetting the entry times has of course done away with the dial up phase of the traditional match racing pre-start, and by reducing the entry time to only two mins before the start, the circling (time wasting) phase has been all but removed also.
But one phase of a traditional match racing pre-start – the lead/follow phase – has been replicated quite closely with the new boats, albeit at much increased speeds….
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