Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli’s team director summarizes a very positive 18-month period and anticipates goals for 2023
On the eve of the Christmas break, Max Sirena, team director and skipper of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, reviews the America’s Cup campaign that began – albeit not officially – in summer of 2021 and in particular, the first months of sailing aboard the prototype launched October 13th: «I’m very satisfied, both from a sporting point of view, because we’ve had some excellent training sessions on the water, and from a research and development point of view, because we have continued our design programme according to schedule, improving it constantly thanks to the numerous feedbacks from the sailors».
With no downtime between the end of the 36th Cup and the start of the new challenge, timing was crucial for the team, as it carried on seamlessly and maintained the focus, commitment and dedication needed to design and build the LEQ12 prototype.
«The launch of the prototype was important for several reasons», Sirena continues. «It was the first boat designed and built according to the rules of the new AC75 Class, it had to give us confirmation of the targets and performance simulated during the design phase and serve as a development platform for the new AC75; it also allowed us to resume training at sea. Therefore, we started sailing very soon, even ahead of schedule, and generally speaking we are very happy. The fact that the design ‘package’ was well conceived is proved by the fact that we had very few problems and minimal malfunctions».
After only a short time, in fact, the prototype went from the test phase to the performance phase, touching very high peaks of speed and completed around 20 days of sailing, which would certainly have been more had it not been for a damage to the mast that required a forced stop for repairs.
«However small, the incident forced us to a stop that we would have gladly avoided», says the team director, «but on the other hand it was an important stress-test for the team; I was surprised by the responsiveness and speed with which we regrouped and returned to sea, ahead of schedule and even more focused than before».
In these months the prototype has seen on board the familiar figures of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, such as James Spithill and Checco Bruni, and the new ones of Ruggero Tita, Vittorio Bissaro and Marco Gradoni who take turns on board.
«We are fortunate to have so many resources of such a high level», continued the skipper, « not only does this allow us to rotate the crew, but also and above all to have different points of view that help us understand what to improve and where. We have received all the information we wanted to develop, for example, the new daggerboards, the next sails and also to make some changes to the naval architecture. Now a break is necessary to catch our breath and recharge our batteries after a really intense and long period of work».
2023, in fact, will be packed with deadlines, sporting events and novelties that will require maximum commitment from everyone: «We will have a lot of new elements to test on the prototype; we will have to train with the AC40 (expected around April) and select the young men and women who will take part in the Youth & Womens’ AC; in parallel we will have to complete the construction of the flying hydrogen catamaran that we will launch in Cagliari in summer of 2023, start training in Barcelona and, of course, deliver the water lines of the AC75. We are closing 2022 with a very positive balance. We are happy, but also aware that mistakes are just around the corner and that we need to stay focused».