Reams of words will flow about the thorough beating Luna Rosa administered to Frackeos in the recently completed Prada Cup (7-1), but there is only one real issue that ultimately mattered.
No doubt Ben Ainslie on GBR got beat with alarming frequency at the start line through all 8 races by Jimmy Spithill. It was both troubling to watch from the pome perspective, and no doubt awesome from the eye-talion camp. Spithill put on a modern-day AC starting line clinic that Ainslie really had no answer for.
And while there weren’t a lot of obvious differences between how the boats were sailed, one thing became abundantly clear – Ineos is a dog.
We’re the differences huge? No they were not, but Ineos almost always looked disadvantaged. Notably struggling, especially in lighter breeze, the boat made it obvious that it did not like to turn – at all. It just seemed to park up and then took forever to finally get going. The foils always seemed to be making a fuss going through the water – it just looked like way too much drag. Awkward looking, oddly disproportionate, with too much keel/skeg, it seemed that it would rather just drop off it’s foils and go home than keep up the charade.
The ungainly Britt spaceship appeared to be the opposite of a modern F-1 car. F1 cars look the way they do (not exactly gorgeous) because the wind tunnel and aerodynamics, etc. over the years have determined that a particular shape is faster. Ineos was a one-off that had no such multi-year development. It was simply the result of what one team, in one effort, thought was better. Compared to Luna Rosa, which is sleek, beautiful to the eye (as beautiful as these odd ducks can get), with more of a minimalist hull design, Ineos just didn’t look right, nor fast.
And it wasn’t, and that is my premise: Ineos was just not fast enough, nearly all the time. While LR didn’t start this entire series as unbeatable, they obviously had a good baseline of a good boat that they continually improved, made faster and sailed better. Ineos was kind of the opposite in that when push came to shove, they simply got shoved on their ass by a clearly superior boat and program.
Props to Luna Rosa, who must now hope the ETNZ doesn’t do to them what they just did to the Britts, and won’t it be fascinating to watch!
As for Ineos, well I routinely criticized the team for taking millions of dollars of dirty money. Horribly dirty fracking money. The kind of thing that is the antithesis to what our sport should be about – clean water, less pollution and a true concern and stewardship of our amazing environment.
I thought karma may have a say in this, and I may well be right, but karma doesn’t make you produce a boat like that. They once again have badly missed the target, and similar to what has been said about the Britts for many decades, maybe next time. – ed.
Photo Copyright: C. Gregory and thanks to Sailweb.