To change history, after the first unsuccessful attempts made from 1983 to 1987 by the Azzurra and Italy teams - to whom we have to give credit for opening the way - was Il Moro di Venezia, the first Italian boat to win the Louis Vuitton Cup in 1992, thus earning the right to challenge the America's Cup champions. Despite a 4-1 defeat in the decisive regattas, Raul Gardini's creature, captained by the charismatic American skipper Paul Cayard, allowed the sailing world to be noticed for the first time by Italian sailing enthusiasts while at the same time launching a fundamental message: nothing is impossible, not even challenging the most renowned teams in the world.
Max Sirena was part of that historic crew and today he is preparing in the role of team director and skipper to assault the 2021 America's Cup. Still in New Zealand, still on the hunt for Team New Zealand and, above all, still with Luna Rossa. For over twenty years Max has been chasing the dream of bringing the America's Cup to Italy for the first time, remembering the enthusiasm that suddenly exploded around his first undertaking and doing his best to keep it alive, with the awareness that the passion of a whole people can help make possible what at first sight seems impossible.
Speaking is Enrico Voltolini, one of the youngest members of the crew set up for 2021 by Team Prada. Enrico is part of the New Generation program, born from the desire to give continuity to the challenge and strengthen the bond with Italy by joining some of the most experienced and titled sailors in the world what can be called a "new generation". Young promises that can infect the entire team with their enthusiasm and, in turn, benefit from the advice of those who have been doing this job for years. The goal? To create a synergy capable of pushing the entire project towards victory in 2021, while at the same time laying the foundations for the campaigns of the future.
Luna Rossa New Generation: the future of the team
Remembering the same days, there was also another of the young promises that are now part of training the New Generation, the Ravenna-based Umberto Molineris. Born in 1990, he achieved great results in 49er with his fellow-citizen Jacopo Plazzi, with whom first he reached the world top 10 and then joined the Luna Rossa project dedicated to the champions of tomorrow.
While it's true that in sport, in any discipline, experience can be a determining factor when the going gets tough, it's also true that these guys, who have never taken part in an America's Cup campaign, can balance their lack of experience with many other qualities. For example, familiarity with new technologies, increasingly important from edition to edition, or those physical and mental abilities - recovery, adaptation - that can help the crew in a decisive way. The New Generation also acts as a stimulus for the more experienced, who, on the other hand, have proved themselves good at sharing some tricks of the trade and beyond with newcomers.
Luna Rossa is really like a family, and this helps a lot: even in the most difficult moments we always manage to make a team, thanks also and above all to the most experienced members like Vasco Vascotto and Francesco Mongelli, men with years of America's Cup experience behind them. When we're under stress, they're able to put the situation at ease, and their presence is very important for us youngsters.
Surely having practiced different sports since I was a child has helped me, perhaps not so much in the construction of the physique, which in any case is largely due to sailing, but in the mentality, in the habit of seeing things in a professional way, to have responsibilities, to interact with companions and opponents, the ability to live the competition at 360 degrees, for better or for worse.
I believe that my other sports experiences have enriched my experience as a sailor. Comparing myself with other guys who have only ever sailed since childhood I realized how they have a technical but less sporty and athletic approach to this discipline, which in other countries is much more developed.
But in such a unique and avant-garde environment, the stimuli, in any case, are not lacking.
The same thought of Enrico Voltolini, who, together with his New Generation colleagues, dreams of one day taking the place of the "greats" and, for the moment, pursues a success that could change the world of sailing in Italy forever.
Words that, apparently, may seem dictated by youthful enthusiasm, of course, but which, instead, show how the team is working in the best way and how the most experienced have been able to motivate those who could be their heirs. In the America's Cup the important thing is not to participate, but to win: because, as the motto that has always accompanied the oldest sports trophy in the world says, "there is no second".