© Ivo Rovira / America's Cup

© Ivo Rovira / America's Cup

America's Cup: Luna Rossa at full engagement


23/05/2023 - 09:52

Race pace intensity noticeably ramped up for Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli on Monday as the Italians took to the waters off Cagliari in near-perfect conditions of flat water and sea-breeze to really start pushing tight manoeuvres and time-on-distance.

After an initial foil data gathering exercise on straight-lines, the Chase Boats threw in the customary marks and created a short course with tight boundaries and placed the fully instrumented Chase Boat 1 on the course as opposition. This is a technique honed from AC36 in the lead up to the 2021 regatta that Philippe Presti, the team’s coach, perfected shadowing the AC75 and made major gains in boat positioning and handling as the Chase Boat puts the sailors under serious pressure. Out in Cagliari, and with six people onboard at times, the Chase Boat was pushing hard and demanding more and more from the team.

Shannon Falcone, the on-water Operations Manager for Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli described the technique saying: “The racecourse is so small with the boundaries and everything and with Chase 1 you basically sail like you're sailing a boat, so you've got targets, true wind angles, you’ve got all the instrumentation onboard to sail as if you were sailing the race boat and in the manoeuvres you drop the speed so you're not gaining too much in the manoeuvres and so on and you just try to basically be on it. The good thing is I've got a great team - Max (Sirena) calling tactics you know Gilo (Nobili) navigating, Mickey calling relatives so just feels like you know we can really bring it to the boys and show them how it's done.”

Luna Rossa looked very tight today. Low flight upwind with almost-perfect end-plating to the bustle and the surface of the water, and powerful, controlled flight downwind, in two and a half hours they barely came off the foils and pushed through a total of 40 tacks and gybes with an 88% foil-to-foil ratio and no touchdowns.

© Ivo Rovira / America's Cup
© Ivo Rovira / America's Cup

Shannon summed up the day saying: “It was a good day out on the water, the sea-breeze filled in nicely, the young guys on the boat too, and ultimately it was just you know laps around the racecourse. I think something you may have spotted was us interfering with the LEQ a bit more, that's just part of the process to get the sailors onboard, starting the comms loop, calling relatives, putting them in difficult situations. It’s easy to sail around by yourself ultimately and that's something that not being able to do two boating and so on you have to sort of engage in that end of something and that with Philippe last campaign it got really good with the AC75 so just bringing it with our LEQ now and hopefully helps the guys to debrief situations that they haven't had before and just get them talking about it. It's all about communications really.”

On this form, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli look the stand-out challenger and with more sailing planned this week, their winter training in Cagliari looks to be on point and the new starboard foil appears to be working extremely well with low leeway and fast through the manoeuvres. The Italians keep impressing and the summer in Barcelona is coming fast. Stay tuned for more action this week.

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