Miuccia Prada shattered the traditional champagne bottle across the bowsprit of the Luna Rossa AC72 catamaran that will carry her famous fashion brand into battle
on the continuing quest to win the America’s Cup for Italy. Although the Italian flag flew large over the base, this latest addition to the AC72 fleet entered the waters of the Waitemata Harbor in Auckland, New Zealand, where Luna Rossa made its Cup debut a dozen years ago.
Click image for larger image
As the Italian yacht was lowered into the water for the first time, fireworks erupted and the crowd of invited guests burst into cheers and applause. Among the guests were Regatta Director Iain Murray, Louis Vuitton’s Christine Belanger and a large contingent of Emirates Team New Zealand personnel, including Grant Dalton and skipper Dean Barker.
The two teams, Prada and ETNZ have entered an agreement to build identical boats and conduct trial races against each other in Auckland over the next five or six months of the southern hemisphere summer. Having decided to re-enter the Cup arena quite late, Patrizio Bertelli said the challenge would not have been viable without the technical design sharing arrangement with Emirates Team New Zealand.
Under the Protocol, the hulls of the Italian challenger were built at the Persico Marine facility in Northern Italy and were shipped to New Zealand in June. Most of the components, including the towering, 130-foot tall wing sail, were built in New Zealand.
Click image for a larger image
Bertelli, who confirmed that Luna Rossa was committed to competing in the 34th and 35th America’s Cup regattas, said the Italian team had also changed some elements of their boat, including foils and soft sails, to test different concepts.
Skipper Max Sirena said the team would take a step-by-step approach to learning how to handle their new boat. “We will not go out sailing in 25 knots on day one,” he said. “In the AC72, there are a lot of tricky systems to test. It is not just the structural part. There are the foils, the rudder systems, the wing – a lot of systems to check before we can start to push.
Asked how long he thought the team would take to get up to speed, Sirena replied: “We have watched Emirates Team New Zealand, Oracle and Artemis very closely. We don’t know how long it will take, but if everything goes well by the middle of the second week in November, we hope to line up around the race course with ETNZ.”
26 October 2012 22:51