Luna Rossa America’s cup challenge in Cagliari

Luna Rossa America’s Cup: the story behind the world’s oldest trophy

Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia, is a multifaceted city with many historical legends and traditions that define its origin, such as the festival of Saint’Efisio and la Sella de Diavolo – the Devils Saddle.

The Sardinian capital is also famous for sports, and it will soon host the Luna Rossa Challenge and America’s Cup World Series from the 23rd to the 26th of April 2020.

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team challenges the best Italian marine engineers to battle for the oldest trophy in the world: America’s Cup.

The splendid sea of Sardegna will be the main theatre of this famous sailing competition, America’s Cup World Series from the 23rd to the 26th of April 2020 in Cagliari.

America’s Cup is a competition made of a series of races between two yachts belonging to different yacht clubs. The challenge originated on the 22nd August 1851 when the British Royal Yacht Squadron challenged the New York Yacht Club who participated with an American schooner. A schooner is a kind of sailing boat called goletta in Italian, although they aren’t exactly the same.

The race around the Isle of Wight was won by the American schooner with 8 minutes ahead of the British Aurora, and won the trophy in occasion of the Grand universal exhibition in London organized by Hyde Park from the 1st of May to the 15th of October 1851.

Two interesting anecdotes have marked the America’s Cup history, the first one concerns the trophy itself, made by Londoner Robert Garland in 1848. It was a silver cup, 69 cm high and weighed more or less 3 kg, nicknamed “Queen’s Cup” or “Cup of a hundred Guineas” because of the elevated costs of manufacture.

After their victory, the Americans renamed it with the current name, to honor the boat with which they had conquered the trophy. Today sportsmen all over the world call it The Auld Mug – the old mug.

The trophy and a Deed of Gift, an act of donation, were given to the New York Yacht Club. From that moment on the cup became a “perpetual challenge for friendly competitions between nations”.

The second anecdote is about queen Victoria who participated in the race with her royal yacht. When the queen came to know about the American’s victory, she asked the ships lookout: “and the second?”, receiving the disconsolate answer “Ah, your Majesty, there is no second” which became America’s Cup motto. It is important to emphasize that the affirmation of the lookout must not be interpreted according to any regulatory principle of today. On the modern podium, the second runner up receives an honorable silver medal, but back in the day, it was a fierce race to win.

Among the most famous competitors to be remembered is Sir Thomas Lipton, Scottish merchant and businessman, passionate about yachting, who is remembered in history as the Tea Baron. Sir Lipton organized five races, in between 1899 and 1930, with his yacht Shamrock. He lost them all but was the first man to introduce to the race the concept of sponsoring and was recognized for being a good sport even when defeated.

Over 170 years, only four countries have managed to conquer The Auld Mug: United States, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland.

Luna Rossa America’s Cup: the Italian boat battling for America’s Cup.

The new monohull full-foiling AC75 Luna Rossa was inaugurated in Cagliari on the 2nd of October 2019 and will participate in America’s Cup World Series in Cagliari from the 23rd to the 26th of April 2020.

The boat was built by Persico Marine. To make the hull required 7.000 square meters of carbon fiber and 490 square meters of aluminum honeycomb, the two carbon mobile dinghies are designed to carry a maximum load of 27 tons. Another important feature of the AC75 is it’s “soft wing”, a system composed of two mainsails raised in parallel that control the shape of the sail.

Witnessing the launch of the 22.6 meters long black monohull with a red streak, were his Eminance, Monsignore Arrigo Miglio, Arcivescovo di Cagliari, and Miuccia Prada, godmother of the event and her husband Patrizio Bertelli, President of the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team, Agostino Randazzo, President of the Circolo dell Vela Sicilia, and Marco Tronchetti Proverà, Pirelli CEO, co-title sponsor of the Luna Rossa team and partner for technological development.

The idea of Luna Rossa America’s Cup came to Patrizio Bertelli and his wife Miuccia Prada, on a summer’s evening over dinner, while the full moon was shining with a slight tinge of red, as they were staying on the hills of Tirli near Punta Ala, a part of the Tuscan municipality of Castiglione della Pescaia in province of Grosseto. The clothes designer and Italian business owner further explained how the name Luna Rossa was chosen because it was perfect to contrast the New Zealanders defender Black Magic, member of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Club, an adversary made worthy in the 1990s.

Only after deciding this idea did they remember the famous Neapolitan song Luna Rossa from 1950, written by Vincenzo De Crescenzo and played by Antonio Vian, and later a modern version elaborated by Renzo Arbore. The tune became the theme song of the southern adventure of Luna Rossa ITA-45 in 2000.

Would you like to experience the excitement of Luna Rossa America’s cup and enjoy a relaxing vacation? Discover Forte Village in Sardegna.


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