We were in Cagliari following one of the most anticipated events of the year: the official launch of the AC75 Luna Rossa that will take part in the 2021 America’s Cup. HERE the videostreaming of the ceremony.
Do we know what a sailboat is? Well, let’s forget about it. This is what we thought when we saw Luna Rossa live before the launch.
Those ballasted side wings make her look like an airplane, the rudder is a spit, the stern shapes escape into the water as if she were already in flight, the mast looks like a tapered light pole, she looks more like a spaceship than a boat. Science fiction, we said to ourselves. And as well, it is all true. This is the AC75 with which Italy will try to wrest the Old Pitcher from the New Zealand Defenders.
It seems impossible that such a large object (20 meters) weighs only 6500 kg, as much as a ten-meter cruiser. It also makes an impression of a boat without a bulb, which is why it looks like an airplane. And like the legendary plane of the hero of World War I, pilot Francesco Baracca, who had the prancing horse (what is now the symbol of Ferrari) on the fuselage of his plane, at the end of the two foils is the grinning teeth of a shark. Will it become a symbol of the new red moon, the one that will act as a good-luck charm when “knocking down” opponents in the turn?
We took a flying look at Luna Rossa’s hull and appendages comparing them with those of the recently launched New Zealand. What a difference! Patrizio Bertelli was right to say that the America’s Cup boats are finally coming back to be different in appearance and will be different in performance as well. Luna Rossa’s bow is straight with a rounded entry into the water, somewhat like the boats of yesteryear.
New Zealand’s bow, on the other hand, is at an inverted angle, like many of the latest generation of racing boats. Water entrances are dry, straight with accentuated angles. Even from here, from the bows of these unfamiliar hulls of the new America’s Cup, it is clear that there will be no team play between the two friendly teams. Everyone now goes their own way, starting with design choices.
If we then continue to look at the two boats, Italian and New Zealand, the huge difference in the profiles of the two ballasted foils stands out. The New Zealand ones shown at the launch are longer and with wider fins. Above all, there are no noticeable bulges where to insert ballast. Luna Rossa’s wings, on the other hand, have two ballasted torpedoes clearly evident.
The stern sections of the two boats also have little in common. New Zealand aft is higher on the water with more roundness. Luna Rossa has squarer, shallower sections on the water.
The two true hulls have one element in common, a central volume that is likely to be the only one submerged when the boat is not sailing in the air but in the displacement phase. A solution that could be valid even in very light winds in semi foiling situations.
In contrast to the futuristic desgin of the boat, the launching ceremony instead is very classic with Miuccia Prada worried about getting the bottle to break on the first shot (you know, if it doesn’t break on the first one it’s a bad omen!): Miuccia at the launch of the ninth Luna Rossa doesn’t miss a beat, but this time she and her husband Patrizio Bertelli are more excited than usual. The moon is back! And even Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte arrived to give his “blessing”!
Luna Rossa’s launch follows those of Team New Zealand and American Magic (find out about them HERE and HERE). A very important day for Italian and international sailing, Italy ahead of the next America’s Cup is in fact beginning to unveil its cards. The one that went into the water today will be the first of two boats the Italian team plans to launch.