In the dynamic world of professional America’s Cup sailing, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli recently experienced a shift from high-speed two-boat testing to a media-centric day in Cagliari. The picturesque setting became a stage for the sailors to showcase their skills, with drones capturing every maneuver and photographers wielding long lenses to capture the essence of the team in action.
On a day where ‘chasing the wind meant chasing the waves’ according to Flight Controller Andrea Tesei, the team still extracted good wave training and following behind the LEQ12, there was some high technique on display through the swells with over-sheeting of the traveller in the troughs and rapid trim at the top of the waves. The mainsheet shrouding – an almost symmetrical padded box – is noticeably and unarguably the neatest in the AC fleet and Luna Rossa does have a beautiful ability to ‘pop’ quickly under tow or under her own steam when the conditions allow. This has been a first class prototype for the Italians to test their systems, controls and techniques on and today the established team just looked easy in each other’s company – and fast when required.
Indeed, at various points the LEQ12 had to be slowed down in order for the media and drones to catch up so this was a day at half gas with Marco Gradoni and Jimmy Spithill putting on a great show for their ultimate paymasters – Prada.
Speaking afterwards, Andrea Tesei summed up the day saying: Today was a media rented day so our focus was not really on sailing the boat and developing our boat but more of getting footage done and…it was one of those hard days where this westerly wasn’t coming into the Gulf then we had to go chase for the wind but chasing for the wind meant also chasing waves so we ran into some pretty steep waves and very up and down breeze – it was pretty challenging and in the end it turned out actually a nice boat handling day in waves, productive for Barcelona as well.”
On-Water Recon Report – Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli: The Italian team rolled out their LEQ12 prototype at 12:30, stepped mast and craned the yacht in by 12:45 undergoing the usual checks at the dock.
At 13:20 M1-2 was being loaded on deck and the team docked out their prototype at 13:50. Lots of movement at the Italian base for a Prada Shooting off and on the water.
The prototype was mounted with additional cameras and mics hosting six sailors including a guest with camera men. Once out in the Gulf, some smaller swell was rolling in from 190° while the wind was measured at 6-8kn from 175° TWA. The LEQ12 was then towed for some minutes before stopping to fully hoist the M1-2 mainsail. Once the main was hoisted, the team towed the yacht for approximately 10 additional minutes with closer chase boats for filming purposes.
By then, the team found some incoming breeze measured 9-11kn from 190° TWA with steep waves of approx. 0.8-1.2m from 195° and the J1-1 was hoisted. On the first stint, the LEQ12 was towed up on starboard tack and sailed for some minutes on this tack before decelerating on both boards. With the rough sea-state it was again quite challenging to keep up closely with the yacht for proper footage, more to come in the following sailing days.
On the second short foiling stint the yacht was towed up on foils on port tack sailing away from all Chase Boats, executed two touch & go tacks and, after a careful bear-away, the crew trimmed up, stopping to allow the Chase Boats to catch up. A longer break followed, and the breeze had increased to 14-16kn from 215 TWA. Once towed up, the yacht sailed a longer stint on port tack to fly-by on the filming crew of Chase1.
The yacht came off the foils and was then back on the tow-line for a while. Finally, it was towed back up on port tack, bearing away for a long downwind run, trimming up and stopping.
The day was called at 15:35 with 28 minutes foiling time and 3 tacks and one gybe. A two-boat testing day is scheduled for tomorrow [Michele Melis AC Recon].