Max Sirena reflects on Luna Rossa Challenge’s progress so far in Auckland
Just before his team stopped sailing for a short break over the Christmas holidays in December, Luna Rossa Challenge skipper Max Sirena sat down at the team base on Auckland’s waterfront to answer some questions from americascup.com
Here are the highlights.
On what the team has learned after using half of its 30 training days: 'We have learned a lot these boats are new machines for everyone. Every day and every moment we spend on the water we learn something new. We’re happy so far. We’ve tested the boat in all conditions from 5 to 28 knots, flat water and bigger sea state so from a commissioning point of view we are very happy. And over the last few days we’ve pushed harder from a performance point of view. Obviously there is a lot of work ahead and next year when we start sailing again we’ll be more in racing and performance mode.
They are fun and exciting to sail up to about 18-20 knots and then over 20 knots you are changing completely the mode of sailing because they are really, really powerful… Over 20 knots (of windspeed) and you don’t laugh too much.'
November 2012 , Auckland (NZL) Luna Rossa AC72 and Emirates Team New Zealand AC 72
On measuring up against the opposition (all teams with two boats) with his one-boat campaign: 'We started a year after all the others, but we’ve already passed Artemis Racing and Oracle Team USA, even if we started one year after them. I want to be honest, I feel pretty strong with our position, with where we are now. Looking what happened to the others, especially to Artemis and Oracle, could happen to us tomorrow. (But) what I’m saying is, look at Oracle – they never stopped from the last campaign. They had a two-boat campaign, but now they’re down to a one-boat campaign. Yes, they probably fixed their first boat, but it’s a compromised boat. They’re not going to do the Cup in that boat. So in the end, I don’t think they’re going to sail more than us, they’re probably going to sail way less than us. And Artemis, probably the same. They were supposed to launch in July… In the end, if you had to look at what we did, I think I’m honestly really happy. The doubt is that if we capsize, we’re probably out of the game…'
On being skipper and building this team: 'We are a young team and we even have a lot of people without Cup experience… The goal for me was to take as many young and new people as possible because one of the bad things with the AC is you are always thinking the same way. I wanted fresh ideas and clean minds. I think it is working pretty well. They are more hungry than the ‘old’ people. And starting late, we can’t afford to waste time on politics, or complaining about something. We just have to push.'
On working with Mr. Bertelli: 'Every minute you spend with him you learn something different which you can apply to the way you work. Every time I’m with him, I’m like a sponge to learn as much as possible. It’s the same with the team. When we know he is coming to the base or to an event, the team lifts. I don’t want to call him a mentor, but he’s a person you can really learn from.'
On building his leadership style: 'From each person I’ve worked with I try to learn and absorb all the positive things. All of us have good and bad ways, so I try to take the good from all of the guys I’ve worked with in the past. I don’t think anyone is perfect or there is a perfect way to work. To win the America’s Cup you have to make the least number of mistakes possible. There is nothing perfect. Perfect doesn’t exist in the Cup.'
On racing on San Francisco Bay: 'I think we have to see still what is going to happen next year. I think it is going to be really tricky to see (the AC72s) sailing on San Francisco Bay in those conditions. I think there is a chance to see a couple of more capsizes.'