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21 May 2002, 12:59 pm
Miuccia Prada Christens Boat
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Image © Sea & See/Carlo Borlenghi

Luna Rossa ITA 74 is Launched

A bright Mediterranean shone at the launching of Luna Rossa ITA-74, the newborn at Prada Challenge for America's Cup. The event took place at the Team Prada base in Punta Ala.
Miuccia Prada christened the boat breaking a magnum of Moet & Chandon across the bow while Patrizio Bertelli and the whole Team Prada looked on during this private ceremony.

Don Sandro Spinelli, parish priest of Punta Ala, was at hand for the ritual blessing of the boat.
Bruno Calandriello, president of the Yacht Club Punta Ala, was also present as were the boat yard personnel and the families of the Prada Team members with lots of cheering children who provided a gay and festive backdrop to the event.

Luna Rossa, in full dress, touched the water shortly after eleven o'clock and, in a surprise move, the protective skirts were removed to show the topsides, allowing also glimpses of the underwater appendices through the clear water. The famous red Prada logo remains unchanged, while the hull is painted a darker, matt grey.

After the toasts, Patrizio Bertelli with Miuccia Prada, Francesco de Angelis and a group of team representatives boarded a plane for Milano where the official press conference for the presentation of the boat took place.

A great hall was set up by the Milanese offices of Team Prada with four quarter scale test-tank models hanging from the walls. Journalists, official suppliers, technology partners and guests were shown the images of the launch. The microphones were then opened for Patrizio Bertelli and Francesco de Angelis to comment on the event.

"This new challenge starts again from zero. It is a different challenge with a new team and new boats. We will try to be as detached as possible from the last Cup and we intend to tackle this challenge with renewed energy and enthusiasm", said Patrizio Bertelli.

Francesco de Angelis confirmed by saying: "I cannot think of any element of the boat that we launched today that is not totally new, a result of the intense research and development as well as intensive training programme followed during the past two years. Every time you participate in a sporting event you must rewrite the page from zero with the intent to better yourself from your previous effort."

A journalist asked what were the reactions of the Team Prada when they learnt of a second Italian challenger at the Louis Vuitton Cup. Francesco answered by saying he is happy there is a further contender and that other Italians decided to participate. "In the end, every team will gain the hearts of their fans with their behaviour on the field and with their results," added Francesco.

After the press conference, Patrizio Bertelli and the rest of the team flew back to Punta Ala to celebrate, together with families and friends, the first day of the new Luna Rossa ITA-74 with a barbecue on the beach.
From Tuesday crew, shore-team and technicians will be already at work for the delicate tuning of hull, underwater appendices, sails and gear of the new boat that, after the technical tests are completed, will sail in the waters of Punta Ala.

ITA-74 will be shipped to New Zealand in two months time. The second Prada boat, still in construction, will be flown to New Zealand in August and will sail for six weeks with ITA-74 before the first race of the Louis Vuitton Cup on 1st October.

ITA-74 will sail in Europe until beiing shipped to New Zealand.

photo: Miuccia Prada smashes a magnum of Moet & Chandon over the bows of ITA-74
LV Cup Press/News Editor
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