Tag Archive | "Luna Rossa"

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Carlo Borlenghi’s photo gallery of the foiling Luna Rossa AC45

Posted on 06 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

Team Luna Rossa continues its training on board the AC45 Luna Rossa Piranha following the modifications of the appendages (daggerboards and rudders). The world’s best sailing photographer, Carlo Borlenghi, was there!

Luna Ross’a foiling AC45 sails in Cagliari. Photo copyright Carlo Borlenghi / Luna Rossa

Luna Ross’a foiling AC45 sails in Cagliari. Photo copyright Carlo Borlenghi / Luna Rossa

Luna Ross’a foiling AC45 sails in Cagliari. Photo copyright Carlo Borlenghi / Luna Rossa

Luna Ross’a foiling AC45 sails in Cagliari. Photo copyright Carlo Borlenghi / Luna Rossa

Luna Ross’a foiling AC45 sails in Cagliari. Photo copyright Carlo Borlenghi / Luna Rossa

Luna Ross’a foiling AC45 sails in Cagliari. Photo copyright Carlo Borlenghi / Luna Rossa

Luna Ross’a foiling AC45 sails in Cagliari. Photo copyright Carlo Borlenghi / Luna Rossa

Luna Ross’a foiling AC45 sails in Cagliari. Photo copyright Carlo Borlenghi / Luna Rossa

Luna Ross’a foiling AC45 sails in Cagliari. Photo copyright Carlo Borlenghi / Luna Rossa

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Even semifinals at Stena Match Cup Sweden

Posted on 04 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ALPARI World Match Racing Tour] Stena Match Cup Sweden was two flights into its Semi-Finals stage at the close of play on the penultimate day of racing and in both matches it remains tied on 1-1.

The top four going through to the Semi-Finals were decided earlier today with Italian Francesco Bruni’s Luna Rossa the sole team to win their Quarter Finals in straight sets, in their case against David Gilmour.

“Every start we were on the right and ahead, apart from the second one where we won the pin, because it was massively biased,” said Bruni. “The guys are on fire. They are driving the boat fast. It is running very smoothly on board. You don’t have to push in situations if you feel that you are fast. It is never easy – it is very shifty, so you are never perfect. It is about limiting the big mistakes.”

GAC Pindar skipper Ian Williams, leader at the conclusion of Qualifying yesterday, chose Joachim Aschenbrenner to race in the quarter finals. This was a bold call as the 20 year old Dane’s team was the only one to beat Williams during Qualifying. This remained questionable when Aschenbrenner, claimed the first Quarter Final match against the British four time ISAF World Champion. However the GAC Pindar crew fought back to win the next three.

The match between local hero Bjorn Hansen and Team Alpari FX skipper Keith Swinton, went 3-1 in the Swede’s favour while the one between Mathieu Richard’s Lunajets crew and Taylor Canfield USone went the full distance with Canfield eventually prevailing.

Luna Rossa’s Francesco Bruni battling it out at the Stena Match Cup semis. Marstrand, 4 July 2014. Photo copyright Ian Roman / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

In one pre-start Canfield managed to drive the bow of his boat into the stern quarter of Richards’ boat. “There was no damage done,” explained Canfield. “He already had a penalty in the pre-start so it was a pretty stupid high risk move for me to make. But not doing it we would have been off the line behind and in the conditions we had this morning it would have been tough to catch up. So I made the decision, went for it…and failed.”

For the Semi-Finals, Williams defied expectations and chose Francesco Bruni as his opponent. Given that GAC Pindar and Luna Rossa were the stand-out crews from Qualifying, finishing tied on points, four ahead of their opposition, this seemed like another punchy call from the British skipper.

Two flights into the Semi-Finals, held in a light southerly breeze, blowing across the fjord and extremely shifty as a result, Williams claimed the first race and felt that he should have won the second had it not been for an umpire call he deemed questionable.

Williams came ashore fuming: “He [Bruni] dialled us into the top, we dipped and came up and he went quite wide and tacked onto port. So we tacked on to starboard and had to avoid him and then we got a red flag penalty for that. Even with the penalty, we went from being in control on the right, to being not in control, because he rolled us. So how that ended up as a red flag penalty… I think they were watching a different set of circumstances to me.” However the umpires did see it a different way maintaining that Williams hadn’t completed his tack on to starboard.

