At 6.40 pm local time, Miuccia Prada, with her husband Patrizio Bertelli at her side – the Team Principal of Luna Rossa Challenge 2013 – broke the champagne bottle, thus christening the 22-metre maxi catamaran: mirrored hulls and a 40-metre high wingsail, its aft half also mirrored.
Luna Rossa’s AC 72 is the outcome of the effort that has kept the 70 team members busy for nearly one year; during this time, research, experimentation and construction progressed in lockstep, with use of the most sophisticated and breakthrough technology.
Construction involved 300 people for a grand total of 52,000 working hours - 12,000 to build the wingsail, 17,000 for hulls construction, and 23,000 to build the platform and foils. 500 kg of titanium were used, and there are about 2,000 metres of ropes on board (halyards, sheets, etc.).
Patrizio Bertelli, Team Principal of Luna Rossa Challenge 2013, said: 'This is our fourth challenge for the America’s Cup, certainly the most revolutionary compared to past ones. Launching a yacht is still as exciting as ever, maybe even more so in this case because this boat is so technologically extreme, the outcome of state-of-the-art research and of a huge effort from the whole team.'
Max Sirena, skipper of Luna Rossa Challenge 2013, said: 'Today is a celebration day for all of us. Tomorrow we will begin the first structural tests on the water, and then, as soon as we complete our checks, we will start training. I want to thank all of the team, and in particular shore and design teams, who have worked relentlessly for months, allowing us to comply with the deadlines we had set.'
The launch was followed by a lively party for all the team’s families; 350 guests were present, including the President of Circolo della Vela Sicilia (i.e. the challenging yacht club) Agostino Randazzo, Grant Dalton (CEO of ETNZ Emirates Team New Zealand), Steve Burrett (Commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron), the Ambassador of Italy in New Zealand Alessandro Levi- Sandri, Sir Michael Fay, and the Maori community representative Alec Hawke of Nga?ti Wha?tua o Orakei.
To see TVNZ's live news coverage of the start click here