Ineos Team UK tactician Giles Scott has explained why he believes his team can revive their hopes in the Prada Cup final, despite the stark reality of their situation.
The British team are 4-0 down in the first-to-seven series, with Luna Rossa only needing three more wins from a possible nine races to seal passage to the America’s Cup match next month.
Aside from the intimidating scoreline, it’s the manner of the defeats that will have caused concern for Sir Ben Ainslie’s team.
They have yet to win any of the 24 legs sailed so far in the match and have lost three of four starts.
On the one occasion they were even off the line, the Italians gained ascendancy at the vital first cross and never looked back.
The British are facing a team who have recorded eight straight wins, and seem to be improving with every outing, while the suspicion remains that Luna Rossa’s boat is now a shade faster, especially upwind.
But Scott, whose on-board chemistry with skipper Sir Ben Ainslie was seen as their point of difference in the round robin series in January, remains defiant, believing a comeback is still possible.
“I don’t think too much has changed [since January]”, Scott told the Herald. “In the round robin the boats were pretty well matched, and they are still pretty evenly matched.”
“In those round robin races we sailed better and the races so far in the final we have fallen on the wrong side of it. It has come down to small errors. We have made a few of them and we need to iron them out.”
Last Sunday was a case in point.
Wanting to take the initiative in the first race, Ainslie and Scott overplayed their hand in the pre-start, looking for a potential hook move that wasn’t there, and lost that duel.
Before the second race Britannia reared violently out of the water – as the crew lost control of the foils for a moment – which condemned then to another deficit from the start.
It’s been quite a change. During the round robin Ineos Team UK only trailed in five of 28 legs against American Magic and Luna Rossa and won all three races against the Italians, by margins of 28 seconds, 18 seconds and 33 seconds. The biggest deficit they faced in any race was 19 seconds.
Back then it felt like superior crew work was the difference, and Scott is adamant that the human factor will again determine the outcome, as the series resumes on Saturday.
“It inevitably will do, as the boats get closer and closer,” said Scott. “It’s been great for the sport in that, in the windier conditions we are evenly matched.
“As a sailing team we are not going to hide behind that; we have a boat that is capable of winning races up range, like we had in the last two races. It comes down to small errors, we made a few and we are going to do whatever we can to rectify that.
“We are ready, raring to go and we want to get back out there on the water and rectify the wrongs that we made last time.”
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