“Fight hard,” Sir Ben Ainslie was heard telling his INEOS Team UK during the third race of the Prada Cup final this afternoon.
And fight they did.
But it was not enough, as Luna Rossa beat the Brits across the line for the third straight time.
It was a closer race than the two on Saturday, with the Italians victorious by 13 seconds.
Higher winds than Saturday’s races saw the teams move to Course E, where the north easterly wind could be partially blocked by Waiheke Island and allow for calmer swells on the course.
While Saturday’s conditions had favoured the Italians, todays looked to be more suited to the British.
Yet at the prestart, it was more of the same, as Luna Rossa again beat INEOS Team UK off the line, Ainslie audibly frustrated at being out thought by Luna Rossa tactician Jimmy Spithill once more.
But his team were not out of it, keeping within range of the Italians in the opening two legs, with nothing in it as they rounded the second gate.
However, the British team drifted behind in the next upwind leg, and Luna Rossa took a 150m lead into the second half of the race.
That lead ballooned and the race looked to be done, but a mistake round the fourth gate by Luna Rossa saw the Italians lose speed, allowing their opponents to increase the pressure and cut the lead to just 75m.
But Luna Rossa’s Prada Pirelli had been the faster boat upwind throughout the race, and fended their opponents off the right side of the course.
The Italians took a comfortable ten second lead into the final leg and that was enough to see them home, as they crossed the line 13 seconds ahead of INEOS Team UK.