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Origins and history of the legendary Italian sailing team Luna Rossa and the route to 2021 America's Cup

When, on the evening of 3 February 1997, Patrizio Bertelli rings the bell of the Milanese studio of the Argentine naval architect Germán Frers, he cannot know that this gesture is about to sanction the beginnings of Luna Rossa, one of the greatest myths in the history of Italian sailing.

History of Luna Rossa, from its beginnings to the present day

Crew of Luna Rossa in action
Managing Director of the Prada group, a former professional sailor during the 1970s, Bertelli wanted to meet Frers to discuss the construction of a cruise boat, but, obviously, the passion for sports sailing that unites the two - the Argentine architect designed the hull of Il Moro di Venezia, the first Italian boat to win the 1992 Louis Vuitton Cup and the first of a non-English speaking country to compete for America's Cup in almost a century and a half of history in the same year - leads them to launch themselves into an idea that is as apparently "crazy" as it is fascinating. Luna Rossa, in fact.
Why not create a boat that can compete for America's Cup and maybe win it?
This is how Luna Rossa was born, a dream that, between the end of January and the beginning of February 2000, will lead many Italians fans to spend long nights to discover what was happening at the same time in Auckland, New Zealand, where the final of the Louis Vuitton Cup, the tournament that selects the challenging team for America's Cup, is going on stage.
The competition saw Luna Rossa, who had been able to defeat the numerous competitors in the previous rounds, and the AmericaOne of Paul Cayard, already helmsman of Il Moro di Venezia and Stars & Stripes, finalists in the two previous editions of America's Cup.

At the 2021 America's Cup, Luna Rossa will represent the Sicilian Sailing Club and Italy and will have to deal with the Americans American Magic and Stars & Stripes, the British Ineos Team, the DutchSail, and the Malta Altus Challenge.

Legend has it that Luna Rossa, the name of the boat, was suggested to Bertelli by the rising of a big reddish moon during an evening spent talking about boats in Punta Ala (home of the yacht club then represented by Luna Rossa). In New Zealand, it has become known to the local public as the Silver Bullet.
After gym practice, on the boat.
The nickname Silver Bullet says a lot about the sympathy of Luna Rossa with the New Zealand public. It’s about some friction between the country of the Defender Black Magic and the United States which was represented by the AmericaOne helmed by Cayard - and about the speed of the Italian boat. It quickly showed itself as one of the best.
At the end of a very hard-fought final won 5-4, conquers the Louis Vuitton Cup, and thus earns the opportunity to race for the victory of America's Cup of 2000, 30th edition of the oldest sports trophy in the world that is still disputed.
The Luna Rossa flag
If it is true that Il Moro di Venezia, eight years earlier, had already won the Louis Vuitton Cup and the consequent possibility of challenging the Defender of America's Cup (represented at the time by America³), it is indisputable that Luna Rossa is credited with having made sailing and America's Cup extremely popular in Italy.
This is what allows the skipper Francesco De Angelis and tactician Torben Grael's boat - the crew, made up of a total of 16 elements, was trained by the legendary water polo goalkeeper Umberto Panerai - to enter the history of the Cup despite the 5-0 defeat in the final series of races against the New Zealand champions of Black Magic.

The nickname Silver Bullet says a lot about both the sympathy received by Luna Rossa with the public and the speed of the Italian hull.

The enthusiasm is not extinguished, on the contrary, at the same time as the defeat is sanctioned, Luna Rossa launches again the challenge to the champions, becoming officially Challenger of Record, the team that represents all the challenging yacht clubs and that, in concert with the Defender, establishes the rules for the next edition of America's Cup.
In the following years Patrizio Bertelli's dream will continue to live on and, despite the increasingly high level of competitiveness, Luna Rossa will maintain the highest standards, hitting the Louis Vuitton Cup final twice (2007 and 2013) and retiring from the 2017 America's Cup in protest against the change in race of the class rule on which the challenging teams had based their projects.
Working with ropes
On the same day that Emirates Team New Zealand defeats Oracle, bringing America's Cup back to New Zealand, comes the new challenge glove launched by Luna Rossa, that becomes once again the Challenger of Record and, together with the Defender, publishes on 29 March 2018 the AC75 Class Rule for the 36th edition of the America's Cup scheduled for 2021.

The 2021 America's Cup

Wear a wetsuit before leaving
The six challenging teams will fight between January and February 2021 in the new Prada Cup, the successor to the Louis Vuitton Cup, which will select the official opponent of the Emirates Team New Zealand: Luna Rossa will represent the Circolo della Vela Sicilia and Italy and will have to deal with American Magic and Stars & Stripes, the British Ineos Team, the DutchSail, and Malta Altus Challenge.
At the end of March 2019, the first of the two team boats provided for in the regulations can be launched - the second can only be launched from 1 February 2020 - and the march towards the 36th edition of America's Cup will be marked by the World Series, a series of preliminary races - the first stage in Italy - which will culminate in December 2020 with the Christmas Race, staged from 10 to 20.

The first three months of 2021 will finally see the light of day: between January and February, the Prada Cup will officially determine the crew that will compete for America's Cup at the Defender Emirates Team New Zealand in March. Luna Rossa does not hide and, after declaring at the time of the challenge to feel "challenging, but only for the moment", aims to break the hegemony United States-Oceania (interrupted only by the Swiss Alinghi in 2003 and 2007) bringing back the prestigious America's Cup in Europe and, for the first time, in Italy.

Luna Rossa in pursuit of a record

To pursue this historic goal, Luna Rossa will rely on a team of enormous depth: from team director and skipper Max Sirena, a man of proven experience and already among the protagonists of the first feat of 2000, the Australian James Spithill, twice winner of the prestigious Sydney-Hobart regatta (a record) and twice, as Sirena, triumphant in the America's Cup. To them, Gilberto Nobili, Vasco Vascotto, Pietro Sibello, Francesco Bruni and to all the men of the crew the task of giving other dreamlike nights to the Italians.
Technogym and Luna Rossa, together since 1998
Max Sirena, the team director and skipper of Luna Rossa Challenge, tells Newsroom about his passion for this prestigious regatta.  I took part in seven America's Cups, I won twice and now there is the last dream to come true, explains Max. The goal is to try to win America's Cup with Italy and Luna Rossa. That's why we've been working in Cagliari for two years and the last goal I set myself in sailing before trying to do anything else. There are at least four teams with the potential to win America's Cup and I don't think this has been the case for several years. It will be very difficult.

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