MILAN — Patrizio Bertelli is saying “yes” to another America’s Cup.
The Prada chief’s team Luna Rossa will take part in the next edition of the prestigious sailing race. “This is only a starting point,” said a Luna Rossa Challenge spokesman. “We will now start to build the team and define with the defender the rules, the boats and the number of regattas.” The location and the dates of the next America’s Cup, the 36th, are still to be confirmed.
This is a return to sea for Luna Rossa and its sixth challenge, but fifth race, as the team in 2015 withdrew from the competition in disagreement with the overturning of rules unanimously adopted throughout the previous year by the Oracle Team owned by Larry Ellison.
The Luna Rossa team was established in 1997 by Bertelli, an avid sailor, with the original name of “Prada Challenge for the America’s Cup 2000.” The team won the Louis Vuitton Cup — the challengers’ selection series — 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.
The sleek silver and red yacht over the years helped boost the brand’s visibility and retail sales, with Luna Rossa-branded accessories and apparel collections, featuring high-tech fabrics tested by the sailing team.
In 2015, Prada brought its Luna Rossa AC72 catamaran to Milan. The 72-foot sailboat, which was among the finalists of the America’s Cup in San Francisco in 2013, has been installed in the Aero-Naval hall of Milan’s Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia [the city’s Science and Technology Museum]. The catamaran had been transported from Cagliari, Sardinia and reassembled in the museum, where it is still on display.
Luna Rossa is now 100 percent privately owned by Bertelli.
As reported, Prada spent about $50 million on the first sailing effort and invested $38.3 million of the estimated $90 million needed for the second race series, with the remainder coming from the Prada family’s company Maestrale Holding Srl, which no longer exists.
In 2007, the investment over a decade totaled more than $80 million, which had been supported by sponsors such as Telecom, TIM and Alice. That year, Prada said it was not going to compete in the next edition of the famed yacht race, held in Valencia, Spain, in 2009.
In 2011, the year Prada publicly listed the company in Hong Kong, the cost of sponsoring the yacht for the 2013 Cup was estimated to total about 40 million euros.