One of the two challengers believes they have a good shot at toppling the Cup holders.

Luna Rossa believe they’ve found some weaknesses in Team New Zealand, enough so to suggest a new holder of the America’s Cup following the 2021 event.
The Italian outfit is firmly focused on the Prada Cup challenger series final which begins tomorrow on Auckland’s Waitemat Harbour, where they will battle Ineos Team UK in the best of 13-race series.
The winner will then face Team New Zealand to decide the winner of the Auld Mug.
But veteran Luna Rossa sailor Vasco Vascotto told sailing website Farevela he senses an aura of vulnerability with the Kiwis, if conditions play into their hands.
“If the wind were to blow a little less, then if I were one of the other teams I wouldn’t be so happy to go race against Luna Rossa,” he said.
“I think we have a big chance compared to the other two teams and New Zealand has to make a big choice – they are very strong in all conditions, but with little wind against us they won’t enjoy it so much.”
Vascotto, 51, has competed in two previous America’s Cup campaigns with 2021 being his first with Luna Rossa. He also has won an astounding 25 sailing world championships.
But silverware from the challenger series, let alone the main race, has eluded him. The same can be said for his country of origin in the event. Only twice has an Italian syndicate made the Cup final in 1992 against America³ and 2000 against Team New Zealand, losing on both occasions.
Vascotto along with his teammates are fired up to change that narrative this year.
“For 170 years people have dreamed of being able to bring home the America’s Cup. I, with a pinch of hope and presumption, say that Luna Rossa, if there are certain conditions, probably has a great chance of taking her home something that has hardly happened to anyone in the history of the America’s Cup,” he said.
The Italians endured an average World Series regatta before Christmas with three wins out of six, but are coming off a 4-0 drubbing of American Magic in the challenger semifinal. That improvement offers Vascotto plenty of hope.
“The fact that we have improved our performance exponentially in strong winds, the fact that we can throw it into a fight without the stress that we fall off the foils, the fact of making the turns faster and faster than the others allows us to keep the race alive in every moment.”
On the other end, Sir Ben Ainslie who skippers Ineos Team UK was less brash with his predictions, saying he anticipates a close match-up with Luna Rossa.
“Whichever team comes through this battle, you know that the Kiwis are going to be incredibly fast,” Ainslie said.
“It will be fascinating to see that trade-off between the team that has had perhaps more time to develop [Team New Zealand] and the team that has had more time on the race course, and what it ends up in when we get to the America’s Cup final.”
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