Luna Rossa takes advantage of New Zealand's misfortune to notch first win of Louis Vuitton Finals 

click to enlarge Luna Rossa, above, took advantage of New Zealand's malfunction to tie the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals at one win apiece. - JONATHAN FERREY/GETTY IMAGES
  • Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
  • Luna Rossa, above, took advantage of New Zealand's malfunction to tie the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals at one win apiece.

Luna Rossa Challenge found its first glimmer of hope in the Italians' quest to win the Louis Vuitton Cup, though it took some technical difficulties on Team Emirates New Zealand's boat to give Luna Rossa its first win of the challenger finals.

Though there were two races scheduled to take place Sunday, for the second day in a row, the conditions on the water worsened after the first race to the point that America's Cup officials postponed the second match.

"Obviously we would like to win the race by ourselves and not really count on the breakdown of the other boat," Luna Rossa skipper Max Sirena said. "But we knew since Day 1 that there would be a lot of breakdowns in this boat, and we had to be ready for the opportunities to come up."

New Zealand reported it was a problem with the battery pack in the daggerboard hydraulics that caused the team to pull out of the race Sunday, despite holding a lead of nearly 400 meters heading into the upwind leg of the race.

This marks the second day of headaches for New Zealand. The 72-foot catamaran took a hard nosedive coming around one of the markers in Saturday's race, tossing two crew members overboard. The Kiwis recovered from that near disaster to win the series opener, and floater-grinder Derek Saward said it did not contribute to Sunday's issue.

The battery pack was replaced following Sunday's race and Saward said the team was ready for a second race before conditions forced that to be postponed until today.

"Last night, the shore crew worked tirelessly to get the boat repaired after our little incident yesterday," he said. "Part of the motivation today was to pay those guys back with a victory. So it's disappointing to go home without a win."

There was relatively little damage to the AC72s during the first two rounds of the Louis Vuitton Cup, but now the problems are piling up for both teams. Luna Rossa suffered cracked ribs in its wing sail Sunday, and though the Italians would have been able to run a second race, the damage may be a bad sign of things to come as the series goes on.

"I think the main issue here is to do two races per day with this boat," Sirena said. "It's a pretty fragile boat and probably they are not at the moment built to do two races per day, but it is what it is, at the end it's going to be the same for everyone."

In order to hold a race, the wind must stay below a certain speed, depending on how quickly the tide is moving, for a specified time period. The wind Sunday was deemed too strong to hold a second race when it stayed around 20 knots for a long stretch following the completion of the first race.

The first of two scheduled races today is set to kick off at 12:10 p.m.

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