Luna Rossa confirms 2017 America's Cup bid

Last updated 15:46 05/03/2014
Patrizio Bertelli
PRADA BOSS: Patrizio Bertelli has reportedly pledged over $80m to Luna Rossa's America's Cup bid in 2017.

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Italian syndicate Luna Rossa has confirmed a major sponsorship deal to contest the next America's Cup while Team Australia are set to make their debut tomorrow.

There was no shortage of behind-the-scenes activity today as cup hopefuls awaited the protocol for the next event, to be held in 2017.

Italian fashion house Prada would again back Luna Rossa with Prada chief executive Patrizio Bertelli reportedly agreeing to contribute €50 million (NZ$82m) to its next challenge.

Bertelli was having his fifth tilt at sport's oldest trophy.

Luna Rossa have already established a home base on the Mediterranean to start training.

For the last cup in San Francisco, they entered a technology-sharing agreement with Team New Zealand and did most of their training in Auckland in an AC72 catamaran designed by the Kiwi syndicate.

Meanwhile, in England, Sir Ben Ainslie, the most successful Olympics sailor who was Oracle's tactician in last year's successful defence against Team New Zealand, remained confident he would be able to mount a British challenge.

Ainslie expected he'd need to get about 40 per cent of his budget through private investors and suggested he already had about 70 per cent of that pledged to the campaign.

Team New Zealand, on the back of $5m bridging finance from the Government, were working on securing sponsorship to remain involved and appeared optimistic that could be achieved.

Meanwhile, Australia's bid to regain the cup began in earnest tomorrow with a skeleton crew from Team Australia set to launch an AC45 in Sydney.

They would be training against Oracle later in the month as the cup-holders travelled Down Under.

It was clearly a goodwill gesture aimed at ramping up interest in the cup with Team Australia backed by the Hamilton Island Yacht Club, who were in a close arrangement with Oracle as the Challenger of Record.

Team Australia's sailors were on a 40-foot catamaran for the opening event of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series in Singapore last month, finishing 10th in the 11-boat fleet.

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