The Italian Luna Rossa boats will compete in the Louis Vuitton Cup for the third consecutive time in 2007. The team was formally accepted as a Challenger for the 32nd America's Cup by the Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), the Defender of the America's Cup
Representatives of Team Luna Rossa were handed a letter from Pierre-Yves FIRMENICH, the Commodore of the SNG, accepting the Challenge on Thursday morning, in a small ceremony in Valencia, Spain, the Host City of the 32nd America's Cup. Team Luna Rossa will represent the Yacht Club Italiano.
Although the team didn't lodge its challenge until recently, Luna Rossa has been among the busiest of the America's Cup teams over the past eight months.
"We have been training and testing on the waters off the Spanish coast for over three months,"
explained Francesco de ANGELIS. "We were the first to set up a base in Valencia, and as planned, we now formally announce our participation as a Challenger in the 32nd America's Cup.
After shutting down most of its operations for August, the team will resume sailing in Valencia at the beginning of September to prepare for Acts 2 and 3 in October. The team will hold an official announcement ceremony to launch its challenge late in September at the Yacht Club Italiano, in Genoa. Luna Rossa will not compete in Act 1, the Marseille Louis Vuitton Act.
Team Luna Rossa skipper Francesco de ANGELIS first proved his America's Cup mettle in the 1999-2000 campaign when, trailing AmericaOne 4-3, de Angelis and his crew won the final two races of the thrilling nine-race series to claim the Louis Vuitton Cup. His determination, skill, and modest demeanour made him an instant hero in New Zealand and at home in Italy. But in the America's Cup Match the defending Team New Zealand was too strong for the Italians, and the t eam was swept aside by the Kiwis.
For the 32nd America's Cup, the team will represent the Yacht Club Italiano (YCI), the oldest sailing club on the Mediterranean. Founded in 1879 by a group of sailing enthusiasts, and enjoying the support of HRH King Umberto I, the Yacht Club Italiano had the patronage of the Royal Family, and flew the insignia of the Italian Royal Navy. The Club has been associated with the America's Cup before - in 1987, the "Italia" team represented the YCI. Today the Yacht Club Italiano can boast 1200 members, including the Italian Navy, and Naval Academy. Carlo CROCE is the current commodore.
The Luna Rossa team is the fifth Challenger to be accepted for the 32nd America's Cup, and will compete for the right to race the Defender, Team Alinghi, in the America's Cup Match in 2007. Luna Rossa joins the BMW ORACLE Racing Team, the Italian squad +39, Team Shosholoza from South Africa, and Emirates Team New Zealand as officially accepted challen gers for the 32nd America's Cup.