Luna Rossa and the two-boat test: Gradoni-Spithill vs. Bruni-Tita


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Luna Rossa
37th America’s Cup
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team
Luna Rossa LEQ12 prototype vs AC 40. Recon Photos

And finally in Cagliari, for Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, came the time for two-boat testing, Leq 12 (the ac 75 prototype) vs. AC 40 (the one-design boat with which the Preliminary Regattas and the Touth and Women America’s cup are run). On an ideal day of Mistral winds, the Italian crew took to the water with both boats.

In this first time of two-boat trials, as reflected in the official “Recon” spy reports, the AC 40 was left in One Design mode, meaning no modifications to appendages, sails or rigging (which is feasible on AC 40s outside official events).

So let’s see how it went, which boat seemed faster, who was on board, what the conditions were, and what sails were used by the two Italian boats.

Luna Rossa, AC 40 vs. Leq 12 – The conditions and sails used

37th America’s Cup
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team
Luna Rossa LEQ12 prototype, the detail of the chosen foils. Recon Photos

The day opened with a 285-degree wind around 14-15 knots, rotated to 315° and increased to 22-23 with a short, steep chop in the second half of the day, determined by the wind, combined with a residual long wave.

The LEQ 12 sailed throughout the training session, which lasted about 2.40 minutes, with mainsail number 2 and jib 4. The AC 40, on the other hand, remained with mainsail number 1 and also chose jib 4. A total of 26 turns and 24 gybes were made by the two boats.

Luna Rossa, AC 40 vs Leq 12 – Who was on board

Andrea Tesei and Vittorio Bissaro. Recon Photos

The training included a series of starts and classic speed tests on long, upwind and downwind edges, as well as a small course with buoys to perform rests.

Aboard the Leq 12 at the helm were James Spithill and Marco Gradoni, while on the AC 40 were Francesco Bruni and Ruggero Tita. The trimmers on the Leq 12 were Vittorio bissaro and Andrea Tesei, and on the 40 were Umberto Molineris and Federico Colaninno. The latter is one of the youngest members of the team, a talented finnist and long-time sailor on the foil boat circuits such as the 69f. Colaninno was also selected by Luna Rossa to be part of the crew that will attempt to win the Youth America’s Cup.

Luna Rossa, AC 40 vs. Leq 12 – Who was faster

As expected, the Leq 12 is a boat with more overall horsepower than the AC 40, and top speeds on the water showed the difference. The AC 40 was described in the official Recon reports as very fast and “smart” at the start, a fact that, combined with effective tactics, made for open testing with the two boats close at some junctures.

To be seen in the coming days whether the AC 40 will be presented with custom solutions coming out of the one design for these tests, or whether it will be only the Leq 12 possibly changing something to try different setups while keeping the 40 in the same configuration.

Mauro Giuffrè




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