Home News Prada, Pirelli Unveil Luna Rossa New Boat Ahead of 37th America’s Cup...

Prada, Pirelli Unveil Luna Rossa New Boat Ahead of 37th America’s Cup – WWD


CAGLIARI, Italy — “Luna Rossa spurred the birth of the sailing movement in Italy….This is its true merit,” Prada chief executive officer Patrizio Bertelli said here Thursday, the day the new boat set to compete in the 37th America’s Cup was unveiled.

The mood was cheerful at the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli dock of the Sardinian town, as Miuccia Prada christened the new model, a half-size prototype set to serve as a testing ground for the AC75 monohull that will compete in the upcoming cup, which will be held in Barcelona in 2024.

Donning cerulean shantung pants with a matching shirt and V-neck sweater complemented by her signature vintage jewelry, the designer looked impatient to carry out her godmother duties — especially when the hoist seemingly had some issues nearing the sailboat’s bow.

This was the 10th time the designer has acted as a godmother to a Luna Rossa boat. She was flanked by her husband, who is also president of the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team; Agostino Randazzo, president of the Sicilian sailing circle, and Marco Tronchetti Provera, CEO of Pirelli, co-title sponsor of the Luna Rossa team and partner in its technological development. A new sponsor, Unipol, joined the roster of supporters.

Miuccia Prada christens the new Luna Rossa Prototype boat in Cagliari, Italy

Miuccia Prada christens the new Luna Rossa Prototype boat in Cagliari, Italy flanked by husband Patrizio Bertelli, Marco Tronchetti Provera and Agostino Randazzo.

Courtesy of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team

Glistening under the sun, the new model, dubbed Prototype and crafted from carbon composites, was decked in a red, white and black geometric camouflage pattern developed in-house which, Bertelli explained, is a trick traditionally employed in the sailing world to hide the boat’s technical features.

The Luna Rossa Prototype marks the first boat the team has entirely developed and manufactured in-house, in Cagliari.

Bertelli touted the painstaking job of the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team, crediting the prototype for embedding features that were in the pipeline already ahead of the 36th America’s Cup but were scuppered by COVID-19-related supply chain issues.

“The sailing competition world was very Anglo-Saxon-driven until Luna Rossa made its foray in it. It’s been the single element of disruption in the entire history of sailing throughout the 20th century, nobody says that,” the Prada chief said with pride.

“Without Patrizio [Bertelli] we wouldn’t be here….It’s an Italian boat and I think it’s important to telegraph how advanced the country is in so many fields,” said Max Sirena, skipper and team director.

He said the investment planned for the boat to challenge for the 37th America’s Cup amounts to about 90 million to 95 million euros.

In line with the America’s Cup’s new protocol, espionage is now permitted, meaning delegates of other sailing teams were in attendance, hiding among guests.

This partly explains why Sirena and head of the design team Horacio Carabelli shared few details on the prototype’s technical improvements.

The monohull model required 30,000 hours and 65 people over 10 months for completion. The boat features a wing mast and smaller bowsprit, as well as a revisited keel.

It is a completely different boat compared to the previous model,” Carabelli said. “It will be a constant development until we come up with the final challenge-ready boat….The aerodynamic component is very important.”

“It’s very advanced, it’s going to be hard to conduct it at the beginning,” echoed Sirena. “It’s really a laboratory; we didn’t spare anything, from its structure to the aerodynamic and fluid dynamic features,” he said.

Launch Luna Rossa Prototype

The new Luna Rossa Prototype boat unveiled in Cagliari, Italy.

Courtesy of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team

Based on the prototype unveiled Thursday, the boat set to compete in regattas will be built by Persico Marine, taking into account adjustments to be determined during training sessions at sea, which are due to start in a few days.

After acquiring the exclusive naming and presenting sponsor rights of all events, including the Challenger Selection Series, which was officially named the Prada Cup, Bertelli said the luxury brand did not renew the sponsorship, having disliked the previous experience in New Zealand in 2021.

A new naming and presenting sponsor has yet to be disclosed. Before Prada, fellow luxury label Louis Vuitton had sponsored the Challenger Selection Series beginning in 1983.

The concept of a Challenger Selection Series originated in 1970, when for the first time in the history of the America’s Cup there was more than one international challenger vying to race against the defender for the coveted trophy.

The upcoming America’s Cup will mark Luna Rossa’s seventh challenge, but sixth race, as the team in 2015 withdrew from the competition over disagreements with the overturning of rules unanimously adopted throughout the previous year by the Oracle Team of the U.S., which was owned by Larry Ellison and which lost the America’s Cup to the New Zealand team.

The Prada boat will represent Italy and the Sicilian Sailing Circle at the oldest trophy in the history of sports and the most prestigious in the sailing world.

Details for the first series of preliminary regattas including the Challenger Selection Series have yet to be disclosed by team Emirates Team New Zealand, the current defender. Asked about speculation that regattas could take place in Cagliari, Bertelli and Sirena said it is likely but still to be confirmed by the defender.

The Luna Rossa team was established in 1997 by Prada’s CEO with the original name of “Prada Challenge for the America’s Cup 2000.” The team won the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2000, with a record of 38 victories over 49 races. It also competed in 2003 and in 2007, when it reached the Louis Vuitton Cup final.

As reported, Luna Rossa won the most recent Challenger Selection Series, the Prada Cup, in 2021 but lost to contender Emirates Team New Zealand, which succeeded in defending the 36th America’s Cup with a 7-to-3 victory over Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, wrecking the latter’s ambitions to take the trophy home.

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