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Prada Cup Final, Race 2
INEOS Team UK v Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli
Luna Rossa win by 26 seconds, lead series 2-0
Finish - Italy extend their Prada Cup final lead to 2-0, heading Team UK by 26 seconds for their second win of opening day.
There'll be some soul-searching among the British tonight, but maybe this was a day for them to blow some cobwebs out, after spending a couple of weeks on the sidelines.
Great start by Luna Rossa, who carry some momentum from their whitewash of American Magic in the elimination series.
Join us again tomorrow, as Team UK and Ben Ainslie try to peg back that early deficit.
Sixth leg - Luna Rossa lead is now 500m. They won't lose from here surely.
The Italians lay for the finish from the left.
Fifth leg - Another split, there's no reason for Team UK to simply follow. They need to find an edge somewhere.
Both boats travelling at 35 knots upwind.
Lead steady at about 250 metres.
Team UK tack towards centre and Luna Rossa follow, just covering their rivals now.
Italy hit the right layline and head towards the top gate for the last time. GBR will lay from the left.
Luna Rossa round on one foil and head for the finish. Team UK have slipped a little, they're 26 seconds back.
Fourth leg - Luna Rossa's lead is now beyond 400 metres downwind.
Team UK seem to like the downwind legs and may be whittling that lead back a little here.
Luna Rossa round the right mark at the bottom gate, Team UK still right behind them, 18 seconds back.
Third leg - Boats are split again, Luna Rossa to the right and Team UK to the left. Margin is about 200m to the Italians.
The British have whittled the deficit back to 150m, but tack back to cross.
Luna Rossa cross about 240m ahead and lay for the top gate from the right. Team UK lay from the left.
Team UK round the right mark, just 19 seconds back, still within a margin of error.
Second leg - Luna Rossa head left, Team UK right, as the teams split. Italian lead is now about 280m.
Both boats travelling about 45 knots downwind.
Luna Rossa round the left mark at the bottom gate, Team UK are 17 seconds back, so much closer race.
First leg - The Italians are getting bad air and tack away to the right. If anything, they take a small lead.
Both travelling 36 knots upwind. Luna Rossa tack back towards the first cross.
The British cross 45 metres behind - advantage Luna Rossa.
Luna Rossa hit the left layline and head towards the top gate. Team UK also hit that line and follow them through, 11 seconds back.
Start - Team UK to enter the start box first from port. Both boats already motoring at almost 50 knots.
Team UK reach the right boundary and turn back towards the start, Luna Rossa follow, but they're early.
Team UK have best position here and now travel along the line...
Both boats turn to the line together and head left.
5pm - Next race due for a 5:15pm start. Wind is picking up and both teams are changing their gibs.
Prada Cup Final, Race 1
INEOS Team UK v Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli
Luna Rossa win by 1m 52s, lead series 1-0
4:51pm - "The next race will be very different, I'm sure," says Luna Rossa helmsman Francesco Bruni.
Finish - Luna Rossa laying for the finish now, comprehensive victory to open their Prada Cup final account.
They take it and you can hear the confidence in Jimmy Spithill's voice. "Never in doubt, mate."
Team UK cross the finish, 1m 52s behind, so they did make up some ground on that final leg, but it's academic.
Sixth leg - Britannia takes a wide berth out right, as it lays for the top gate. Deficit is now 2m 03s.
Fifth leg - Team UK top 40 knots towards the bottom gate, 1m 57s behind, so they held their rivals on that leg.
The margin has actually closed to 1.2km on the water.
The Italians laying for the top gate for the last time...
They round the left mark on their foils and head downwind towards the finish.
Fourth leg - The British have lost another 18 seconds on that leg, now 1m 54s and 1.8km behind.
Luna Rossa round the bottom mark and head right, before tacking back towards the centre of the course.
Third leg - The British have lost further ground - their deficit is now 1m 36s and the distance is more than 1km.
Team UK have not been able to put any pressure on the Italians, after their disastrous start sequence and a couple of boundary penalties.
Luna Rossa laying for the top gate... and round smoothly.
Second leg - Team UK round the right mark, 1m 20s behind. Both boats now travelling 36 knots downwind.
Prada jibes right and has extended its lead to 800m. Team UK need a mistake from their rivals to get back in this contest.
Luna Rossa already at the bottom gate, as Team UK cop another boundary penalty further down the course. Replays show the British barely trailled their foil over the line.
First leg - The Italians head left and tack at the boundary. Team UK are still struggling to get on their foils - they're there, but already 600m behind.
The British are penalised again at the boundary, but their rivals are disappearing up the course.
Wind is building, but still marginal. The race is set for six legs, but that could still change.
Team UK have done well to hold the deficit at 600m, but Luna Rossa now approaching the top gate, foiling around the left mark.
Start - Luna Rossa enter the start box perfectly on time, Team UK follow and tack to follow the Italians out to the right.
Team UK have fallen off their foils, so they're on the back foot immediately. Luna Rossa head back to the line, with 30 seconds remaining - they've off the foils too.
Luna Rossa hit the line on their foils, but Team UK are still struggling - they've been pinged for starting 'early', after straying across the line extended.
4:14pm - If anything, the wind has eased off, but Team UK is foiling up the course towards the start.
Rce committee has given the clearance for racing to begin.
4:11pm - Start delayed until 4:18pm.
4:10pm - Marginal sailing conditions, with neither boat reaching the top mark in their warm-ups. Wind of nine knots from northeast, straight down the course.
4:04pm - Luna Rossa will have port entry for the first race between these two rivals. Beautiful day in Auckland, but winds expected to be on the lighter side and delays possible.
Kia ora, good afternoon and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the America's Cup challenger finals between Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and INEOS Team UK on Auckland's Waitematā Harbour and Hauraki Gulf.
After a month filled with more intrigue off the water than on it - typical of the America's Cup - we may now finally see some serious racing.
NYYC American Magic's couldn't win a race BEFORE their spectacular crash and never looked likely to improve that record afterwards, sadly limping out of the event without really firing a shot.
The one real race we've seen so far saw Team UK edge Luna Rossa in their round-robin finale and that contest has set the scene for the Prada Cup final, beginning today.
The British will have used the last two weeks to upgrade a boat that had already shown massive improvements from pre-Christmas racing. If nothing else, the Italians will have honed their teamwork during their non-series against Magic.
TAB odds: Team UK $1.57, Luna Rossa $2.25
Light winds may cause a delay to the start of the Prada Cup final on Saturday, according to regatta director Iain Murray.
While overhead conditions are ideal, Murray says the wind forecast at the scheduled 4:12pm race time between INEOS Team UK and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli could struggle to reach the 6.5 knot minimum required for racing.
"I think we will race today," Murray said at his morning briefing. "But there may be a delay if the wind doesn’t build in time."
The conditions have led Murray to select Course A for the final's opening races, which is set further up Auckland's North Shore.
Saturday's pair of races may also be reduced from six to four legs.
A south-east wind is holding back a north-easterly that is expected to increase and eventually plateau later this afternoon, Murray explains.
The lighter wind will likely favour the Italians, although Team UK's performance during the round-robin dispelled many of the doubts surrounding their ability to perform in such conditions.
The forecast for Sunday's racing is much more encouraging, Murray adds.
"There's a bit more breeze tomorrow and it looks like a lovely day," he says.
Team UK and Luna Rossa square off in a best-of-13 series to determine who will face Emirates Team NZ in the America's Cup next month.