In that race they had started behind thanks to a riding turn on their jib sheet, but had managed to catch up with the Italians. “We’d done a good job, so it was doubly frustrating to be penalised like that.” Aside from the umpire call, Williams felt they were sailing well.

Similarly the Taylor Canfield versus Bjorn Hansen Semi-Final bout ended on 1-1 at the close of play.

“We had a really good last race with him where we were leading, got past and were able to get back around him and give him a penalty,” said Canfield, the defending Alpari World Match Racing Tour champion. “I think together as a team we were going really well and we just need to refine those little mistakes we’ve been making throughout the week. But no big changes – we are pretty happy with the team and how we were going.”

Meanwhile Bjorn Hansen’s crew seemed to have breathed a big sigh of relief having made the Quarter Finals and then the Semis and were looking ever stronger and more confident on the water. Hansen’s responsibility has increased but being the sole Swede left in the competition. His supporters have laid out a giant banner on the rocks (now known as ‘Hansen Hill’) on the opposite shore to Marstrand saying ‘Go Bjorn’.

“We had a BBQ with the guys up there yesterday. They help a lot and it is great to have their support and all the other guys on this side. There is nowhere in the world like this for sailing,” said Hansen.

And he is right – there were some dramatic moments today causing gasps from the crowd of spectators and corporate guests, which would applaud whenever a match concluded or something worthy occurred, in a Wimbledon centre court-like way. As Hansen put it: “It is an honour to be Swedish in this race for sure.”

Racing concludes tomorrow with the final rounds of the Semi-Finals followed by the Finals.

Stage 2 Stena Match Cup Sweden, Alpari World Match Racing Tour

Semi-Finals Results
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar vs Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa 1-1
Björn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team vs Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone 1-1

Quarter-Finals
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar vs Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Team Trifork 3-1
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa v David Gilmour (ASU) Team Gilmour 3-0
Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets v Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone 2-3
Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX v Björn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team 1-3

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Luna Rossa on a roll at Stena Match Cup Sweden

Posted on 02 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ALPARI World Match Racing Tour] Currently leading the field, both on 10 points, are Ian Williams’ GAC Pindar and Francesco Bruni’s Luna Rossa teams. Already holding a three point margin over Team Alpari FX in third place, the British and Italian teams are definitely through. Equally the bottom four, including the ‘match racing legends’ American Ed Baird and local hero Magnus Holmberg, plus other Swedes Victor Ogeman and Johnie Berntsson, look set to be eliminated when Qualifying at this, the second event in the 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour, concludes tomorrow.

Racing on the fjord south of Marstrand island was held today in a light westerly breeze and yet more blistering sunshine, bringing spectators and corporate guests out in droves.

Star performer today was Bruni whose victims today included other Tour card holders Phil Robertson, Taylor Canfield and Mathieu Richard.

“It was harder today, in that a couple of times we were behind and we passed,” Bruni commented. This included defending Alpari World Match Racing Tour champion Taylor Canfield, who the Italian team passed after they managed to split from them on the second beat. As to why they are doing so well here, Bruni says he feels comfortable sailing the DS37. “I am really happy with how things are going. I always feel fast around the course. When we are ahead we extend and when we are behind we catch up. That makes you race much more relaxed and you just make less mistakes.”

At present three teams Bjorn Hansen, Mathieu Richard’s Lunajets and David Gilmour are all on five points, holding seventh to ninth positions.

Hansen, the defending champion at Stena Match Cup Sweden, remains the top placed of the four Swedish teams competing and now the only one still capable of making the Quarter Finals.

“We had four really exciting races today but unfortunately we lost three of them,” admitted Hansen. “But the four were more or less the top of the tree, so it was no shame to lose to them. We are now in a position where we must win the rest of our races, so that is tough.” Hansen faces Gilmour, Richard and Bruni tomorrow.

