Big guns join Luna Rossa

Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez among the latest recruits

Tuesday August 21st 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Luna Rossa Challenge 2013 has strengthened its team with the arrival of five new sailors: Simone de Mari (foredeck/grinder), Iker Martinez de Lizarduy (helmsman/afterguard), Xabier Fernández Gaztañaga (trimmer/foredeck), Marco Montis (grinder) and Wade Morgan (grinder/foredeck).

Born in Rome in 1973, Simone de Mari began racing on offshore boats and J/24, participating in major regattas in the Mediterranean and later in international match racing circuit. He debuted in the America's Cup with Luna Rossa in 1997 as one of the youngest members of the crew and has since participated in all the challenges with the team, winning the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2000. In 2010 he won the America's Cup aboard BMW Oracle Racing, in the role of pitman.

Born in 1976 Spain's Xabier Fernández began sailing in the Vaurien class winning two national titles. He graduated up to the 49er, a class in which he was able to develop the athleticism and skills necessary to race the high speed Olympic skiff. Since 1998, he has crewed for Iker Martinez, with whom he haswon two Olympic medals (gold in 2004 and silver in 2008) and three world titles (2002, 2004 and 2010). A big boat sailor as well, he has participated in three Volvo Ocean Races (2005-2009-2012) and the doublehanded Barcelona World Race, finishing second. Fernández holds a degree in Engineering is one of the most capped among Spanish sailors.

Born in San Sebastián in 1977, Iker Martinez de Lizarduy with Xabier Fernández won two Olympic medals (gold in 2004 and silver in 2008) and three world titles (2002, 2004 and 2010) in the 49er class. A versatile 'complete' helmsman he is equally at home in Olympic classes as racing yachts on the high seas: finishing third in Volvo Ocean Race in 2009, second in the Barcelona World Race in 2010 and fourth in the Volvo Ocean Race in 2012.

Born in Livorno in 1971, Marco Montis is an instructor of martial arts and weight lifting, who was introduced to sailing by chance, in 1994, when he became a grinder on board the 12 metre Tomahawk which sailed for three seasons on the classic boat circuit. He continued his career on offshore boats and Maxis, ending up in the America's Cup, as grinder for Luna Rossa in its challenge for 2007. He has gone on to race with Luna Rossa aboard its STP 65 and in Louis Vuitton Trophy and Audi MedCup.

Australian Wade Morgan was born in 1981 andbegan his career as a professional sailor in 1999, making his America's Cup debut as a member of the Young Australia in 2000. He later worked with the Alfa Romeo team in the role of project manager of the supermaxi Alfa Romeo 3. She has participated in major offshore races getting, among others, three wins - two of them with 'Line Honours' in the Rolex Sydney Hobart. In 2007 he participated in the America's Cup with Le Defi Areva and several times among the crew of "Luna Rossa in the Louis Vuitton Trophy. Most recently he participated in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 on Abu Dhabi OceanRacing.

The team Luna Rossa has also been integrated with the inclusion of new members in other areas of the team: Antoine Bonnaveau (Performance), Frederic Gastinel (Hydraulics), Francesco Mauri (Boat Builder), Stefano Morosin (Electronics), Angelo Napolitano (Machine Shop), Ian Pattison (Sail Loft Manager), Keith Sexton (Boat Builder), Andrew Wotherspoon (Sailmaker).

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