Luna Rossa have plenty of hurdles to overcome if they're to meet Team New Zealand in the America's Cup match in March, but that isn't stopping them from doing their due diligence on the Defender.
For any Challenger hoping to pry the Auld Mug away from the Kiwi outfit, keeping an eye on Team New Zealand is an important part of the campaign.
Speaking to media on Friday, Luna Rossa helmsman Jimmy Spithill said the team had been doing plenty of reconnaissance when it came to the Defender, but were first and foremost focused on earning the shot to race in March's match.
"We have guys following them, keeping an eye on them; we know they just launched a new foil," Spithill said. "
They look very, very sharp, but to be quite honest with you, we really have to focus on tomorrow. Yes, we're keeping an eye on them, but 100 per cent of the team is focused on tomorrow, going out there and getting a win."
Luna Rossa will be hopeful the systems onboard their AC75 are working as they should this weekend, after their race management system let them down in the opening weekend. Spithill said in their race against American Magic on Sunday, in which they were awarded the victory when the Americans capsized, the team had to rely on other means to work their way around the course.
"We had significant issues. In that last race against American Magic we were blind; we had nothing. The only thing we had that was working was a $50 stopwatch timer. That was it.
That was how Checco (Francesco Bruni) and I and the boys had to do the race. So, it was full credit to the team to get off the line well and to get out there, stay in the race, and only get one boundary penalty. We did have significant issues there.
For Luna Rossa to finish atop the Prada Cup round robin standings and move straight into the finals, they will need to get across the finish line first this weekend in both races against Ineos Team UK.
The British syndicate remain unbeaten after four races, however with American Magic ruled out of the weekend due to having to rebuild their damaged yacht, two wins over Sir Ben Ainslie's crew will see Luna Rossa finish on equal points with their UK counterparts. But as they would have won the last race between the two, they would win the tiebreaker and proceed straight to the final.
If Luna Rossa drop one race this weekend, Team UK will proceed into the Prada Cup final while Luna Rossa take on American Magic in next weekend's semifinal.
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.