by Luna Rossa
Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand, racing on the Hauraki Gulf, December 2012
On January 7, 2012, the first of the two AC 45 Luna Rossa catamarans was launched in Auckland, after rushing against time to put the yacht together and be ready to start training with Emirates Team New Zealand.
'It feels like yesterday, but it’s almost one year!' says Max Sirena, skipper of Luna Rossa Challenge, as he gets off the yacht after a training session on the Hauraki Gulf, venue for the 2000 and 2003 America's Cups.
'An intense year' Max continues 'when we lost not even a half day: we reached important goals and made substantial progress to make up for our late start. That was definitely a disadvantage, but from a different angle it was also a driver that pushed us to work better, more efficiently and quickly, by optimising everything.'
'In the last eleven months, we raced in the America’s Cup World Series, with excellent results, and at the end of October we launched our AC 72. It was not a point of arrival, rather a restart: we challenged ourselves to get to know the monster… Cautiously at first – our main concern was that of avoiding any damage that may delay our preparation! – then as we grew more and more confident, we pushed on the throttle ever more.'
'We already sailed the yacht 13 times – in all wind ranges and sea conditions: from 5 knots and a flat sea to 27 knots with big waves – and we are planning to sail the 72 three more times before the Christmas holidays'.
'Every day we sailed we learnt something new, and we discovered the yacht’s potential little by little. In this stage, we split our training days in three parts: performance, onboard system mechanics and match racing with Team New Zealand. The latter is the best way to understand whether everything works and to make both technical and sports progress.'
'Today we can officially say that Luna Rossa does not just fly on the foils developed by our design team, but also that she flies very fast: many times we reached 37 knots of speed! It is an achievement we obtained thanks to hard work of all the team, and of the shore team and design team in particular, that allowed us to plunge on so fast; I want to thank them on behalf of all of us!'
'Now the team deserves some rest. On December 19, we will suspend our activities until the new year, and on January 7 we will resume both the training programme and the technical and sports development: next year is the year of the America’s Cup!'