In the end there will only be one winner, in pursuit of the ultimate prize. The America’s Cup is the regatta of all regattas, which has been at the centre of the yachting world since 1851. It's an incredible showcase for yachts and sailors that’s about to take place from March 6-15 in Auckland, after the last race in 2017 was dominated by Team New Zealand.
Taking on the New Zealanders will mean winning the Prada Cup and being on top of the game. This vital preparation is the subject of the ‘Challengers for Now’ web series, dedicated to the challenges that the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team faces heading into the 36th America’s Cup.
This is an original web series that takes viewers behind the scenes of the team’s base in Cagliari, covering the training sessions on land and sea, the designers’ meetings, and the activities of the shore team. Here’s what you can expect to see in the last four episodes.
With 60 days to go before leaving for New Zealand, the team has been held back by the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, which stopped the World Series and cost a month of training. This point is emphasised by the team director and skipper Max Sirena, who opens the fifth episode, which talks about the characteristics of the boats used for the Americas Cup. These include the foils as well as the wings that allow the boats to literally walk on water.
“To be a good skipper you need to be surrounded by a good crew,” says James Spitill at the start of the sixth episode. It's all about the importance of team work and collective effort to co-operate perfectly in competition and improve the performance of the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli squad. “The team that’s developed the fastest boat will win,” says the skipper from Sydney. “It’s as simple as that.”
The seventh episode of ‘Challengers for Now’ starts off calmly. But calm doesn’t mean a rest for the team: in fact, it’s the exact opposite. Some people, like grinder Romano Battisti (who won a silver medal as part of the Italian Olympic rowing team) use the time to catch up on some physical training. While back at base, naval architect Andres Suar Vulcano and operations manager Gilberto Nobili explain how every element of the design and management of the boat is aimed at gaining every tenth of a knot.
“Time’s up, so everything has to be perfect when you go out for the last time.” That’s how the eighth and final episode of the web series begins, where Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli gets loaded up, ready for the long trip to Auckland. Gerardo Siciliano, in charge of rigging and the masts, is relishing the challenge. “In five months, we’ve got to get to the finals with the Kiwis and beat them,” he says. “If we compete as a team, we’ll be able to win.”