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Luna Rossa Gears Up with New Foils and Gradoni at the Helm for America’s Cup 2024

As the America’s Cup 2024 approaches, the sailing world’s eyes are keenly set on Luna Rossa, the Italian challenger from the Red Moon Prada Pirelli team. The team has been intensively training in Cagliari, honing skills and testing new equipment, including a revolutionary new foil design that promises to redefine competitive sailing dynamics.

Innovating Under Pressure

Luna Rossa has introduced a significant change to their AC 75 class boat, revealing a new foil that’s flat, long, and minimally curved but equipped with a finely honed edge, termed as the “ticket”. This modification could be a game-changer in the race conditions expected in Barcelona, where the final preparations will unfold before the competition begins on August 22.

The team has been seen training with an asymmetrical setup — maintaining the older foil on the left (starboard tack) and testing the new foil on the right (port tack). This strategy highlights the cautious approach taken by the team, given the America’s Cup Protocol that restricts teams to only three foils: two primaries and a spare. The choice to test a single new appendage indicates a meticulous strategy of testing and adaptation, possibly reserving the final pair of foils for later refinement based on the gathered data.

Performance Prospects

According to official Recon reports, Luna Rossa has shown promising performance across various wind conditions. The boat has achieved impressive speeds, clocking up to 37 knots upwind and between 43 to 44 knots downwind with the new foil in action. Although still trailing the performance metrics of Team New Zealand, these figures are a strong indicator of potential as Luna Rossa continues to tweak and optimize their vessel.

Delving deeper into the technical nuances, the new foil design of Luna Rossa represents a significant departure from traditional models. The team’s engineering focus has been on reducing drag and enhancing lift efficiency, critical factors in achieving higher speeds and better maneuverability. This approach not only impacts their acceleration capabilities but also improves stability during critical racing maneuvers such as tacks and gybes. The feedback from the crew suggests that the new setup enhances responsiveness, giving helmsmen like Gradoni more confidence when navigating through challenging conditions. This meticulous attention to detail in foil technology underscores Luna Rossa’s commitment to not just compete, but to set new benchmarks in sailing performance.

Steering Towards Success

The helm of Luna Rossa has seen some rotational leadership due to the absence of Ruggero Tita, who is focused on training for the Paris Olympics with the Nacra 17 class. In his place, the experienced trio of Bruni, Spithill, and the emerging talent Gradoni have shared the responsibilities. Gradoni, in particular, has been noteworthy, taking command in several training sessions and proving his mettle alongside seasoned veterans.

The crew dynamics have also been a focus, with trimmers Andrea Tesei, Umberto Molineris, and Vittorio Bissaro rotating positions to ensure adaptability and team coherence. The integration of these roles will be crucial in the high-pressure scenarios that the America’s Cup races often present.

The Road Ahead

As Luna Rossa packs up and sets its course towards Barcelona, the sailing community watches with anticipation. Will the new foils and strategic choices translate into victory against seasoned competitors like Alinghi Red Bull Racing, Ineos Britannia, American Magic, and the defending champion Team New Zealand? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain — it will be a thrilling summer of sailing at the America’s Cup 2024.

Marc Trujillo
Marc Trujillo
I'm Marc Trujillo, a seasoned maritime journalist based in the vibrant city of Barcelona. My passion lies in exploring the world of sailing, where I delve into the latest yacht innovations, high-stakes regattas, and intriguing personalities shaping the maritime landscape. At NauticMag, I'm committed to bringing my readers compelling stories from the forefront of maritime culture and technological advancements. Join me as I provide an insider's look at the most prestigious sailing events and the unveiling of cutting-edge yachts, capturing the spirit and transformation of the nautical world.
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