AC NEWS – Luna Rossa Challenge 2013 took to the America’s Cup racecourse today for its first action of the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series, and came away with 1 point.
With the wind blowing around 13 knots, helmsman Chris Draper guided the silver AC72 around the 12.07-nautical-mile course in 28 minutes, 58 seconds.
After consulting with the race committee, the Italian team chose to sail the five-leg course, shorter than the 16-mile courses that Emirates Team New Zealand sailed in its first two races on Sunday and Tuesday.
“Today was pretty light and puffy, but I’m sure we can do a better job,” said skipper Max Sirena.
Luna Rossa reached a top speed of 36.13 knots on the first leg of the course, which it sailed unopposed because its scheduled opponent, Artemis Racing, is still carrying out structural tests on its AC72.
Illustrating the complexity of the AC72, Sirena said a $1 fitting nearly prevented them from racing their multi-million dollar catamaran.
“We had a small issue with the daggerboard system on the right,” said Sirena. “A $1 piece could’ve compromised the race, but at the end we managed the breakdown. The little breakdown could’ve compromised a foiling jibe or even some tacks, but the goal was to finish the race and I’m pretty happy about that.”
Shortly before Luna Rossa took to the racecourse, the International Jury issued its ruling in the protests filed by the Italian team and Emirates Team New Zealand. The jury upheld the protests, but that won’t stop the racing from going forward.
“We all abide by the jury’s decision,” said Regatta Director Iain Murray. “We have so many ingredients in the 34th America’s Cup. I’ve had great sailing friends ring me and say that they’re glued to the television watching one boat race around the course.
“What we’re putting out, what the sailors are doing with these boats, has really brought the America’s Cup and the technology to a new level, and I think we should all be proud of that,” Murray said. “But we need to finish it off. We need get two boats on the racecourse and we need to have a great America’s Cup.”
The next chance at two boats on the racecourse comes on Saturday, when Emirates Team New Zealand is scheduled to race Luna Rossa Challenge in the first race of the second round robin of the Louis Vuitton Cup.
“For sure it’s going to be exciting,” said Sirena.