Phil Robertson on day of Stena Match Cup Sweden. Marstrand, 2 July 2014. Photo copyright Ian Roman / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

Australian David Gilmour, a new Tour Card holder for 2014, has a tough road ahead of him, for at present he is in ninth place, with heavyweight bouts against Bruni, Canfield and Hansen still to sail: “The starts are definitely not one of our strengths at the moment and we aren’t getting around the course that fast. And I am not 100% sure what is going wrong, so it is quite frustrating at the moment.”

This is Gilmour’s first time racing in Marstrand where he is living in the shadow of his father Peter, the ‘grand master’ of this event, who won it no less than seven times over its 20 year history. “I haven’t spoken to him about any of the boat handling side of things or the racing. I probably should,” Gilmour Jnr admitted.

An exciting prospect currently lying in fourth place and likely to make it through to the Quarter Finals is the youngest competitor at Stena Match Cup Sweden, Joachim Aschenbrenner. He today won three more races, losing one to Francesco Bruni. His most exciting was against Swede Johnie Berntsson, when penalties were awarded to both boats in a tense pre-start. During the race there were two lead changes with Aschenbrenner finally managing to rid himself of his penalty and get in front just before the finish.

Considering that the Danish skipper is just 20 years old, he is clearly a talent for the future and a Tour Card holder in waiting.

Having had a better day today, but whose prospect for Stena Match Cup Sweden now seems over was American three time Match Racing World Champion, Ed Baird. After having a poor opening two days, Baird and his all-star crew won their matches against Nicolai Sehested and Johnie Berntsson today.

“It was a nice change from yesterday when we lost all of our matches,” admitted Baird, who last regularly competed on the Tour in 2006, prior to the 32nd America’s Cup in which he helmed the winning boat, Alinghi. “A number of things that have been rough for us: The five of us had never sailed together before in a match race, although we sail bigger boats together. Unfortunately we had another event right before this so we arrived late, which limited our practice time. In the races there were just a lot of little things, we are just off the edge, but it is tons of fun coming here to do it.”

The final four flights are due to get underway at 09.30 tomorrow. The weather is set to add a fresh complex to the event with stronger winds forecast.

Stage 2 Stena Match Cup Sweden, Alpari World Match Racing Tour – Results after Flight 20

Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 10-1
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa 10-1
Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX 7-3
Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Team Trifork 6.5-3
Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing 6-4
Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone 6-5
Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets 5-5
David Gilmour (ASU) Team Gilmour 5-5
Björn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team 5-5
Nicolai Sehested (DEN) Trefor Match Racing 4-7
Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Team Magnus Holmberg 3-8
Ed Baird (USA) Quantum Racing 3-9
Viktor Ogeman (SWE) Team Accure 2-9
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Stena Sailing Team 1.5-9

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Photo gallery: First sail of Luna Rossa’s fully-foiling AC45 Pirahna

Posted on 01 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

Luna Rossa Piranha – one of the two AC45s with which the team will train and develop its design in view of the 35th America’s Cup – sailed today for the first time in Cagliari.

The “new” Luna Rossa Piranha has undergone some major changes foreseen by the Protocol of the 35th America’s Cup that now allows the modification of any component of the AC45 catamarans – used in past editions of the America’s Cup World Series – except for the shape of the hulls.

First sail of Luna Rossa’s AC45 Piranha following substantial modifications. Cagliari, 1 Jul 2014. Photo copyright Luna Rossa

First sail of Luna Rossa’s AC45 Piranha following substantial modifications. Cagliari, 1 Jul 2014. Photo copyright Luna Rossa

First sail of Luna Rossa’s AC45 Piranha following substantial modifications. Cagliari, 1 Jul 2014. Photo copyright Luna Rossa

First sail of Luna Rossa’s AC45 Piranha following substantial modifications. Cagliari, 1 Jul 2014. Photo copyright Luna Rossa

First sail of Luna Rossa’s AC45 Piranha following substantial modifications. Cagliari, 1 Jul 2014. Photo copyright Luna Rossa

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Luna Rossa’s AC45 Piranha to sail again after major modifications

Posted on 01 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

Luna Rossa Piranha – one of the two AC45s with which the team will train and develop its design in view of the 35th America’s Cup – starts sailing today in Cagliari.

