Luna Rossa cruises to win over Artemis
Italy’s Luna Rossa breezed to a second straight victory over Sweden’s Artemis Racing Wednesday in the semi-finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup.
Luna Rossa completed the 15.4-nautical-mile course on San Francisco Bay in a time of 54 minutes, 26 seconds, finishing just over two minutes ahead of Artemis.
“We are feeling better,” said helmsman Chris Draper of Luna Rossa who seized a 2-0 lead in the series.
“We got a few things to work on. We sailed a good race but we can sail much, much better than that.”
This was just the second race for Artemis who made their much-anticipated second-boat debut on the bay on Tuesday. It was also just the 10th day Artemis had its AC72 vessel on the water.
The team suffered a devastating setback in May when their first AC72 catamaran capsized and broke apart in training. British crewman Andrew Simpson died in the accident.
Since then, Artemis have been working feverishly to get their second AC72, dubbed “Big Blue” for its striking navy blue hulls, ready to race.
“A really frustrating day,” Artemis’ Nathan Outteridge said Wednesday. “We need more time on that boat. We had some good moments but a lot of it was tricky. It was a difficult day.”
They missed the round-robin stage, in which Emirates Team New Zealand defeated Luna Rossa to advance to the challenger finals.
Luna Rossa trailed coming off the start line Wednesday, but was able to pop up on its foils, rounding the first reach mark before taking the lead from Artemis on the scenic course that takes the catamarans past the long-shuttered Alcatraz Island prison.
Luna Rossa easily stretched its lead as Artemis struggled, getting onto its hydrofoils in winds that were lighter than Tuesday’s contest.
Artemis closed the gap on the second upwind leg but couldn’t catch Luna Rossa, who hit a top speed of 37.12 knots (42 mph). Artemis reached a top speed of 34.49 knots.
The winners of the series will take on Emirates Team New Zealand in the challenger finals for the right to face defenders Oracle Team USA in the America’s Cup finals in September.