Prada

SAILING AWAY: Luna Rossa is shining in New Zealand — despite the strong winds.

Prada’s boat has won both races against NYYC American Magic during the start of the Prada Cup semifinals in Auckland.

The Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli boat is aiming to gain access to the finals against the British Ineos Team UK.

Both races were held in gusty winds ranging from 17 to 20 knots, won by Luna Rossa on Jan. 28 “with a comfortable lead, optimizing on the pre-start phases that were further consolidated throughout the eight-leg trial, accumulating steady gains at each gate,” according to the Prada Cup daily report. The day closed “with both four-lap races won, the first with a lead of 2:43 minutes and the second of 3:07 minutes.”

The sailing races to determine the winner of the Prada Cup between Luna Rossa, American Magic and Ineos U.K. kicked off in Auckland on Jan. 15.

The winner of this round robin will advance to the finals scheduled from Feb. 13 to 22. The winner of the Prada Cup will be the official challenger against the defender, the Emirates Team New Zealand, in the America’s Cup, from March 6 to 15.

“It’s been a good day for us. We sailed well, to expectation, so we’re really glad,” said Max Sirena, skipper and team director. “Both starts were really good, and we hope to keep it that way during the next races. The wind conditions ranged from 18 to 26 knots and the boys did great job with the boat handling. We reached speeds that we hadn’t seen yet, which means that on board everyone was fully concentrated. We’re only half-way through and have only won two regattas. Tomorrow is an important day, and we need to stay focused.”

Luna Rossa needs to win two additional regattas to access the final races.

The America’s Cup, the oldest trophy in the history of sports and the most prestigious in the sailing world, marks the sixth challenge for Prada’s chief executive officer Patrizio Bertelli, a passionate sailor, and his Luna Rossa sailing boat.

The Luna Rossa team was established in 1997 by Bertelli, and 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.