With a private ceremony Luna Rossa ITA 80 was launched at 11.00 am today (local time) at the Auckland operations base of team Prada.
Luna Rossa ITA 80, the second new Americas Cup Class yacht built by Prada, arrived last week at Auckland airport on an Antonov 124-100, a special cargo airplane that left Pisa, Italy, on August 13. The launching ceremony began at 10.00am with the ritual blessing of the boat performed by Father Bernard Kiely, parish priest of St Patricks Cathedral in Auckland, who recited in Italian the prayer Stella Maris with all the team.
It was Miuccia Pradas turn, then, to officially christen Luna Rossa by smashing, as per tradition, a bottle of champagne across the bow. Luna Rossa ITA 80, in full dress and covered by heavy skirts to mask the appendages and the shape of the hull, was lowered at sea to allow the whole crew and Patrizio Bertelli to step aboard and hoist the Yacht Club Punta Ala burgee. Patrizio Bertelli addressed the team: "Here we are again gathered together with our families for a happy occasion. The newest Luna Rossa is beautiful and I thank all the team for their hard work over the past two years. We are now ready to start training at sea with both our Luna Rossa yachts"
. Francesco de Angelis, after hoisting the Yacht Club Punta Ala burgee with all the team applauding him, said: "We already had one beautiful boat, now we have two. 'In bocca al lupo a tutti!' (traditional Italian expression used to wish all the best)".
After the champagne toast and an excellent lunch with home made lasagne, team Prada was back at work to complete the preparations and set up of both the Luna Rossa yachts, ITA 74 having arrived in Auckland on a cargo ship three days ago. Team Prada is scheduled to commence training in the Hauraki Gulf at the beginning of September. The Louis Vuitton Cup, challenger selection series for the XXXI Americas Cup, begins in Auckland on October first 2002.