Luna Rossa earned its second point of the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America's Cup challenger series, in light winds on Tuesday, but should it count?
The Italian boat finished the solo race in 43 minutes, six seconds, surpassing the 10.6 mile course's 40-minute time limit. According to official rules, if both competitors exceed the time limit, races are supposed to be abandoned immediately and rescheduled, but the race committee waived the rule on Tuesday, allowing Luna Rossa's point to stand.
“Tomorrow we were planning to sail anyway, so it was not a really big difference for us,” Luna Rossa skipper Max Sirena said.
Luna Rossa sailed in light winds averaging 9.37 knots, which is why it didn't complete the race within 40 minutes. The time limit exists to ensure that races take place under wind conditions deemed suitable for competition.
Despite the rule, America's Cup spokespeople said the race committee awarded the point to Luna Rossa because its scheduled competitor, Artemis Racing, is currently sidelined. Technically, Emirates Team New Zealand and Artemis Racing could protest the race committee's decision.
The Italian boat averaged 17.7 knots (roughly 20 miles per hour) on its second solo run of the round robin, hitting a top speed of 26.4 knots (30 miles per hour).
“It was painful today,” Sirena said. “But it is what it is.”
Luna Rossa was planning to use Tuesday's unopposed sail as an opportunity to improve its downwind speed after losing to New Zealand by five minutes and 23 seconds in the regatta's first head-to-head race on Saturday. New Zealand won the race, in large part, because it sailed 3.4 knots faster than Luna Rossa on the course's downwind legs.
But with little wind, Luna Rossa couldn't make adjustments on Tuesday.
“That is why we are a little bit upset,” Sirena said.
Despite the conditions, Sirena said the run through the course was useful.
“Every time you spend time in the water is a really big learning process for us,” he said.
Luna Rossa sailed alone because Artemis Racing, which capsized its 72-foot catamaran in May leading to the tragic death of two-time Olympian Andrew “Bart” Simpson, is still completing construction of its second boat. Artemis Racing has completed structural testing of the boat and it plans to hit the water on Monday.
New Zealand leads the Louis Vuitton Cup round robin with four points after six days of racing. Luna Rossa earned its first point in a solo race last week.
The next head-to-head race between Luna Rossa and New Zealand is scheduled for Sunday.
Artemis Racing vs. Emirates Team New Zealand, 12:15 p.m.
Luna Rossa Challenge vs. Artemis Racing, 12:15 p.m.
Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Luna Rossa Challenge, 12:15 p.m.
Luna Rossa Challenge vs. Emirates Team New Zealand, 12:15 p.m.
Note: Artemis Racing isn't expected to be ready to race this week