The “new” Luna Rossa Piranha has undergone some major changes foreseen by the Protocol of the 35th America’s Cup that now allows the modification of any component of the AC45 catamarans – used in past editions of the America’s Cup World Series – except for the shape of the hulls.

In this first phase the research and the modifications focused essentially on the optimization of the appendages – daggerboards and rudders – and on-board systems that allow the AC45 catamarans to fully foil and sail with greatly increased performances.

Luna Rossa Piranha and Luna Rossa Swordfish have thus become real laboratories to test components, develop systems, collect and analyze data, as well as to train the crew in manoeuvers, boat handling and foiling tactics and techniques.

The aim is also to create and develop a close collaboration between the designers and the sailing team through a constant exchange of information, in order to address the design and optimize its applications.

During this phase onboard communications will also be improved; the rotation of roles within the crew will also be important to identify the most suitable sailors for each role, thus allowing all possible configurations on board.

Max Sirena, skipper of Luna Rossa, said: “We have invested a lot of energy in the development of the AC45 boats and I wanted to personally follow the conclusion of this first phase as it is a very important step in our preparation. I am very happy with the results and I want to thank the whole team for having worked with great professionalism and dedication within the deadlines we had set. The aim of Luna Rossa is to win the America’s Cup and, to achieve this result, we need to give our best from the first to the last day of our campaign.”

Luna Rossa Piranha will start sailing from the early afternoon of today.

The heavily-modified Luna Rossa Piranha is ready for her first sail. Cagliari, 1July 2014. Photo copyright Luna Rossa

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Luna Rossa crew list for the 35th America’s Cup

Posted on 12 June 2014 by Valencia Sailing

Full crew list of Patrizio Bertelli’s fifth attempt at winning the America’s Cup:

Massimiliano Sirena
Team Director & Skipper

Born in 1973 in Rimini, Italy, Massimiliano “Max” Sirena won the 33rd America’s Cup with BMW Oracle Team as wing mast manager; he skippered the Luna Rossa Extreme 40, winner of the Extreme Sailing Series in 2011. He also raced with team Luna Rossa in the America’s Cup campaigns in 2000 when the team won the Louis Vuitton Cup, in 2003 and 2007 as mid-bowman. Max was skipper of team Luna Rossa for the 34th challenge to the America’s Cup.

Francesco Bruni
Helmsman/Tactician

Francesco “Checco” Bruni from Palermo, Italy, is one of the most complete, eclectic and winning active Italian sailors: in 30 years of sport, he has won seven world, five European and 15 Italian championships in different classes, from Laser to offshore, from Star to 49er and reached first place in the ISAF Match Race world ranking in 2011. He has already raced with team Luna Rossa in three America’s Cup campaigns (2003, 2007 and 2013).

Pierluigi de Felice
Trimmer

Italian from Naples, “PG” started sailing at age seven on Optimists and then moved on to 420s and 470s. Throughout his sailing career, he has won eight National Championships and earned four Silver and three bronze medals in several World Championships in different Classes. In 2011, he ranked 2nd in the World Match Racing Championship being member of Francesco Bruni’s crew. He participated in the 2003 and 2007 America’s Cup campaigns with Mascalzone Latino. This is his second America’s Cup with team Luna Rossa.

Chris Draper
Helmsman/Tactician

Born in Sheffield (England) in 1978, he won a bronze medal at the Athens Olympic Games (2004) in the 49er class, was World Champion twice (2003 and 2006) and European Champion three times (2004, 2005 and 2010) in the same class. He won the Extreme Sailing Series in 2009 and was the helmsman for Luna Rossa in the 34th America’s Cup. This is his second America’s Cup with Luna Rossa.

