The America's Cup is more than simply a battle on the water. It's a war of wits; a sparring match of strategy in which peaking too soon could lead to your team's early demise.
Luna Rossa helmsman Jimmy Spithill knows how the game is played, and how important the decisions made in the sheds are to their ultimate goal of hoisting the Auld Mug.
The Italian challenger has made strides at every step of the campaign so far, with their 4-0 whitewash of American Magic in the Prada Cup semifinals showing promising signs for the team.
"We definitely made an improvement in the performance, but it's not enough," Spithill told the Herald.
"We're going to need more and that's the name of the game. We will be putting a lot of blood, sweat and tears into these next couple of weeks to really improve both in terms of the way we're sailing it and our technique, but also the actual hardware in the tool itself; really making sure we make some good decisions now leading into it."
Before the series with American Magic, Luna Rossa applied a number of upgrades they had scheduled for that point in the campaign, and have more lined up in the two weeks before the Prada Cup final against Ineos Team UK begins.
While Luna Rossa backed up their talk of improving their performance in the week between the round robins and semifinals with some terrific sailing against American Magic, Spithill knows the team are hungry to do the same thing in the next fortnight in their quest for payback on Ineos Team UK.
The British challenger were unbeaten during the round robin phase of the competition, with the final race between them and Luna Rossa by far the most enthralling contest of the campaign.
But while they have two weeks between races, there will be little downtime in the Luna Rossa camp. On Sunday, it was tools down as all members of the challenge took a day off; for the shore team, it was their first day off since Luna Rossa arrived in New Zealand last September.
From Monday, it will be all hands on deck at Luna Rossa's Base on Hobson Wharf, with the team expecting to use as many hours they can in a day to get their vessel to where they believe it needs to be for their series against Ineos Team UK, which starts on February 13.
"We've definitely got a lot of upgrades planned and, to be honest, you really have to make sure you select and spend the time in the areas," Spithill said.
"There are so many things you could do, and you need to balance time in the shed with time on the water. We're fortunate we've got a great team behind us. They'll work through the night just to allow us to sail the next day, and we'll definitely be looking to utilise that.
"We're very, very fortunate we've got those guys on the tools and that's what gives the guys on the boat all the motivation to get out there and get it done."
Heading into the Cup racing?
• Give yourself plenty of time and think about catching a ferry, train or bus to watch the Cup.
• Make sure your AT HOP card is in your pocket. It's the best way to ride.
• Don't forget to scan QR codes with the NZ COVID Tracer app when on public transport and entering the America's Cup Village.
• For more ways to enjoy race day, visit at.govt.nz/americascup.