First spin

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli's LEQ12 took to water in the Gulf of Cagliari in choppy conditions that took their toll.

01 November 2022


After a few days of super-light conditions that have sat over Cagliari, Sardinia, their first foray on 29 October was a complete change and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli were quick to take advantage of the change in conditions with a stunning blast out in their super-refined LEQ12.

With a choppy swell running at 0.6 metres, and a steady 16 knots breeze, huge plumes of spray were sent hurtling skywards to half-mast height at times as the team, led by Jimmy Spithill and Ruggero Tita driving in alternate pods with Umberto Molineris and Andrea Tesei supporting, really put the hammer down and started to thoroughly test the capabilities of their brand new, stunning test platform.

Finding the absolute edge is what defines the very best in any sport and in the America’s Cup we are blessed with some of the finest sailing talent ever to step foot onboard these powerful foiling yachts.


As already demonstrated, twice, with the commissioning process of the AC40 down in Auckland, these smaller foilers do capsize at times, particularly at low speed with no flow over the foils and even the very best end up being towed back to upright.

In reality, it’s just ‘another day in the office’ for America’s Cup sailors. Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli had a small capsize at low speed, the only blot on an otherwise great commissioning day with the boat being towed up on foils by the accompanying RIB for short runs at speeds that hit approximately 28 knots – impressive performance in the conditions.

Jimmy Spithill, one of the coolest heads in the history of the America’s Cup summed it up beautifully saying: “We had a great day and got some good sailing in and go to go in some pretty big waves.”

In relation to the capsize, Spithill added: “It was one of those capsizes where you get caught slow, it was very similar to what we saw the Kiwis do in the AC40. And yeah, it was just one of those where you get caught down-speed and nothing to do with sailing.”

And as ever, the team are raring to get back on the water, with Spithill saying: “Look, if it wasn’t for the sun going down, we would have kept sailing after the incident.”

And that’s very much the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli way. This team are more than determined to go one-better than last time and their LEQ12 testing program is well and truly underway.

On-Water Recon Unit Notes: Choppy swell and patchy conditions in the Gulf of Cagliari: sea breeze varied from 8 to 17 knots.

The LEQ12 performed strongly showing boat speeds up to 28 knots with some decent swell condition sailing between close and broad reach courses. A stationary unfortunate capsize while on unstrained tow line at low speed stopped the sailing session of the team.

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