Benjamin Durham
Sailing Team Coordinator

Born in Perth (Australia) in 1977, Ben completed a Bachelor of Business Degree at the Edith Cowan University. He has participated in four America’s Cup campaigns with Young Australia (2000), Oneworld Challenge (2003) and Luna Rossa (2007-20013). He started his career winning the Australian Youth Championships in 1995. Since then, he has continued to achieve important results: in 2004, he was first in the ISAF World Match Race ranking, finishing in second place both the World Match Race Championship and the World Match Racing Tour. He also won the 12mSI World Championship (2009), the Extreme Sailing with Luna Rossa, the Fastnet, the World Championship and the TP52 Audi Med Cup in 2011.

Shannon Falcone
Grinder/Foredeck

Born in Livorno (Italy) in 1981, Shannon moved to Antigua with his family at the age of three. When he turned 19 he took to the sea with six oceanic deliveries and one circumnavigation of the world. He then started racing and finished second in the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race with PUMA. His America’s Cup experience started in 2000 when he joined Mascalzone Latino. In 2007, he sailed with Luna Rossa and won the last 2010 and 2013 America’s Cup campaigns with team Oracle. He is now in his 5th America’s Cup campaign.

Bora Gulari
Performance/Afterguard

Born in Istanbul in 1975, he moved to the United States with his parents, sailing enthusiasts, when he was 11 months. Bora took his first steps into the sailing world at the age of five, when his father gave him his first windsurf but his career as a sailor took off after graduation in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan. After obtaining excellent results on the 49er, in 2007 he discovered the Moth and, in a short time, he became one of the best specialists within the class. Bora is indeed the only American to have won two Moth World Championships (2009-2013). This is his first America’s Cup campaign with Luna Rossa.

Emanuele Marino
Grinder/Foredeck

Born in Tuscany, Italy, in 1972 “Lele” is a grinder. He has been with Luna Rossa since the 2007 America’s Cup campaign and has sailed with the team also in later years, racing with TP52, STP65 and in the Louis Vuitton Trophy at La Maddalena. This is his third America’s Cup with Luna Rossa.

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Marco Mercuriali
Coach/Rules Advisor

Born in Cesena, Italy, Marco was part of the Italian national Finn team from 1978 to 1982. Since 1984, he has been a coach of the Italian Sailing Federation and, from 1990 until 2000, he was a member of the Olympic Team’s staff. He was involved in the Olympic Games in Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 Sydney 2000, Pechino 2008 and in some leading circuits, including the RC44, World Match Race Tour, Volvo Ocean Race, TP52, MOD70, Pre-Olympic weeks, Louis Vuitton Series. He was in the crew and athletic trainer with Azzurra in 1983 and the coach of the Luna Rossa team (2000-2003-2007-2013). This is his sixth America’s Cup.

Adam Minoprio
Helmsman/Tactician/Wing Trimmer

Born in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1985, Adam started sailing at the age of seven, winning his first national championship at the age of eleven on the Optimist. Since then, he has competed internationally at top levels and in 2009 was the youngest sailor to win the World Match Racing Tour. Adam finished 2nd in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 on board team Camper in the role of helmsman and trimmer. This is his first America’s Cup campaign.

Manuel Modena
Trimmer/Foredeck/Grinder

Born on Lake Garda (Italy) in 1975, Manuel is a multi-skilled sailor who accumulated experience in the Italian Olympic team, class 49er (2001 – 2004, Italian Champion in 2003). World Champion in the Melges 24 class in 2005, in the same year he won the Italian Match Race Championship. After the 2007 America’s Cup, he raced, again with Luna Rossa, in the STP65 and TP52 seasons and, in 2011, he won the Extreme Sailing Series. This is his third America’s Cup with Luna Rossa.

Gilberto Nobili
Grinder/Performance/Physical Trainer

Born in Castelnovo ne’ Monti (Italy), Gilberto, aka Gillo, joined team Luna Rossa in 2003 and 2007; He then went on to win the last two editions of the America’s Cup (2010 and 2013) with team Oracle as crew member and performance analyst. Gillo took part in several international events onboard TP52s, Maxi yachts and Extreme40s and sailed for four years (2004-2008) in the Star class with Francesco Bruni. The 35th America’s Cup will be his fifth America’s Cup campaign.

