Wed, 03 Mar 2021

WELLINGTON, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- The first two races of the PRADA Cup, a key international yachting event, officially kicked off on Friday in Auckland.

INEOS Team UK went from zero to hero by winning both races with solid starts, smooth sailing and protecting their leads over their opponents, the American Magic and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team, a result few people had predicted before Friday.

As the clock counted down on the first race of the day, the pressure was on for both INEOS Team UK and American Magic, but for the British there was no doubt that the stress of not having won a single race since arriving in Auckland was weighing heavily on the entire team.

Both boats had made a perfect timed run into the start, crossing the line on time and at full speed. But as INEOS Team UK were the first to tack off onto port to head for the right-hand side of the course, there were the first hints that the British favored this side of the race track.

As the first lap was completed, INEOS Team UK had stretched out their lead to 19 seconds. Another lap of the course saw a big stretch in the distance between the pair to one minute eight seconds after lap two.

From there little changed, INEOS Team UK sailing confidently and accurately throughout to increase their lead to one minute 20 seconds by the finish.

"That feels a lot better than six consecutive losses," said skipper Ainslie shortly after the finish. "That was a good team effort."

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