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America's Cup: Olympic Gold medalists join Luna Rossa Challenge

'Luna Rosa sailing their two AC45’s - America’s Cup World Series San Francisco 2012 Event 1, Open Training Day 2'    Gilles Martin-Raget: AmericasCup©    Click Here to view large photo

Luna Rossa Challenge 2013, challenger to the 34th America's Cup, has added two Olympic Gold medalists to its sailing team along with three other sailing crew.

The pair become the third combination from the Olympic 49er class to join and America's Cup team. Aside from competing in the 2012 Olympics, Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernández were leading the crew on Telefonica in the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race, overall leader for much of the event until they lost two rudders in two minutes on the final approach to Lorient, France on the penultimate leg of the Round the World Race.

Joining the four time Italian America's Cup Challenger are: Simone de Mari (foredeck / grinder), Iker Martinez de Lizarduy (helmsman / afterguard), Xabier Fernández Gaztañaga (trimmer / foredeck), Marco Montis (grinder) and Wade Morgan (grinder / foredeck).

2004 Gold medalist in the 49er class, Iker Martinez and Xabi Xabier Fernández sailing in the 2012 Olympic Regatta Weymouth, England - 49er Race 5 -  Richard Gladwell   Click Here to view large photo
Simone de Mari
Foredeck / Grinder
Born in Rome in 1973, he began to racing on offshore boats and J 24s, participating in major regattas in the Mediterranean and later in the international match racing circuits. He debuted in America's Cup with Luna Rossa in 1997 and was one of the youngest members of the crew; since then he has participated in all challenges of the team, winning the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2000. In 2010 he won the America's Cup aboard BMW Oracle Racing, as pitman.

Xabier Fernández Gaztañaga
Trimmer / Foredeck
Spanish, was born in Ibarra in 1976. His sailing career started in the Vaurien class where he won two national championships before moving to 49ers where he developed and expressed his athletic talent in trimming fast boats. Xabier’s career developed alongside Iker Martinez for whom he has crewed since 1998. Together with him he won two Olympic medals (gold in 2004 and silver in 2008) and three World Championships (2002, 2004 and 2010). Fernández is a truly complete sailor; he has participated in three editions of the Volvo Ocean Race (2005-2009-2012) and in the Barcelona World Race in which he finished second. With a degree in engineering, Xabier is the Spanish sailor to have won most trophies. This is his first America’s Cup campaign.

Iker Martinez de Lizarduy
Helmsman / Afterguard
Born in San Sebastián, Spain, in 1977, Iker, together with his crew Xabier Fernández, has already won two Olympic medals (gold in 2004 and silver in 2008) and three World Championships (2002, 2004 and 2010) in the 49er class. He is one of top winners amongst the Spanish sailors. Iker is considered one of today’s most talented helmsmen: versatile and complete, he is at ease in all conditions and on all type of boats, from the athletic and acrobatic Olympic classes to the offshore Volvo Ocean Racers. Further to his record of victories in the 49er class he has also collected important results in ocean racing, with a third place in the 2009 Volvo Ocean Race, a second place in the 2010 Barcelona World Race and fourth in the 2012 Volvo Ocean Race. This is his first America’s Cup campaign.

Iker Martinez speaking at the Media Conference, Auckland stopover, in the Volvo Ocean Race -  Richard Gladwell   Click Here to view large photo
Marco Montis
Grinder / Diver
Born in Livorno in 1971, Marco is a martial arts and weightlifting training instructor. His approach to yacht racing occurred by chance when, in 1994, he was invited as a grinder on board 'Tomahawk', a 12 m class with whom he sailed for three seasons in the classic yachts circuit. His sailing career continued on offshore and Maxi yachts. His first America’s Cup campaign was in 2007 and he subsequently sailed the 2009 (STP 65’ and Louis Vuitton Pacific Series) and 2010 (TP 52’ and Louis Vuitton Trophy at La Maddalena) racing seasons with Luna Rossa.

Wade Morgan
Grinder / Foredeck
Australian, born in 1981, he began his career as a professional sailor in 1999, making his debut in the America’s Cup at only 18 as a member of the Young Australia team (2000). He later worked with the Alfa Romeo team and became the project manager of Alfa Romeo 3. He participated in all major offshore races obtaining, among others, three victories - two of them with 'line honours' – in the Sydney-Hobart race. In 2007 he participated again in an America’s Cup campaign with the team 'Areva' and also participated in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race as bowman of the Abu Dhabi Team . He has been part of the crew of 'Luna Rossa' in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in Auckland and in the Louis Vuitton Trophy at La Maddalena.

New members have also joined the team Luna Rossa in different departments, as follows: Antoine Bonnaveau (Performance), Frederic Gastinel (Hydraulics), Francesco Mauri (Boat Builder), Stefano Morosin (Electronics), Angelo Napolitano (Machine Shop), Ian Pattison (Sail Loft Manager), Keith Sexton (Boat Builder), Andrew Wotherspoon (Sailmaker).


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8:01 AM Tue 21 Aug 2012GMT


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