Skip to main content

Cagliari, the city that just surprises at every juncture, didn’t disappoint. Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli launched the boat that every Italian fan, the sailing-mad ‘Tifosi’, hopes will win the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup and bring the trophy to the magnificent Island of Sardinia.

The see-through, naked, carbon deck moulding is next level, arcing up to the four-man pods either side with the helms just behind the trim team and the ‘pain locker’ cyclors positioned aft. Every centimetre has been properly, pain-stakingly designed, with the foils, that are clearly legacy AC36, forward of the mast and the ram exquisitely indented and shaped into the hull. The bustle is conservative, it looks right, and there’s nothing ‘out there’ in terms of the deck form that looks like a risk. This is pure muscle with so much going on below decks, unseen and top-secret IP, that will be delivered by a team that has undoubtedly had one of the best preparations through the last 18 months.

The hull form is atypical of the new breed of AC75’s with a slender bustle running the full length as is ‘de riguer’ for the Barcelona sea state and tapering logically off the bow – perhaps slightly less volume than we’ve seen on Emirates Team New Zealand and certainly less voluminous than Alinghi Red Bull Racing, this boat screams fast flight and low-riding. The bow profile is sharp, kicking off the immediate flaring underneath whilst on top it is sculpted, tapering forward as low-profile as possible within the volume rule. The pods are deep with the cyclors able to tuck in, almost unseen, behind the helm and trim teams.

Body language is everything and the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team were on point in Cagliari. Speaking with Ruggi Tita and Marco Gradoni, the excitement is real, elucidated by a boat that can absolutely deliver, whilst Max Sirena and Checco Bruni looked like kids on Christmas morning – they know this is a reference boat that gives them every chance of going very deep and with plenty of runway to keep developing through the rounds – their calling-card of the Auckland regatta in 2021. Some 5000 fans tuned in on social media to witness the launch and countless thousands will revel through the day and marvel with pride at a piece of art, created by the true artisans of the America’s Cup.

Cagliari harbour was alive with boats of all variety. The home-team is such a vital part of this seaside city but so much more, tapping into the Italian psyche, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli is Italian sailing par excellence, deeply rooted in the national identity. The Prada family’s support of the America’s Cup is infectious and the ‘golden’ generation coming through (fast) is something so exciting, real and tangible. Fusing experience with raw talent is something that the management know they have to manage but there’s a deep awareness in the team that they have something very special, a generational talent in Gradoni and Tita that could well define the America’s Cup for decades to come.

In style terms, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli just hits differently and this haute couture ‘weapon’ masks innovation and detail that is utterly exquisite. The Italians are, without a shadow of doubt, all out to win this Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup and they might just have the vessel to do it. Impressive from top to bottom, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli didn’t so much as announce their intention as scream it from the rooftops. The race is well and truly on now.