Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli’s first Youth Camp completed

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli’s first Youth Camp completed

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli’s first Youth Camp completed


07/02/2023 - 18:11

A first successful session, packed with enthusiasm and fickle weather conditions

At the end of the first Youth Camp (January 30th - February 5th organized in Cagliari by Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli for sailors age under 25, the outcome is extremely positive, both for the 14 youths involved and for the coaches who followed them on shore and at sea as they sailed on the 69Fs.

«These sailors are very young and all very good, with different skills and experience», comments Simone Salvà, coach of Youth Camp 1 (together with coordinator Jacopo Plazzi). «Not only have they proved to be technically skilled, but they are also motivated and have showed their ability to work as a team, all qualities that are of primary importance for us. Those with more experience were always ready to help those who were trying the 69F for the first time, and this is something that impressed me positively».

Committed every day to a demanding schedule, with early morning starts and long days, the young sailors attended theory lessons at the team base, gym and pool training (learning water safety techniques) and sessions at sea, alternating roles on board. Although accustomed to sporting success and podiums, there was an overall excitement and appreciation for the unique opportunity to be part of this project.

Guido Gallinaro, one of Italy's most successful Under 25 sailors (Optimist, Laser Radial, RS21, Star, 49er...), was enthusiastic: «The Camp was very well organized and the guys from Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli gave us a wonderful welcome. I was especially fascinated by the match-racing lesson with Philippe Presti and the one on race rules held by Rules Advisor Marco Mercuriali: both taught me a lot about how these fast, flying boats must be handled in a match race and what rules must be respected. It was like discovering a whole new world».

Chiara Benini Floriani, with a world youth Laser 4.7 Class title and a fifth place in the Laser Radial at the Italian Olympic Class Championships, echoes his thoughts: «I'm really happy to have been part of this project; experiencing the life of the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli sailors has been exciting and we had a lot of fun sailing the 69F. The safety training in the pool was the newest experience, but overall, it was a very stimulating week that taught me many things».

Born in 1998, multiple world, European and Italian 470 mixed champion (with Marco Gradoni), Alessandra Dubbini is the 'veteran' of the group: «The Youth Camp gave me the opportunity to train with a crew of three, also very young, on fun foiling boats that are preparatory to the AC40s. I started out as a crew, so I was alternated as flight controller where I trimmed foils and sails. The safety training was a new experience for me and was a personal challenge, but overall it was a great week in every respect. It seems unbelievable to me that two years ago I was cheering Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli in front of the TV and now I'm here living a whole week with the team...».

The youngest of them all is Lorenzo Pezzilli, class 2005, multiple Optimist and 29er champion, who has successfully helmed 49ers since 2022: «It was my first time on a 69F and at the helm; I thank those with more experience who helped me get familiar with the boat. This week, in which we lived together with the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli guys, has been amazing; it made me see what goes on behind the scenes, how a Cup team works and what it means to be part of a crew, where the work of each individual has an impact on all the others».

At the end of the first Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Youth Camp, it is still too early to draw conclusions, as Salvà explains: «Our sporting objective is medium term; on one hand we want to find the most suitable people to race in the Youth America's Cup on the AC40s, and on the other hand we need to form two crews (with at least one woman per boat) to participate in the 69F Youth Foiling Gold Cup: it won’t be an easy choice, as both Classes require different skills and physical qualities, and because everyone deserves the position… At the end of this first Youth Camp I reported my feedback to the coordinator Jacopo Plazzi, who will add it to the evaluation of Francesco Marrai (coach of Camp 2) in order to reach a first shortlist of eight possible candidates. The final selection with the four definitive names will be made at a later stage and then it will be up to Max Sirena, skipper and team director of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli».

From a weather standpoint the Golfo degli Angeli showed the youths all of its potential, alternating between steady Mistral (15/20 knots) and some medium and weak breezes. «After the baptism of fire on the first day», says Salvà, «the guys were confronted with variable conditions - weak and medium winds - which are in any case an excellent training ground for any sailor, because they require maximum concentration and great precision in manoeuvres».

The second Youth Camp will take place from February 6-12.

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