Sunday August 25th, San Francisco: Today Luna Rossa Challenge faced Emirates Team New Zealand for the last time in the eighth race of the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals. The New Zealanders scored the seventh point required to gain the access to the America’s Cup against the Defender Oracle Team USA.
Luna Rossa Challenge launched its challenge for the 34th America’s Cup on November 2nd 2011. The AC72 was launched on October 26th 2012 and the boat sailed for the first time in New Zealand on November 2nd 2012. Less than one year later Luna Rossa Challenge was racing against her opponents and won the semi-finals, thus gaining access to the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals; it was the third final for Luna Rossa out of four America’s Cup campaigns.
Max Sirena, skipper of the team, declared: “In one year and a half we built a young and competitive team that, with only one boat designed on a first generation project, advanced to the Louis Vuitton finals. Even if we made huge improvements during the last few months and weeks, this was not sufficient; if we had four more month to develop the boat we would have been more competitive. Congratulations to Emirates Team New Zealand for the deserved victory and we wish them the best luck for the America’s Cup.”
Patrizio Bertelli, team Principal of Luna Rossa, stated: “Since her first challenge Luna Rossa has become a model team and a benchmark in the America’s Cup. This is proved by the fact that many important people who are in other America’s Cup teams come from Luna Rossa. For the third time we have advanced to the Louis Vuitton Final and have achieved the goal we set ourselves when we launched our challenge, one year and a half after the other teams. I want to thank every single team member for the job and the efforts they have put in this campaign. Now we are focused on the future.”
Summary of the eighth race: thick fog, 10-13 knots wind from South West, flaty sea, flood tide 2 knots. The race started at 13.10 local time.
Luna Rossa entered the pre-start box on port and crossed the finish line leeward of Team New Zealand who, sailing faster on the reaching leg, rounded the first mark ahead. For the first time in this Louis Vuitton Cup on the downwind leg both teams hoisted the Code Zero (an intermediate sail between a genoa and a gennaker) and the poor visibility, due to the thick fog, forced the teams to rely on their instruments. On the windward leg, with the strong flood tide, the tacking was not free: the first upwind tack was toward the Alcatraz Island, after which the team headed ashore in search of less current. On the second downwind leg the wind increased up to 14-15 knots and the teams were able to avoid hoisting the code zero. Luna Rossa chased Emirates Team New Zealand who crossed the finish line first and won the Louis Vuitton Finals.
Today’s crew was: Max Sirena (skipper and pitman), Francesco Bruni (tactician), David Carr (pitman/grinder), Pierluigi de Felice (trimmer), Chris Draper (helmsman), Xabi Fernandez (wing trimmer), Nick Hutton (bowman), Lele Marino (wing grinder),Marco Montis (freestyler), Wade Morgan (hydraulic grinder) and Giles Scott (primary grinder).