Photography by Adam Mustill/America's Cup
18 October 2022
Around the world, teams are assembling with sailors jetting in from foreign climes, shore teams getting re-acquainted and communications going into overdrive.
The race for the 37th America’s Cup, in beautiful Barcelona, is well and truly underway and this week saw no less than four teams on the water with Alinghi Red Bull Racing continuing its training in Barcelona, Emirates Team New Zealand proceeding with commissioning the world’s first AC40 in Auckland, New York Yacht Club American Magic taking Patriot, their AC75, for its first sail since AC36 and the exciting launch of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli’s LEQ12 in Cagliari.
In one of the most anticipated moments of this America’s Cup cycle, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli broke cover with the launch of their LEQ12, their prototype vessel created specifically for the purpose of being a test-bed for the design of their AC75, on Thursday.
With typical Italian elan and flair, the boat was launched by Miuccia Prada, wife of syndicate head Patrizio Bertelli and streamed across the world, free-to-air on all the major social media channels. And it didn’t disappoint.
The impressive, youthful, and determined Swiss team have continued their training schedule in Barcelona aboard BoatZero, the world’s first AC75 that was originally Emirates Team New Zealand’s ‘Te Aihe’ – the first boat built for AC36.
However, to look at the boat now, it almost feels like a new-build such is the testament to the Alinghi Red Bull Racing shore team who have quickly gelled and are putting out the boat in an A1 condition on a daily basis.
The current holders of the America’s Cup representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, ETNZ have been busy commissioning the world’s first AC40, testing her out in a variety of conditions in the variable Spring conditions of Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf.
The process has been wildly successful with the AC40 performing straight out of the box and the speed with which the shore team and sailors got the boat performing so well is a credit to the whole program.
Based out of their home waters of Pensacola, the most western city on the Florida Panhandle, NYYC American Magic are back on familiar home waters with the team launching Patriot, their AC75 race-boat from the 36th America’s Cup in Auckland.
With decorated Olympian Tom Slingsby confirmed as helmsman (but not in town this week) and Paul Goodison, Gold medallist from Beijing 2008 back in the afterguard, the Americans are a team to watch in this cycle as the inherent speed of Patriot – one of only two boats to take a race win off the Cup winning Kiwi boat ‘Te Rehutai’ – means that they have an excellent, proven platform to build from.
The only team not to be active this week, INEOS Britannia are eyeing the latter part of October for the launch and first sail of their LEQ12 that has been in build in Britain under a great deal of secrecy.
Little is known about what the British team, led by Sir Ben Ainslie and backed by INEOS founder Sir Jim Ratcliffe, will unveil but anticipation is growing, particularly after the launch of the Luna Rossa LEQ12 this week.