Max Sirena, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team’s Skipper & Team Director, with seven participations and two America’s Cup victories under his belt, is an expert when it comes to the America’s Cup. So when he decided Cagliari was the right place for Luna Rossa to prepare for a serious crack at the Auld Mug, it was with solid reasons.
But what is to expect from the first America’s Cup event in Cagliari in April 2020?
“Cagliari will be the first opportunity to see this new revolutionary class of boat racing each other.” Max explains.
“There’s a lot of expectation in the sailing community. For the first time the teams will line up and it will be pretty spectacular for the people to watch and a fundamental stage for the teams to measure the performances and understand where they are compared to the others.”
The Cagliari event will be key in the quest for the ultimate prize but, in Max’s opinion, it won’t make a huge impact on the design of the second generation of AC75s. “In April 2020 the Challengers would have already started to build their second boat. Big decisions in terms of design would have been already made. The only one who might still be in time to make some adjustments will be the Defender as I think they’ll start building their second boat much later compared to the Challengers.”
Max is also the right person to explain what weather conditions the teams should expect during the event. “In April the weather may vary depending if there are low-pressure areas around the island or not. If there’s high pressure, we’ll have the sea breeze - a dominant wind in Cagliari - that blows from 150-160 degrees around 10-12 knots in that period. If it’s a low-pressure situation we might have days with strong winds, probably Mistral. What we are sure about is that Sardinia will deliver amazing conditions for the races.”
Weather conditions seems to make Cagliari the right place when it comes to the sport of sailing, but that’s not the only reason Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team chose it as their HQ. “Cagliari allows us to sail more than 200 days per year which is obviously key for us. It has been chosen also from the Italian Olympic sailing team for their preparation in view of Tokyo 2020 which is a strong signal of the high quality of the conditions that can be found here in Cagliari. But Cagliari is also an international city able to host over 100 team members coming from all over the world, with high standards in terms of schools and services.”
Great landscapes and perfect weather conditions have been shown by the videos Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team published of “Quick & Dirty” their 7.5m test boat, which is just a couple of months ahead of the launch of the Italians’ first AC75. “We will launch our boat 1 on the 25th of August and I think that, by no later than September, all the teams would have launched their first generation of AC75. The phase after the launch will be key as April 2020 it’s just around the corner. Even if April still seems far away, the time is actually not much as these are very complex boats that require a lot of maintenance, tuning and setup. The teams will need at least 2-3 months just to be able to sail them properly.”
From September onward the spy game will then reach its peak, “Together with learning how to sail our AC75, we will need to keep a close eye on the other teams, understand what path they’ve followed and try to evaluate their performance compared to ours. Then we need to gather all the intel and decide how to react on boat 2.”
Going against every cliché, Max is definitely not superstitious as he thinks it is a waste of time, still when asked, he answers “Emirates Team New Zealand will win the event in Cagliari so, good luck to them!”
We just have to wait and see and maybe book a trip to Cagliari for the next European Spring!