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February 16, 2021

All of Luna Rossa's Tuscany

A story of men, the sea and victories that have the Tuscan Maremma as their common thread

Luna Rossa also won the two races of the second day of the Prada Cup final against Ineos UK, taking a 4-0 lead, just three wins away from winning the trophy and gaining a pass to the America's Cup, and we want to tell you the story of a Tuscan dream.

In fact, there is a lot of Tuscany in this adventure. Not just because Bertelli is from Arezzo, but because Patrizio Bertelli's idea of launching an America's Cup challenge was born between 3 February and 4 February 1997 in the studio of naval architect German Frérs in Milan. Within a short time Bertelli chose the other key men in the team: designer Doug Peterson, sailing ace Torben Grael, skipper Francesco de Angelis. He bought three IACCs: USA 28 Kanza, USA 43 Might Mary, and USA 23 America³.
The Italian base for the team was Punta Ala, in Tuscany, where the sea and wind conditions were closer to those of the Hauraki Gulf in New Zealand, the venue for the regattas.

On 21 April 1997, the president of the Punta Ala Yacht Club, Bruno Calandriello, formally launched the challenge to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, holder of the America's Cup. Training began on 4 July 1997.

From 7 January 1998, and for all the following Australian summers, the team moved to train at the Auckland base in New Zealand. After two years of planning, the first new ITA 45 hull was built in the spring of 1999 at a shipyard in Grosseto.

The launch took place in Punta Ala on 5 May 1999, with Miuccia Prada as godmother and the parish priest of Punta Ala, Don Sandro Spinelli, officiating. The name chosen for the ITA 45 (and all subsequent ones) was Luna Rossa.

The official story goes that the name was born in Patrizio Bertelli's mind from the rising of a big full reddish moon on a summer evening during a dinner spent talking about boats on the Tirli hills near Punta Ala.

And then there are the men, those who contribute to the legend of Luna Rossa

There is Maximiliano Valli, 44, from Populonia, a carpenter with a passion for football, who entered the sailing world as an apprentice for Luna Rossa in May 2000. For years "Floor Manager" of North Sails in Valencia and sailmaker for numerous teams in different circuits, he is at his fifth America's Cup.

Giovanni Tognozzi, from Castiglione della Pescaia, has been with the Luna Rossa team since its first America's Cup challenge in 2000, participating in all campaigns. In 2010 he was boat captain of the TP52 Luna Rossa and in 2011 he was shore team manager of the Extreme 40 catamaran with which Luna Rossa won the Extreme Sailing Series. This is his sixth campaign in the America's Cup.

Marco Donati, 49, from Viareggio, already with Mascalzone Latino in 2001 as electronics manager, joined Luna Rossa in 2004. In 2009 he won his first America's Cup with Oracle. In 2017 he worked with Emirates Team New Zealand, which won the 35th America's Cup. This with Luna Rossa is his fourth participation. And finally the physiotherapist Stefano De Pirro, from Porto Santo Stefano.

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