An America's Cup the likes of which have never been seen before. Especially given that an Italian boat had never managed to win three regattas in the final act of the most prestigious sailing competition in the world, after having won – a notable feat – the qualification stages among the challengers, otherwise known as the Prada Cup. In the end, Emirates Team New Zealand beat Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli 7-3.
But we should look at the result in perspective, given that the first time Luna Rossa made it to the final in the year 2000, the team was soundly beaten 4-0, again by the New Zealanders, who are masters of the sport with a record of eight finals and four victories. Two as challengers and two as the defenders.
Even taking the lead
Everyone knew how hard it would be to wrest the trophy from the New Zealanders. The predictions on the eve of the regatta – fuelled by rumours of the incredible performance of the Te Rehutai boat and the inevitable provocations that are part of the history of the regatta – were for a clear defeat. Instead, Max Sirena's team put in a superb performance, managing to compete with (and on a few occasions overcome) the holders.
Never in the history of the America's Cup has a boat flying the Italian flag at the stern found itself 3-2 ahead. Then the Kiwis earned five victories in succession to take home the trophy: a faster boat, greater knowledge of the regatta courses and a few errors from the Italian crew were decisive.
But in general, the sailors, captained by Francesco Bruni and James Spithill, showed great skill and incredible determination, several times causing trouble for the crew led by Peter Burling, who paid tribute to the Italians. “My compliments to Luna Rossa for the brilliant series of regattas. On behalf of my team, I would like to say to my opponents: 'well done, and thank you for everything'"
Thank you to the fans
Already in the final of the Prada Cup with Ineos Team UK, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli won the support of the Italians, despite the inconvenient timing of the regattas. “Thank you to everyone, to all the Italians that have followed and supported us: your enthusiasm made it all the way here!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you," wrote Max Sirena on his Instagram account straight after the defeat. It was an enthusiasm that was also noted by the only foreigner in the crew, the Australian James Spithill. “It is an incredible team, the whole campaign has been fantastic. The lads have been tireless, with an impeccable attitude. It was one of the best cups ever, and it was fantastic to be a part of the Italian team. New Zealand had to work really hard in these finals. It was a huge team effort, it was amazing. Thank you to Italy and to our fans."
Ready for the rematch
"It was a great experience, full credit to New Zealand," explained Francesco Bruni, helmsman for Luna Rossa, "they did a great job. And full credit to our team too: we showed the whole world that we can do it too. We were unlucky in the last few days, but we did a great job. We've come close, and Luna Rossa's time at the America's Cup is far from over, we will use our experience and try again." The memory of this great adventure will endure, and the fact that they have entered into the history books should serve as the motivation to get even better. And perhaps finally win the America's Cup, because in sport, no one stays unbeatable forever.