America's Cup: Luna Rossa lament 'the Kiwi puff' that let Team NZ off the hook

Luna Rossa have labelled the wind shift which deceived them the Kiwi puff as they lost a thriller to Team New Zealand on Tuesday that has the Americas Cup at match point.
Neck and neck racing that featured six lead changes eventually fell the way of the defenders as they pounced on the only error of the race just before the fifth gate to sail away to a flattering 30s victory.

Luna Rossa co-helmsman Francesco Bruni put his hand up for the costly call to split away, allowing Team New Zealand to gain the right-hand side of the course and a gust that propelled them to 6-3 on the scoreboard.

Luna Rossa star made a costly call to help Team New Zealand to match point in the Americas Cup.

When we went to that crucial moment, I was in charge unfortunately, and I saw a very light patch in front of me. Honestly, I couldnt see the black band (of wind on water), what we call the Kiwi puff now, behind me, a frank Bruni said.

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We had a discussion to protect the left, we did it, and probably I would do the same mistake another time.

David White/Stuff
Team NZ's Glenn Ashby, right, and Luna Rossa helmsman Jimmy Spithill share a moment after Tuesday's press conference.

Bruni said trying to get the better of Team New Zealand was like trying to drown a fish underwater such was the relentless nature of Kiwis who have defied theories by losing starts but winning races, constantly hunting down the Italians.

With race 10 abandoned as the wind lightened and shifted on the Stadium Course under North Head that requires a decent south-westerly, Luna Rossa were handed an unexpected chance to regroup.

Brunis co-helmsman Jimmy Spithill promised to make the most of that.

Luna Rossa often had Team New Zealand hot on their tail in race nine of the Americas Cup

I think it is an advantage that we could go back and look at that race, take the lessons, learn from it, and come back stronger, Spithill said, continuing his trademark fighting talk that has characterised this battle.

My experience from these sorts of situations, and weve all been there before, is you dont have to look far into the future, the scoreline really doesnt matter, the only thing that matters is winning that next race. Thats exactly how we are going to approach it.

Spithill was certainly gracious in his latest loss, their fourth on the trot as Team New Zealand continue to gain the momentum.

The scoreline doesnt lie, these guys won the only race of the day. I think there is a lot of respect amongst these sailing teams, and we enjoy the fight.

We live to see another day, and we are looking forward to getting out there.

Luna Rossa skipper Max Sirena and his team must now win four races while Team New zealand have to win only one.

Spithill felt the new setting on Tuesday had brought the best out in the two teams, and that was witnessed by anyone who watched what was undoubtedly the best race of The Match.

That was a fun race to be involved in, obviously we would have liked to have come out on top, but man, that was a lot of fun, he said.

We have been speaking for days now about if we could get on course C we are going to see some action, and that is exactly what you saw. It is a dynamic course and things can change very quickly.

We are disappointed about the race today, no doubt about that, but Im excited ... we live to fight another day.

When we came back to the dock there were no heads down or negative energy from any of our team mates or our fans and supporters.

Theyre up, and they're ready for it. Lets get out there tomorrow, I wish we could go right now.

Praised for his match-racing skills that have meant such tight action, Spithill smiled: Id just prefer to win by a big margin, to be honest.


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