America's Cup 2021: Team UK court disaster, but can't halt Luna Rossa dominance

INEOS Team UK have narrowly avoided disaster in their America's Cup challenger final against Luna Rossa, but still trail their rivals 4-0 on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf.

Struggling to make any impression on their rivals' dominance in the best-of-13 Prada Cup series, the British were desperate to gain an upper hand at the start of their fourth contest, but briefly lost control of their AC75 foiling monohull.

Britannia rose high out of the water and threatened to topple over, before finally splashing down, losing all momentum and conceding the initiative - again - to the Italians, who took full toll and sailed away to victory.

Skipper Sir Ben Ainslie was cross the deck when the scare happened and almost fell overboard, before regaining his poise.

"I don't know what happened, to be honest," he says. "We'll have to go away and look at it.

"We wanted to be aggressive at the start. It was quite an aggressive move and we were in a good spot, but we lost control of the boat, which you can't afford to do.

"Don't worry, I'm fine... I'll keep going."

So far, the Italian challengers-of-record, with Jimmy Spithill and Francesco Bruni at the helm, have decisively out-manoeuvred their opponents in the pre-start, which would be a sore point for Ainslie, widely touted as the best sailor on the planet.

Helped by British mistakes, Luna Rossa took both starts on Sunday and never let their opponents into either contest, winning by 13 and 41 seconds respectively.

A feature of the racing was the number of tacks and jibes each boat made over the course of the journey, putting incredibly pressure on grinders to generate required power.

The British were expected to find stronger winds to their advantage, but failed to make any impression.

"Today's racing was all about getting off the line in front, which we did a great job of, and then a real foot-on-the-throat approach," says Spithill.

"The boys on the handles did an outstanding job - it was tack for tack, and we were gaining every time.

"The scoreline doesn't reflect how close it is - you're just a split second away from a mistake that can really end it. We definitely made a few today that we've got to sharpen up on."

Luna Rossa are now only three wins away from a date with Emirates Team NZ for the 'Auld Mug' next month and have the opportunity to grab another two of those on Wednesday, when racing resumes.

Join us on Wednesday for live updates of the Prada Cup final between Luna Rossa and Team UK