INEOS CEO Jim Ratcliffe with British Olympic sailor Ben Ainslie in London, Britain, April 26 2018. Picture: REUTERS/TOBY MELVILLE
INEOS CEO Jim Ratcliffe with British Olympic sailor Ben Ainslie in London, Britain, April 26 2018. Picture: REUTERS/TOBY MELVILLE

Bengaluru — INEOS Team UK cruised to an 18-second win over Luna Rossa in tough conditions on Sunday to make it four victories from four starts in the opening weekend of the challenger series, which decides who will face Team New Zealand (TNZ) in the America’s Cup.

A dramatic shift in the wind had earlier forced organisers to stop the day’s opening race with Ben Ainslie’s Team UK aboard Britannia leading after four legs at Waitemata Harbour in Auckland.   

The race was then restarted after the course was realigned. In conditions that were vastly different from the light winds teams experienced on Saturday, Team UK excelled to seal the win and put themselves in a commanding position.

New York Yacht Club’s American Magic were denied their first points in the series when Patriot capsized in the second race of the day after encountering a huge gust of wind while going into a sharp turn.

They were leading Luna Rossa when disaster struck, handing their Italian opponents their second victory of the series from four races. All members of the American team were accounted for before efforts began to save the boat.

The third round-robin races begin on January 22 with Ainslie’s side in a double-header as Team UK face winless American Magic first before meeting Luna Rossa.

The winner of the series that ends on February 22 will take on holders TNZ in a series of head-to-head races from March 6 for the America’s Cup, known as the “Auld Mug”. 

Reuters

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