New Luna Rossa launched

Skirt lifted on Prada's new ITA74 in Punta Ala

Tuesday May 21st 2002, Author: Alessandra Ghezzi, Location: Italy

A bright Mediterranean sun was shining this morning at the launching of Luna Rossa ITA 74, the newborn at Prada Challenge for America's Cup.

The event took place at the Team Prada base in Punta Ala. Miuccia Prada christened the boat breaking the traditional champagne across the bow while Patrizio Bertelli and the whole Team Prada looked on during this private ceremony. Don Sandro Spinelli, parish priest of Punta Ala, held the ritual blessing of the boat. Bruno Calandriello, president of the Yacht Club Punta Ala, was also present as were the boatyard personnel and the families of the Prada Team members with lots of cheering children who provided a gay and festive backdrop to the event.

Luna Rossa, in full dress, touched the water shortly after 11am and, in a surprise move, the protective skirts were removed to show the topsides, allowing glimpses of the underwater appendices through the clear water. The logo remained unchanged, while the hull is painted a darker, matt grey.

After the toasts, Patrizio Bertelli with Miuccia Prada, Francesco de Angelis and a group of team representatives boarded a plane for Milano where the official press conference for the presentation of the boat took place.

A great hall was set up by the Milanese offices of Team Prada with four large scale test-tank models hanging from the walls and journalists, official suppliers, technology partners and guests were shown the images of the launch. The microphones were then opened for Patrizio Bertelli and Francesco de Angelis to comment on the event.

"This new challenge starts again from zero. It is a different challenge with a new team and new boats. We will try to be as detached as possible from the last Cup and we intend to tackle this challenge with renewed energy and enthusiasm", said Patrizio Bertelli. Francesco de Angelis confirmed by saying: "I cannot think of any element of the boat that we launched today that is not totally new, a result of the intense research and development as well as intensive training program followed during the past two years. Every time you participate in a sporting event you must rewrite the page from zero with the intent to better yourself from your previous effort."

A journalist asked what were the reactions of the Team Prada when they learnt of a second Italian challenger at the Louis Vuitton Cup. Francesco answered by saying he is happy there is a further contender and that other Italians decided to participate. "In the end, every team will gain the hearts of their fans with their behaviour on the field and with their results," added de Angelis.

After the press conference, Patrizio Bertelli and the rest of the team flew back to Punta Ala to celebrate, together with families and friends, the first day of the new Luna Rossa ITA 74 with a barbecue on the beach. Tomorrow crew, shore-team and technicians will be already at work for the delicate tuning of hull, underwater appendices, sails and gear of the new boat that, after the technical tests are completed, will sail in the waters of Punta Ala.

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