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Cup Spy: Recon images reveal Luna Rossa design innovations

by Richard Gladwell Sail-World NZ 25 Oct 2022 21:00 PDT 26 October 2022
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli's prototype LEQ12 off Cagliari, Sardinia - Day 2 - October 25, 2022 © Ivo Rovira / America'sCup

Italy's America's Cup Challenger, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli had a second day of light winds off Cagliari, Sardinia on Tuesday. The conditions were similar to the day before, and light winds look set to continue, causing a re-think of the sailing program.

Key points October 25, 2022:

  • Luna Rossa had their second sail in their new LEQ12 off Cagliari in light airs.
  • None of the other teams have sailed since Friday.
  • Brits are expected to splash their LEQ12 some time this week from Mallorca, Spain
  • Luna Rossa crew member Ruggero Tita, and his sailing partner Caterina Banti, Olympic Gold Medalists in the Nacra 17 foiling catamaran, have been awarded the Male and Female Rolex Sailor of the Year trophies at World Sailing's Annual meeting in Abu Dhabi.

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli lost a second day of full test sailing, with the LEQ12 half size prototype AC75 having to be towed onto its foils for the second day of sailing.

The AC37 Joint Recon team were able to get some better images of the Italian LEQ12 - particularly of the mainsheet control system, which is a development of the system the Italians used in the last America's Cup. It is likely that they are not using the same under the cockpit mainboom system they used in both their AC75's, launched for the 2021 America's Cup.

The Luna Rossa LEQ12 has a set of arms attached to the base of the mast, to which is attached to an interesting device running part way along the cockpit floor.

The Italians appear to be using a conventional mainsheet track system, without an under cockpit boom they used in both their AC75's launched for the 2021 America's Cup.

They have a similar approach to Emirates Team New Zealand, in the last America's Cup, with the mast being stepped in a trench running the length of the cockpit, which tidies up the lower end of the mainsail and jib improving the end plate effect of the rig.

Unfortunately Tuesday's sailing session had to be cut short, but Luna Rossa CEO Max Sirena was philosophical, in a dockside interview after the session, he said they would have to reschedule their week with the light breezes forecast to continue.

"This week is going to be light all week, which is pretty good to start sailing with our LEQ12 and we had some time on the water yesterday. It was pretty light, but enough to be able to foil. Today was another good day, and still light conditions. We had a small issue electrical issue - which didn't give us much time to sail on the water.

"Luckily, the breeze dropped so we didn't really lose much of the day. But it was enough to test the boat. We actually reached quite high speed in seven knots of breeze."

For both runs it was reported that the LEQ12 was towed onto its foils, as is standard practice in these conditions, with the boat dropping the tow once it is at foiling speed

When asked about what would happen for the rest of the week, with light winds forecast. "As I said, this week is going to be light tomorrow and the day, after is going to be super light. So tonight we're going to make a plan on what to do in the next couple of days, but the goal is to spend as much time testing as possible in the next couple of weeks. This boat is so important for us - for the development of the big boat. We are just beginning."

Luna Rossa used the same sailing crew as they did on Monday, which included double America's Cup champion, Jimmy Spithill; Tokyo 2020 Olympic Gold medalist Ruggero Tita; Olympic 49er sailor Umberto Molineris; and another 49er sailor Andrea Teseri, he was recruited by Luna Rossa from the New Generation project, Auckland 2021

There was no change in the foils with their LEQ12 surrogate yacht fitted with the same a Y-shaped wingfoil on the port arm and a T-shaped foil on the starboard foil arm, used on Monday. The rudder had a W-shaped foil for the elevator.

Session Statistics - Cagliari - October 25, 2022 - Luna Rossa - LEQ12

  • Wind Strength 2kts (AM) 7kts (PM)
  • Wind Direction: NW (AM) S (PM)
  • Sea State:
  • Roll out: 1015hrs Dock Out: 1345hrs
  • Dock In: 1650hrs Crane out:
  • Total Tacks: 2 - Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 0 - Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0

Additional Images of the Day:

This commentary was written and compiled from video, still images and statistical content extracted from the AC37 Joint Recon program and other material available to Sail-World NZ including photo files, and other on the water coverage from the 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2021 America's Cups.

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