Displacement racing is back at the America's Cup – and it might be here to stay.
Questions over the appropriate wind limits for this regatta will continue, after a bizarre second day of the Prada Cup.
Across the two races on Saturday the boats spent almost as much time parked in the water as they did on their foils, on a frustrating day for all teams.
The patchy breeze fluctuated across the afternoon, generally between seven and 11 knots, though it was consistently lower than Friday.
In those conditions the races became "a lottery" according to American Magic helmsman Dean Barker.
"You could call that a lottery yeah…pretty marginal," said Barker after their first-up loss to Luna Rossa. "You question why you want to do that as part of the event. [It's] swings and roundabouts and obviously it didn't go that well for us. It is just connecting the dots. Everyone is struggling [with these conditions]."
Barker's frustrations were accentuated by a tough day for American Magic, who remain winless in the Prada Cup as their rivals handled the conditions better.
"From my perspective there is nothing to turn around," said a defiant American Magic skipper Terry Hutchinson. "We just need to stay patient, trust in ourselves, trust in our team and keep chipping along. There is a lot of meat left on this bone."
The New York-based syndicate had their moments in both races – fighting back after awful starts – but it wasn't enough.
Ineos Team UK continued their impressive resurgence on Saturday, to bank their third consecutive win. It was hard work – they took almost 43 minutes to complete the shortened four-leg race, while American Magic were still halfway down the last leg.
Luna Rossa had earlier nailed their first victory, in a race with multiple lead changes.
Race director Iain Murray predicted a tricky day and that was evident early in the first contest, with both boats off their foils.
At different stages Luna Rossa and American Magic held leads of almost half a leg, only to be hauled in.
It's the reality of racing in these foiling AC75s in fluky breezes.
The Italians were away swiftly on the foils from the start, while the Americans limped over the line.
Luna Rossa's lead at the first mark was a staggering 7m37s, but that became irrelevant when they bumped down. American Magic then gained the ascendancy, though it was fleeting.
It took Luna Rossa 23 minutes to complete the first leg, with Patriot only 60 seconds behind.
But the United States boat got in more trouble midway through third leg and the race was over.
The Italians topped 40 knots during the fourth leg and crossed the line six minutes before the time limit expired.
"It was very challenging," admitted Luna Rossa co-helmsman Francesco Bruni. "It was one of those races you can win or lose very easily. It was really demanding for the boys."
The race confirmed the hypothesis that Luna Rossa is strong when the breeze is weaker.
"In the light wind definitely our big foils are helping us," said Bruni. "It's a combination of things, probably sails, power in the sails, power in the foils.
"We like the light wind definitely, but today was weird because it was more gaining in the puffs, you had a difference of three, four knots. It was a matter of staying in the pressure."
Unfortunately for American Magic, the pattern repeated in their second race. They were marooned before the start, coming off their foils just after they entered the start box.
The British were ahead by more than 900m on the first leg, before both boats parked at the top mark for a period.
That was the closest American Magic got, as Ineos Team UK were better at navigating the shifty conditions.
The British face the Italians in the first race on Sunday, with Luna Rossa backing up against American Magic in the second contest.
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.