America’s Cup - Sport

Speedy Kiwis have America against the ropes

  • Artemis helmsman Francesco Bruni

Francesco Bruni, the Artemis Racing helmsman, admits to being utterly surprised by the speed that the Emirates Team New Zealand boat has achieved in the America’s Cup Match.

The Kiwis have been a dominant force throughout this AC35 Cup campaign and barring another meltdown, the likes of which they suffered in San Francisco four years ago, Bruni predicts an unhappy ending for defenders Oracle Team USA, who are four races away from surrendering the Cup.

“It’s been a big surprise to see how fast Team New Zealand are,” said Bruni, who defeated Sir Ben Ainslie in the final of the 2013 King Edward VII Gold Cup. “They have been really dominating so far.”

Bruni said the Kiwis had a very “strong package”, which he believed had given them the edge over their rivals. “It’s mainly the foil designs on their boat,” the Italian added. “They have done a very good job there and also on their systems and wing. It’s a very strong package.

“Oracle seems to be a little bit against the ropes. We will see what they will do.

“It’s been a great event and I am really looking forward to next weekend. It’s going to be great racing.

“Oracle will get closer, but probably not enough.”

Bruni and his Artemis team-mates reached the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Play-off Finals, where they lost 5-2 against the rampant Kiwis.

“We did a good job in the America’s Cup,” Bruni said. “I am quite happy with how things went and Artemis should be proud of what we have done.

“Maybe with a little bit more luck, we could have gone a bit farther. But Team New Zealand has done a good job and if they win the Cup, we can say we lost against the strongest team.”

As for the future of the Swedish America’s Cup syndicate, Bruni added: “It looks like Artemis want to keep going. Torbjörn Törnqvist, the team owner, is really passionate about this and wants to have another chance.

“He is happy with the work we have done and hopes the next one will be the good one, so I hope that we keep going as a team.”

As for his own America’s Cup future with Artemis, Bruni said: “Our contracts finish at the end of July, and so it’s still a little bit early days now.

“But I will keep sailing with him [Törnqvist] as a tactician for his RC44. I am going to Italy next week for the second race of the season, so I’m in touch with the team and we will see what happens.”

Bruni was a member of the Artemis team who were crowned RC44 match race champions last November.

Before joining the Swedish team, he served as a tactician with Italian syndicate Luna Rossa at the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco.

Comparing the AC72 foiling catamaran he raced at the previous America’s Cup to the AC50 being raced in this instalment, Bruni said: “The 50 is a better boat. The 72 was too big and hard to manage logistically.

“Don’t get me wrong, the 72 was a great boat. But the 50 is higher-performance for less logistical problems, so it’s a win-win.”