Monday, April 1, 2024
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HomeRegattaAmerica's CupLuna Rossa Prada Pirelli Concludes Two-Boat Testing Phase, Sets Sights on Youth...

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Concludes Two-Boat Testing Phase, Sets Sights on Youth & Women’s Teams

Concluding their two-boat testing period, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli bade farewell to their LEQ12 prototype that has been a sensational test-bed for the team as the campaign switches focus towards the Youth & Women’s teams ahead of the launch of their new AC75 at the beginning of April.

© Ivo Rovira / America’s Cup

It was very much a day of two halves for the Italians who had been keen to get some race practice in, lining up against the AC40 but in over three hours out on the Bay of Angels, the foiling tally was just 25 minutes as first the wind was marginal and then a blustery mistral blew in and topped out the breeze window for sailing. Reluctantly the Luna Rossa team towed home and called it a day not only on the session but time on the LEQ12 too as she’s retired after a very profitable training career.

Taking the helm today for its final spin was Nacra 17 gold medallist Ruggero Tita and the wily Francesco Bruni who managed a few line-ups with the lighter-weight AC40 but struggled in the early afternoon breeze that refused to fill above 9 knots. When it came in, it filtered quickly across the Bay forcing the Chase Boat team to seek calmer waters and shelter down south off the village of Perd’e Sali. With a rapidly building swell, the sensible decision was taken to ‘preserve the asset’ as they say in Cup circles and the Chase Boat connected up and towed the LEQ12 home. 

© Ivo Rovira / America’s Cup

Speaking afterwards, Gilberto Nobili, the Operations Manager for Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and two-time America’s Cup winner (with Oracle in 2010 and 2013) spoke to the recon team and summed up the day saying: “We had the last week of two boat racing which was tricky and the weather was not collaborating too much, we tried to do as much as possible but even today we got nothing or 26 knots so that’s what it is. We’re moving to a very big, important phase for us where we are we starting to get our boat ready for the competition so now we need to switch our focus on the Youth and Women and preparing the boat for the launch.”

© Ivo Rovira / America’s Cup

Speaking about the retirement of the LEQ12, Gilo added: “Yeah the idea is that this is the last week of two boats and then the LEQ will go for a bit in the shed and the AC40 will keep sailing for a bit with the Youth and Women and I think we will see the big boat soon in the water.”

© Ivo Rovira / America’s Cup

Asked about whether the team will keep the new AC75 in Cagliari and work her up in the Spring before heading to Barcelona, Gilo commented: “Maybe that could be the plan and that depends a bit on the weather as well depends where we have everything ready and the weather, it normally is very, very, good in Cagliari so we may take the opportunity to do so.”

© Ivo Rovira / America’s Cup

All eyes now on the boat that all Italian fans will hope is as ‘radical’ as hoped and enough of a ‘weapon’ to win the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup and deliver the famous trophy back to Italy for the first time in history. On current form, there’s little to suggest that they won’t but there’s a long way to go and the clock is ticking. (Magnus Wheatley)

On-Water Recon Report – Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli: The Italian team rolled out their AC40 (White) at 11:30 and their LEQ12 (Red) at 12:00, stepped masts and craned in respectively at 11:55 and 12:20. Dock-out was scheduled for 13:00 and both yachts were towed out of the harbour. M1 and the recently modified AC40 J-1-1 (now with window) were hoisted on white, the main for stronger breeze M2-1 was paired to the J1.5-2 on red.

The forecast looked lighter than expected with flat waters closer to shore and light breeze from 135° of 7-9kn. The first foiling stint of Red lasted approx. 13 minutes, in which 3 tacks and 1 gybe were executed before coming off the foils exiting the last tack.

The second short foiling stint lasted less than five minutes counting two additional tacks lined up with the white boat before coming off the foils again. The white boat looked slightly more able to stay on foil exiting each manoeuvre. As the breeze kept decreasing offshore of the harbour, both yachts headed on a long starboard tack run towards offshore Poetto where the breeze seemed more stable. After this long run, the Red boat tacked and struggled again to stay alive and on the foils exiting the manoeuvre. 

As the light air now was less than marginal, the J1.5 was lowered on red which was then towed approx. 35 minutes towards Pula. In the middle of the Bay some larger swell of approx. 0.7m from 195° was encountered. The team stopped offshore of Perd’e Sali, seeking shelter from the swell but there the pressure seemed over upper range, measuring 18-20 knots with gusts of 22 on the recon anemometer. After awaiting a while, the team decided to lower the main and head back to the harbour while the white boat stayed closer and tried to take advantage of the light air close by.

The day was called for the red yacht with 25 minutes foiling time, 5 tacks and 1 gybe [Michele Melis AC Recon].

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