Prada's Luna Rossa

The America’s Cup, the oldest trophy in the history of sports and the most prestigious in the sailing world, will take place in New Zealand March 6 to 15, marking the sixth challenge for Prada’s chief executive officer Patrizio Bertelli and his Luna Rossa sailing boat.

The first series of preliminary regattas, the America’s Cup World Series, were originally scheduled to take place in Cagliari, Sardinia last April but, impacted by the restrictions imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic, they were postponed and held in Auckland in December. This was the first event to showcase the new AC75 yachts together on the same racecourse. The hosting Emirates Team New Zealand won ahead of American Magic and Luna Rossa and the Christmas Race was canceled due to a lack of wind. This testing ground was highly awaited and was the first opportunity for all four teams to meet together on the water.

“These past three years have been really challenging,” said Max Sirena, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli’s skipper and team director. “We worked practically in the dark, with no benchmarks. This was a great opportunity, before the start of the official Prada Cup regattas in January.” The practice days “allowed us to finally get up close with the other teams, although we really look forward to the real racing,” added Sirena.

Races to determine the winner of the Prada Cup will take place in Auckland from Jan. 15 and 24 between Luna Rossa, American Magic and Ineos U.K. The winner of this round robin will advance to the finals scheduled from Feb. 13 to 22. The other two teams will compete from Jan. 22 to Feb. 2 and the winner will also have access to the finals. The winner of the Prada Cup will be the official challenger against the defender, the Emirates Team New Zealand, from March 6 to 15.

In October 2019, Bertelli and his wife Miuccia Prada christened the new Luna Rossa, after two years of work that went into the sleek boat.

The development of Luna Rossa’s AC75 model, built by Persico Marine, employed more than 90 people, of whom 37 were designers, for a total of 78,000 working hours. To create the hull, they used 7,000 square meters of carbon fiber and 400 square meters of aluminum in a honeycomb structure. The carbon foil arms, each weighing 500 kilos, are designed to support a maximum weight of 27 tons.

A soft wing is another innovation of the AC75, with two parallel mainsails.

Sirena at the time said the boat almost always sails in a foiling manner, with the hull almost never touching water.

Previously, the Challenger Selection Series was sponsored by Louis Vuitton.

This is a return to the sea for Luna Rossa and while its sixth challenge, it’s the fifth race since the team withdrew from the competition in 2015 in disagreement over the overturning of rules unanimously adopted throughout the previous year by the Oracle Team of the U.S., which was owned by Larry Ellison and which lost the America’s Cup to the New Zealand team.

The Luna Rossa team was established in 1997 by Bertelli, Prada’s ceo, with the original name of “Prada Challenge for the America’s Cup 2000.” The team won the Louis Vuitton Cup 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.

In November,  Prada and Pirelli, the team’s main sponsors, created a collection available at the America’s Cup official store.

Offering clothing and accessories for women and men, the Prada and Pirelli co-branded Luna Rossa lineup — the second ever produced in the history of the Luna Rossa team. In keeping with sailing tradition, the collection, worked in a restrained color palette of white, gray, blue and black, spans from more technical pieces — such as the waterproof and wind-resistant “AfterGuard” jacket, the “ForeDeck” vest and the “HydroTech” shorts — to leisurewear styles. They include polo shirts, caps and the “Poetto Beach Boxer” swim shorts, a tribute to the famed beach of Cagliari, in Italy’s Sardinia, which hosted the Luna Rossa sailing team’s headquarters.

The Prada Pirelli Luna Rossa collection is distinct from Prada’s Linea Rossa urban line.

Also, in the next step of the partnership inked last year between Prada and Adidas, the two companies launched the A+P Luna Rossa 21 shoe to be worn by the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team. A lifestyle version of the competition and performance style is available for purchase. The shoe was inspired by the design of the new AC75 Luna Rossa boat — and well-known Prada and Adidas sneakers from the past.