PHOTOS All the secrets of newly launched Luna Rossa

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The launching of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team. Hull unveiled! But the foils are “fake…”

Beautiful, just beautiful, the new Luna Rossa. A spectacular object. But beauty, in AC75, is not everything. Whether it will be fast we will know in quite some time, in Barcelona from August 22 to 25. Only then will the six boats (Switzerland, France, Great Britain for Europe competing with the U.S. and New Zealand) compete for the first time in the final Preliminary Regattas, which are worth nothing for ranking. The real races, the ones that count, start with the Louis Vuitton Cup from August 29.

We went to the launching of Luna Rossa

Then it will truly be America’s Cup. And it will become clear who got the boat right and who will have to chase. And what will be the fate of the Italian boat in the 2024 America’s Cup. But before then, when the going gets tough and real, let’s enjoy the launching of Luna Rossa that took place today, April 13 in Cagliari. We were there.

Above are a few photos of the “pre-launch” atmosphere: the hooded AC 75 ready to be unveiled, Luna Rossa’s chase boat entourage, the fleet of curious boats in front of Luna Rossa’s headquarters in Cagliari, the AC40 on display in the shed…

A real party in pure Prada style. Nothing lavish, everything perfect. Even Max Sirena (53), undisputed head of Luna Rossa’s team, which is larger than that of a soccer team, seemed relaxed, like someone who is halfway through and finally breathes a sigh of relief.

The entire crew, wearing the new minimal uniform as Prada elegance protocol dictates, was flawless. In the elegance competition, Luna Rossa wins for sure.

Even supreme boss Patrizio Bertelli (78), on his seventh attempt to win the world’s most famous Cup, was apparently quiet, almost smiling.

Miuccia Prada just broke (at the premiere) the bottle of Ferrari. Good sign!

The godmother then, his consort Miuccia Prada (74), looked perfect in her sunflower yellow overcoat and fulfilled her task perfectly. She broke the auspicious bottle of Ferrari without delay. As all sailors know, the bottle against the hull must break at the first blow, otherwise it is bad luck.

None of Luna Rossa 2024’s partners were missing. From co-title sponsor Pirelli (tires) represented by Marco Tronchetti Provera, to official sponsors Unipol (banking, insurance, financial services) and Panerai (watches). All strictly Italian, excluding Technical partner The Woolmark Company, which certifies the quality of Merino wool in the world that is Australian-owned.

Another good omen, there was good weather as well. In short, everything at the launch of the Italian boat for the America’s Cup in the Cagliari base was perfect.

One boat, if you make a mistake you’re screwed

Why is it so important to zero in on the boat for the next America’s Cup right away? Because the new 2024 regulations allow each team to make only one boat, unlike the 2021 regulations where there could be two boats and then you could decide which one to use by testing. The less fast one would “jump.” This time it may be modified, but not rebuilt. A big difference.

What the new Luna Rossa looks like

But the boat? What is the boat like? First of all, it does not look like a boat as we are used to knowing it. To put it bluntly, it is not really a boat.

To understand why, you need to do a review of the basic concepts of these flying objects that are the America’s Cup flying monohulls found here and here.

To make it clearer for you, these boats are designed not to sail submerged in water but to sail over water. Reason why aerodynamics and finding solutions to make it go faster when sailing only on foils, the only submerged element, is the key to design. If you get them right you go faster, if you get them wrong….

But let’s talk about the hull. Two choices are available to create an air cushion between water and hull. The first is that of a flat-bottomed hull, which allows a cushion of air to be recreated under the hull, avoiding any downforce problems (more conservative solution). The second to opt for a tunnel dug under the hull. The latter solution is riskier, but it can generate an acceleration of airflow (Venturi effect) that the other solution does not offer.

The hull of the new Luna Rossa looks like something different from what we have already seen with the other boats launched. The bow is razor sharp and deep, at the height of the foils the boat becomes completely flat, it almost looks like a “box.”

There is another change from the boats in the previous America’s Cup being raced in New Zealand. In Barcelona, the site of the next America’s Cup, there will often be wave conditions and even little wind. What does it mean? It means that boats will fall more easily from the air and could sail in racing for short phases even in semi-displacement or better “kissed” conditions in the water.

So let’s talk about what’s underneath. The hull has a mini “keel-length” (reminiscent of boats from the early 1900s, before the design separated the bulb and rudder from the actual hull) and extending along the centerline to the rudder .

A solution already “glimpsed” on the other newly launched boat, Alinghi Red Bull.

This “keelboat” is used to keep the boat from drifting when submerged and to make it steerable under these conditions. Just like a traditional displacement boat.

The mystery of the foils, what will they look like?

