The Italian America’s Cup challenger Luna Rossa duly progressed to the final of the Louis Vuitton Cup elimination series after a clean sweep 4-0 win over Sweden’s Artemis Racing.
The Swedes knew it was the last chance to mount a challenge and threw everything in to an aggressive pre-start only to incur a penalty for a slight collision and then picked up two more penalties for running outside the course boundary lines.
The Prada-backed Italians now meet Emirates Team New Zealand in a best of 13 starting on 17 August.
Chris Draper, British Olympic medallist helmsman, on Luna Rossa, said: “The team has taken a good few steps forward the past couple of weeks. For sure we’ve improved a lot, but we’ve all seen the Kiwis (Emirates Team New Zealand) are very, very solid. We’re going to have to sail incredibly well, and we need to get more performance out of our boat to be competitive with them.”
Iain Percy skipper of Artemis Racing, on overcoming the loss of crewman and close friend Andrew Simpson said: “Any group of people that’s been through something as terrible as we did, it has a very gelling component to it. We became close as a team, I guess like anyone who’s been involved in an accident. One thing for sure, that allows you to go forward with a lot of confidence as a team. I think it’s going to be incredibly strong in the future, and Andrew will be a big part of that.”
Team boss and backer Torbjorn Tornqvist said afterwards that the challenge would continue for the next America’s Cup, though it is expected that top management may be reorganised. Messages from around the world praised Artemis for the huge effort made in recovering from its boat being all but destroyed in the training accident that led to the death of Andrew Simpson in May. The final race was only the 13 time that the new boat had been sailed.
In Chicago, defending world champion Ian Williams and his Team GAC Pindar were knocked out in the semi-finals of the fourth Alpari World Match Racing Tour by Keith Swinton. The Australian then went one up in the final against Taylor Canfield of the US Virgin Islands, as did Williams in the third-place play-off against Bjorn Hansen of Sweden.