Alister Richardson
Wing Trimmer

Born in England in 1979, Alister won the Extreme Sailing Series in 2010 and 2011. He has accumulated extensive multi-hull experience in the Extreme 40 and 49er classes, where he helmed in six World Championships, five European Championships and in the pre-Olympic regattas in Athens and Sydney. This is his second America’s Cup with Luna Rossa.

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Pietro Sibello
Speed Coach/Wing Trimmer

Born in Albenga in 1979, Pietro entered the world of sailing at the age of eight, immediately racing at high levels in Optimist and 470 classes. In 1998, together with his brother, Pietro moved to 49ers and, in the four years that followed, became one of the best helmsmen in the world, winning a European Championship and gaining three bronze medals at the World Championships. Following the 2004 Olympics in Athens and the 2008 in Beijing, he qualified Italy for the 2012 Olympics in London. Over the past two years, he has achieved excellent results in the D-One, Melges and Moth Classes. This is his first America’s Cup.

Simeon Tienpont
Boat Captain/Grinder/Foredeck

Born in Dirksland (Netherlands), Simeon comes from a shipbuilding family and studied Naval Architecture at the Technical University of Haarlem (NL). He participated in the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-06 with ABN AMRO TWO and was part of the record-setting 24-hour monohull run (563 miles) achieved by the team. Having won two America’s Cups with Team Oracle (2010 -2013), he joins team Luna Rossa for the first time.

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Luna Rossa wins the first event of the GC32 European Tour

Posted on 01 June 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Luna Rossa] Team Luna Rossa wins the GC32 Austria Cup, the first event of the GC32 European Tour and dedicates its victory to Valentin Mankin, one of the greatest representatives of the international sailing.

Very light and shifty winds characterized the GC32 Austria Cup; despite the weather, the teams flew on the water with only 8 knots of wind thanks to the latest changes made to the Class that introduced the L-foil in place of the previous daggerboards.

The eight competing teams alternated onboard of the four GC32 boats provided by the organizers of the event. Team Luna Rossa won the qualifying races of the first four days, after which the crews were divided into Gold and Silver fleets and the score was reset. Luna Rossa won the three races of the Gold fleet, thus winning the first event of the GC32 European Tour.

Luna Rossa finished in first place 10 of the 13 races sailed, beating, among the others, its direct opponent: AEZ Sailing Team with the Australian Tom Slingsby, strategist of Oracle Team USA during the 34th America’s Cup.

Luna Rossa wins the first ever GC32 event. Gmunden, 1 June 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch

Chris Draper, helmsman of Luna Rossa, commented: “We are very happy with the result, the average speed at which we sailed and the boat handling. The GC32s are very challenging full foiling catamarans, especially from a physical point of view. The speed is remarkable: with only 10 knots of breeze, we exceeded 30 knots of speed. This event was a great workout in view of the 35th America’s Cup; we have measure ourselves against competitive teams on short race courses, on catamarans that are similar, in some respects, to the America’s Cup Class boats. This victory is a confirmation of the good work that the team is doing in Cagliari.”

Francesco Bruni, tactician on Luna Rossa, added: “We want to dedicate this victory to Valentin Mankin, who in recent years has fought bravely against his desease. Valentin was one of the greatest representatives that the sport of sailing has ever known: three golds and one silver medal at the Olympics in different classes, as well as coach of the Italian Sailing Federation since 1991. A keen sailor and an exceptional man who was my coach for several years, from whom I learned a lot. An eternal embrace to a great man to whom I owe so much.”

In Austria team Luna Rossa consisted of: Chris Draper (helmsman), Francesco Bruni (tactician/mainsail trimmer), Adam Minoprio (tailer), Emanuele Marino (bowman) and Pietro Sibello (coach).

Luna Rossa will be back racing from June 5th to June 9th in Langenargen, Germany, for the Match Race Germany, the first stage of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour 2014.

Luna Rossa wins the first ever GC32 event. Gmunden, 1 June 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch

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Traunsee trials and tribulations on day three of GC32 Austria Cup

Posted on 30 May 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: GC32] The forecast was never looking too flash for day 3 of the GC32 Austria Cup, and the thick fog and drizzle settling in over Lake Traunsee didn’t bode well for racing on Friday. Fortunately Race Officer Stefan Boxkandel somehow was able to get four races in despite wind speeds that barely exceeded 5 knots all day.