But let’s come to what experts consider the most important element, the one that will determine who will go faster than the other competitors: the foils. Well, we didn’t see Luna Rossa’s, because those of the 2021 edition boat were cunningly mounted. Both foil and rudder.

Horacio Carabelli swears that Luna Rossa’s foils are as revolutionary as his entire project.

One thing is for sure, the new Luna Rossa will not have big, thick foils as in the old boat. Those foils that, unlike its opponent New Zealand in the 2021 final, were primarily responsible for its defeat. Because Luna Rossa was going one to two knots slower than the Kiwis’ hull.

To give you a better understanding of what we are talking about and what these blessed next-generation foils will look like, check out the image and caption below.

foil red moon
The appendages in the next edition will be very narrow and long, the bulky Y-shaped ones seen in the last edition will disappear.Flat or curved, there are the two solutions in the field, and much work will be done on the foil tips (the tips) and also on the last part of the arm (arm) before the appendage attachment, to reduce the spray effect (nebullization) of the water.

When the deck and mainsail are aileron

Missing from the list is the other key element of an America’s Cup boat, the deck: completely flush deck, concave with exposed carbon. On the two sides, the four “holes” where the crew will go to position themselves. The helmsman’s “hand wheel” is in the second hole from the stern, in both sides.

The other seats will be reserved for “convicts” who will have to push on the pedals to generate the energy needed to power all the electro-hydraulic systems on board, which allow them to maneuver sheets and foils. By hand practically nothing is done, it would be impossible given the monstrous loads these missiles dump on the various mobile equipment.

Now after the deck, let’s talk about the sail plan. Why do we put them together? Simple, in an America’s Cup boat they are practically one and the same. The hull and mainsail assembly are ideally like the rear wing of a Formula One car. The mainsail is the long side of the aileron and the deck is the side bulkheads. Again, nothing like a traditional boat.

On the new Luna Rossa one thinks of those poor people who have to go to the bow to change a jib with that blanket devoid of any foothold. Don’t worry, no one goes to the bow, the jib doesn’t change, and as of this edition of the Cup, asymmetrical sails, such as Code 0s, have also been abolished. If you remember, the boats go so fast, generating apparent wind, that they even sail in stern swells with sails cocked as if they were going upwind.

This Red Moon is glamorous

And we come to the aesthetic side, a detail that on all Luna Rossas has always been important since Prada by trade makes fashion clothing. The new Luna Rossa is glamorous, no doubt about it, and it could not have been otherwise. Its silver color is reminiscent of the first Luna Rossa of 1999-2000, the one nicknamed precisely “silver bullet.” But more silvery!

Red Moon Launch 2024
Luna Rossa in the water in Cagliari

The America’s Cup is not only won at sea but also on land

There is another important element, crucial in determining who will go faster, which is underestimated but should not be underestimated. This edition of the America’s Cup will be the closest there has ever been to the world of Formula 1 racing. Not only because, as we have told you, it is more a matter of aerodynamics than fluid dynamics (bodies immersed in water). It will also be a game played on the data collected on the boat’s performance in various wind and sea conditions. To then choose the most effective setups to use during the regatta. Exactly like in Formula One where the driver makes adjustments that are suggested to him by the engineers in the pits, after analyzing data on the car’s behavior. At all times during the race and in all parts of the circuit.

One thing is clear, there will be no adjustments made by radio directly from the ground. In fact, page 54 of the regulations for the AC 75s (the code name for this generation of Cup boats) explicitly states that there can be no control systems external to those on board.

That said, we will move closer and closer to adjustments dictated by data collected and processed on the ground and imposed on the crew. But this does not mean that the crew no longer matters. The Luna Rossa team has embarked new young and experienced foiling sailors on this new adventure. But only the (racing) field will tell how good they will be.

Luna Rossa. In the end it will always be a matter of handle

But rest assured, the handle of the sailors will always be important. The computer and AI are not on board, and in hand-to-hand combat with the opponent, between only two boats as happens in match racing, it will always be the tactician and helmsman who will make the difference.

And the Italian crew, lined up at the launch, as far as handle is concerned, is in good shape. Some names that will be on board: Jimmy Spithill (44, two America’s Cup wins), Marco Gradoni (19, three Optimist World Golds, youngest sailor to win World Sailor of the Year), Ruggero Tita (33, reigning Olympic mixed catamaran gold medalist), Checco Bruni (51, three Olympics and five Cup campaigns), Gillo Nobili (48, three America’s Cup wins), Vittorio Bissaro (37, Olympic athlete and great rival of Ruggero Tita)

For now, let’s enjoy the beautiful new Luna Rossa that has just been launched. Then we will see.

Edited by Luca Oriani, Eugenio Ruocco, Mauro Giuffrè

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