Italian Little Americas Cup challenger revealed

Challenge Italia announce list of sailors and design team

Wednesday November 2nd 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: Italy

Team Challenge Italia was introduced today in Palermo.


Promoted by Roberto Grippi and formed in September 2010, Challenge Italia is a group of sailors, designers, and boat builders determined to challenge in C-Class catamarans with the aim of winning the Little America’s Cup, due (at present) to be held in 2013 in Falmouth, England. It is the first Italian challenger for the Little America’s Cup in 31 years.

The aim is to build three boats, although not all of them will necessarily be entered in the event.

Sailing team
Francesco Bruni
Pierluigi De Felice
Lamberto Cesari
Vittorio Bissaro
Luigi Blancato
Gaetano Pennino
Gabriele Bruni
Team Manager: Roberto Grippi

The experience and success of this sailing team can be measured from their record of victories:
- Two sailors ranking first in ISAF world match racing;
- Four participations in past Olympics;
- Five in past America’s Cups;
- Eight world championships in various sailing classes;
- 33 Italian National championship in various classes;
- Other wins in world class competetions that are too many to mention.

Design Team
Benedetto Inzerillo - Project manager
Attilio Albeggiani - Project manager, construction manager
Richard Korpus - CFD analysis, wing-sail design and engineering
Claudio Cairoli - CFD analysis, wing-sail design and engineering
Giorgio Provinciali - VPP analysis
Davide Tagliapietra - Structural analysis, FEM analysis
Massimo De Luca - Hull CFD analysis
Beppe Musca - Hull design, CFD analysis
Francesco Belvisi - Preliminary hull parameter design
Luca Caruso - Wing-sail structure design

The design group is built around the Palermitan yacht design firm of Inzerillo & Albeggiani.

The group has four specialists that should be singled out because of their extensive experience in
America’s Cup design: Giorgio Provinciali worked for Luna Rossa and BMW/Oracle; Davide
Tagliapietra for +39 Challenge; and Richard Korpus and Claudio Cairoli who helped design the
current America’s Cup winner for BMW/Oracle.

Today was the first meeting of the complete design group. Until now, most have worked together by remote. The first design meeting was held over the last few days in Palermo; during which time the team decided its next design goals.

It was decided to construct three C-Class catamarans between 2011 and 2013.

The first prototype is already under construction, and will be used to produce two identical boats.

The first boat will launch mid February 2012 and the second by the end of March 2012.

The hulls will be ready as early as December 2011, while construction of first wing will take until  mid-February 2012.

Design of the second prototype has already started, and the boat is expected to launch before the  end of November 2012. Wing number 3 will be completed by the end of July 2012, and tested on one of the first prototype boats.

The sailing team is working together with designers and structural specialists to supply high-level  functional feedback. Compared to sailing teams from other classes, this group is more comparable  to boat test pilots who will investigate the limits of design and construction.  test program for prototype number one has been designed keeping in mind the design goals of Challenge Italia.

The usual secrecy associated with design projects at this level is being avoided. Challenge Italia  will offer their Little America’s Cup competition the opportunity to compete in regattas organised by the team as soon as spring 2012.

Challenge Italia design activity is not limited to a closed group of designers, but is to cooperate with the University of Palermo.


The team signed a memorandum of understanding with the Faculty of Engineering at the University intended to publicise the results of their design research and technology. These public conferences will be held jointly between the Engineering faculty and Challenge Italia designers, and conducted at the university.

The faculty will also provide support for the team from within the University. Academic research subjects will be selected that are of mutual interest between the faculty and team.

This plan confirms that Challenge Italia is encouraging advanced research, and utilising the value of  academics known to advance the standing of Palermo and Sicily in the eyes of the world.

Italians last took part in the Little America's Cup in 1978 with Miss Lancia. The challenge, led by Cesare Biagi, was financed by the Agnelli family. However nothing could be done against the Italian-American Tony Mauro, who beat the Italians 4-0 with his Patient Lady IV.

Miss Lancia had innovative steering that was soon copied by the Americans and is still used today by Canaan, the 2010 winner of the competition. In 1980 and 1982 the Italians participated with Signor G, but were again defeated.

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