Italy's Luna Rossa upping anchor in Auckland

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 09:03 20/03/2013
Luna Rossa
Reuters
SOLIDARITY: Italian America’s Cup syndicate Luna Rossa have joined Team New Zealand's protest against design changes.

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Italian America’s Cup syndicate Luna Rossa are upping anchor from Auckland with skipper Max Sirena expressing huge satisfaction with their summer of sailing here as they prepare to shift base to San Francisco.

Luna Rossa have been getting to grips with their massive AC72 catamaran built in New Zealand under an information-sharing agreement with Team New Zealand.

They have also been trialling and even racing against the Kiwis on the Waitemata Harbour during their six-month stay here.

The Italians had their last day on the water on Monday in their distinctive silver cat. The boat and equipment will be shipped to San Francisco early next week and they hope to be on the water there by May 10 to put in final preparations before the Louis Vuitton challenger series starts on July 4.

“It’s been a fantastic time here,” Sirena said of the decision to launch and train in Auckland.

“It’s been one of the best summers in New Zealand and even wind-wise it has been very good with a lot of days over 18 knots which is what we needed.

“It’s been great to race together with Team New Zealand. It’s the easiest and fastest way to learn and to see where you are performance-wise. The races have been very positive for us.”

Sirena said they had real respect for the power of the massive cats but it was also about pushing them to their limits.

Apart from one mishap when they were attaching their 40m wingsail – similar to TNZ’s problems yesterday – they had escaped incident-free.

While their boat is being shipped, the Italians will contest the final event of the America’s Cup world series on home waters in Naples on April 16-21.

Luna Rossa will have two entries in that regatta, sailed in the smaller 45-foot catamarans, skippered by Chris Draper and Francesco Bruni.

Team New Zealand will continue solo training in Auckland before shifting base to San Francisco in May.

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