Emirates Team New Zealand is off to a 3-0 start in the first-to-five series against the Italians of the Luna Rossa Challenge for the Louis Vuitton Cup. The winner of the Cup also earns the right to race in the Americas Cup against Alinghi (Switzerland).
Today was a day off and a chance for everyone to think about the first three races. They've been close races against two well-matched boats. However, momentum seems to be on the side of New Zealand. The Kiwis have progressively increased the margin of victory in each race going from eight seconds in the first race (crazy close) to forty seconds in the second to 1:38 in the third race (after losing the start pretty badly). What's more, New Zealand has led around all of the marks.
The boats appear to be close in boat speed under the conditions so far, so the difference has been tactics and a bit of luck. In particular, Luna Rossa missed a chance to shut out New Zealand at the start of the third race, failing to tack over the Kiwis after winning the start. New Zealand found better wind on the right side of the course and beat the Italians to the first mark.
We'll see if Luna Rossa can figure out what's going on and pull out a win. They'll need to do something or risk getting skunked.