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Luna Rossa believe they can win America's Cup

Luna Rossa skipper Max Sirena believes Italian flags will wave for the next winner of the America's Cup.

08 October 2014

Luna Rossa skipper Max Sirena believes the Italian syndicate can finally win the America's Cup.

"For the first time I feel in a position to win the America's Cup," Sirena told a media conference at the just-completed Genoa Boat Show.

"It would be the realisation of a dream - winning with the Italian flag."

The syndicate, backed by Italian fashion giant Prada, has been in the America's Cup game since 2000. They have won the challengers series but never the cup itself despite investing a fortune. But now they believe they are ready to capitalise on the gains they made from their information-sharing project with Team New Zealand at the last event.

Luna Rossa had to use a first generation foiling catamaran in San Francisco and lost the challenger series to Team New Zealand who sailed a more developed version.

The Kiwis couldn't hold off Oracle in the America's Cup final though, with the Americans charging back from 1-8 down to win 9-8 in one of the most famous comebacks in sports history.

With Luna Rossa now based at home and immersed in development, Sirena felt better than ever about his campaign.

He said they had made big gains in foiling the smaller 45-foot catamarans that would be used for the world series that starts next year.

With cup organisers agreeing to investigate using a foiling version of those boats, Sirena felt Luna Rossa had an early edge in a series that counts for qualifying points towards the cup.

"We started first, the advantage is obvious. It is up to us, now, to administer it,' he said.

He suggested Italy would look to stage one of the world series regattas, giving them a home advantage. He also anticipated New Zealand hosting a regatta and believed Luna Rossa's extensive training in Auckland in the leadup to the last cup would help their competitiveness.

With catamarans to be used in the actual America's Cup racing set to be reduced from 72-foot to 62-foot versions, Sirena predicted big changes but little compromise in performance.

"It will be a completely different boat from what you saw in San Francisco," he said.

"It will be like a spaceship."

While Italy had some initial reservations about using giant foiling catamarans because of safety concerns, Sirena made it clear there was no point in returning to monohulls. The future, he said, was with multihulls.

"I personally would not go back to monohulls," he said.

"It would be like going to ask a MotoGP pilot to leave 4-stroke engines to return to the old 2-stroke."

Luna Rossa has taken on the role of Challenger of Record after Team Australia quit, but is keen to adopt a committee approach and wants the America's Cup venue sorted out by the end of the month.

San Diego and Bermuda are vying for the right to host the cup finals in 2017 and Sirena said it was important to get the decision as soon as possible to allow teams to push on with their design work.

Sirena also indicated a late entry - likely from Asia - would boost the challenger numbers to seven.