PHOTOS – Luna Rossa’s first training session, how it went and what happened

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While in Barcelona Ineos Britannia was revealing its new AC 75 ( we will tell you about it very soon in a dedicated in-depth article), in Cagliari Luna Rossa faced its first real day of training at sea. Technically it would be day 3 of work on the new boat, considering day 1 as the presentation day, day 2 for towing tests and systems check, and day 3 the one in question.

Luna Rossa
At first glance, one immediately notices how the match between sails and rig works; the membrane surfaces seem very smooth with no abnormal pull zones that would have caused small diagonal creases. AC Recon Photos

The day in Sardinia featured a very robust and gusty Mistral at times, with oscillating intensity, which also exceeded 20 knots with a base that, according to official reports from the spy team following the Italian crew, was around 14 knots. This was accompanied by a short wave that began to get steep as it moved away from the coast.

Luna Rossa first made a few tow edges for a check of the onboard systems while sailing between 20 and 25 knots, then the procedures to rig the sails and begin the first flight began.

How did Luna Rossa’s first outing go

Luna Rossa in the second sailing board during the training outing. AC Recon Photos

The coxswains chosen for the first practice were Francesco Bruni and James Spithill, the trimmers were Andrea Tesei and Umberto Molineris, and the riders on board were Bruno Rosetti, Enrico Voltolini, Nicholas Brezzi, and Emanuele Liuzzi.

The Italian AC 75 first sailed in displacement mode on both walls, showing good agility, and then attempted its first autonomous takeoff on foils. The wind intensity at that time was just under 20 knots, around 18, and the boat was able to lift itself out of the water independently, port tack, as soon as the speed touched 15 knots.

Luna Rossa at the moment when, flying too high, the appendages went into ventilation causing a small fall from the foils. Frame from Video by Ivo Rovira, AC Recon

However, the left tack edge would last only a few minutes, as for unspecified reasons the Italian AC 75 tended to fly too high over the water, creating some ventilation problems for the appendages.

The small fall from the foils. Frame from Video by Ivo Rovira, AC Recon

After a few on-board checks, Luna Rossa repeated the operation on the starboard tack but this time starting in tow and then taking off and sailing under sail. He sailed a few minutes on starboard tack in a more linear fashion, only to decelerate and end the training after a short while due to the further increase in wind pressure above 20 knots.

Luna Rossa
The detail of the two mainsails being checked by the crew. AC Recon Photos

It was an interlocutory and transitional day, nevertheless described as positive by the team, and also conditioned by a wind intensity that did not make life easy for the boat that was on its absolute first sailing outing. Some caution probably also prevailed, since, let us remember this because it is as important as ever, the unions have only one AC 75 at their disposal and to harm it would mean having to deal with a major problem and a major loss of time on preparation.

Luna Rossa training session
AC Recon photos.

Judgment on Luna Rossa’s performance is suspended, or rather it is totally premature and all in all irrelevant at the stage the boat is in. Even any minor difficulties in flight or onboard systems should not be overlooked at this time. In fact, it should be considered that the foils are the old generation ones, which are significantly slower than the flat versions shown by the Kiwis (who still use a still old set anyway) and Alinghi (who, on the other hand, already showed new appendages). In short, to understand the real potential of the Italian boat will still take some time, and we will only find out definitively when the first official comparisons are made in the regatta.

For the time being, there is evidence from both Alinghi and Luna Rossa of a more cautious and “limp” (pass us the term) first outing at sea than that of Team New Zealand, which already performed towing and sailing tests on launch day, to touch 40 knots to windward on day 2. It does not count for anything at this stage, but it is clear that the defender wants to show himself to be very solid and fearsome and wants to emphasize the advantage (presumed or real?) he has over the other challengers.

Mauro Giuffrè

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