Large tacking and gybing angles, poor visibility, and lulls with no wind at all challenged crews, race committee, and spectators, and highlighted the dedication by each of the crew to work their boat to the finish line. Some were caught some off guard, some played new tactical angles, and extreme sides of the course paid at different times. Welcome to light air racing on Austria’s deepest lake!

Today’s clean sweep went to America’s Cup team Luna Rossa Challenge, with skipper Chris Draper taking his own advice from yesterday, finishing the day with 3 race wins out of 3 races. Francesco “Checcho” Bruni showed why he is Italy’s most famous sailor, his eagle eyes managing to spot and judge the zephyrs well in advance. Bruni’s tactical calls helped Draper position himself in exactly the right position in his first showdowns all week against America’s Cup winner Tom Slingsby aboard Team AEZ; Luna Rossa won both matches against the Australian superstar and his part-Austrian crew. “We were definitely a little bit lucky with the breeze but I think we proved that these boats are extremely close in performance,” said Bruni. “It was also a luxury in the light air to be able to make some decisions for the team rather than just pulling rope all the time like in the heavy air!”

Day three of GC32 Austria Cup. Gmunden, 30 May 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch

Denmark’s Jes Gram-Hansen’s Team Sail Racing also had a solid day, grabbing their first win of the regatta in the day’s first race in extremely light and patchy conditions. They were first to unfurl their gennaker at the start, giving them a jump over C3R, AEZ and RSM DTM Hungary. After a few close battles and with the left hand side of the beat paying dividends Hansen pulled a bigger lead on the pack for their first victory.

Having been handed a penalty in race one for dropping their gennaker, Slingsby’s AEZ Sailing were on the back foot, and gave away their early advantage to Team Sail Racing and C3R. The ultra-light conditions and long postponements seemed to work against the Australian prodigy and his crew; wherever they went, it seemed the wind went the opposite. Punchy starts, combined with their skill and ability to drive the boat low and fast downwind certainly helped, but it wasn’t quite enough to top the podium in any of their 3 races today.

Not quite finding their fast gear was Paul Campbell-James C3R. After a convincing day yesterday, today wasn’t destined to be theirs. “We weren’t lucky today but we certainly didn’t do ourselves any favors either, with weak starts and not the best positioning down the course,” said James. On a positive note, C3R bowman Nick Hutton was the first to drop the jib on a downwind leg, showing the way to the rest of the fleet who soon followed. “There’s no doubt it’s fast to open up the slot in under 5 knots,” said Campbell-James, who says it’s very exciting to learn a new boat with new features. “Sailing boats like this makes us all better sailors, and it’s a good time as well.”

Fresh from their two victories on day 2, Swiss Star Olympian Flavio Marazzi’s Armin Strom Racing had everything to fight for today, and they didn’t disappoint. While they didn’t top the podium, they continues to march up the learning curve today, beating Slingsby once and passing boats during both races – a huge confidence boost for him and his crew. Aussie tactician and main trimmer Keith Swinton said the team is in good spirits despite a long and hard day on the water. “Light or heavy, win or lose, the fact is that this is just awesome racing and we’re having a great time.”

Day three of GC32 Austria Cup. Gmunden, 30 May 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch

Both Seb Col Racing and RSM DTM Hungary picked up a third and a fourth in their respective races before the first postponement of the day and they were perhaps fortunate enough not to face the super light conditions towards the end of the day. The fleets are tough and whilst friends on shore, there are no friends on the water, with each crew is looking to get the edge on their competition, and some getting there quicker than others.

It was another tough day for Spax Solutions, with GC32 creator and Class founder Laurent Lenne close to glory at moments – but not quite closing the deal. “A few inches and a last place would have been a huge pass and second place!” said Lenne. While deep in the fleet on points, Lenne is surely revelling in the knowledge that his vision has become one of the most exciting sailing boats on the planet. “I just hope the rest of the guys and girls are having as much fun as I am, because this boat is something special,” said Lenne.

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