Luna Rossa is flying - full speed ahead

Max Sirena, skipper of Luna Rossa Challenge.
Luna Rossa AC45 training
Photo: Carlo Borlenghi
Skipper Max Sirena keeps a watchful eye over his team in Cagliari, Sardinia.
Photo: Carlo Borlenghi

Luna Rossa Challenge, which announced its team for the 35th America’s Cup team on June 12, is hard at work on a challenge capable of making a full-scale assault on the America’ s Cup in 2017.

From its training base in Cagliari, the team has been making design modifications to its AC45s so that they can foil and fly above the water, like the AC62 that the team will design and build to race in the challenger series in 2017.

The first of those boats was launched last month and team skipper Max Sirena is very pleased with the result.

“Everything is going very well with our training with the new foiling AC45,” he said. “The design team and the builders did a very nice job in designing and modifying it and now the sailors are learning more each day they are training about things we can feed back in for the design of the AC62.”

Meanwhile, team members are competing in events on the match racing tour, in big boat racing at various events around the world, the Moth World Championships and for Sirena himself, even winning the 12-meter world championship in Barcelona on board team principal Patrizio Bertelli's Nyala.

“This is a transition period for Luna Rossa,” Sirena said. “In many ways it is like a brand new team with new people joining our core team from last time. It’s good to have smaller groups who go out and race in all sorts of events but then as a larger team we get together at our base in Cagliari and that is when we really grow as a team.”

Sirena says there is no comparison between this campaign and the last one, when the team was a late entry and operated a smaller program in an effort to stay current with the new foiling, wing sailed catamarans.

While the team has success on the water, reaching the challenger series final for the third time in four attempts and winning the 2012/13 AC World Series, the main objective was to create a base of knowledge and experience for this time around, when the goal isn’t to learn, but to win.

“Last time was an important part of the process. For us, the only way to take part seriously in this America’s Cup was to do what we did in the last Cup. To start from zero today would have been very, very hard. So even though last time we started late and only had one boat, it was a big building block for where we are today,” Sirena said.

And where are they today?

“Our aim is to win the America’s Cup,” Sirena says with conviction. “To do that, we will have to give our very best from the first day to the last day of the campaign. The main racing this time does not start until 2017, but if we are going to win in three years, we have to start with what we are doing right now.”