Team New Zealand sign Italian America's Cup winner Max Sirena
Team New Zealand have signed Luna Rossa kingpin Max Sirena to bolster their America's Cup campaign.
Sirena will join the Kiwi syndicates' management, working closely with the various department heads and the executive team.
The move further strengthens the strong connection with the Italian syndicate who are sidelined in protest to Oracle Team USA's late and radical changes to the rules leading into Bermuda 2017.
Sirena was skipper of Luna Rossa's last cup challenge but his experience in the game extends to 20 years, including lifting the Auld Mug with Oracle when he was their wing manager at the 33rd America's Cup in 2010.
Sirena's arrival in Auckland follows several Italian designers also having joined Team New Zealand and the Italians lend the Kiwis a boat and hardware that will assist in their testing programme that will ramp up over the summer.
Team New Zealand see Serena as a valuable asset on and off the water given his extensive knowledge.
Sirena was a vocal opponent to some of the changes instituted during the last America's Cup in San Francisco, clashing with cup boss Russell Coutts and at one stage threatening not to sail during the challengers series.
In announcing Sirena's shift for the current campaign, Luna Rossa said: "This stresses the sporting and friendly ties of mutual respect that have characterised the relationship between the two teams during over 15 years, marked by loyal and constructive competition."
Luna Rossa, who had a design and information sharing agreement with team New Zealand at the last cup, are eager to stay on the pace in terms of development as they wait to join the next cup cycle and see having Sirena and designers involved in Auckland as a key to that.
Team New Zealand are set to contest the final America's Cup world series regatta for the year in Bermuda. They lead the series.