The third AC75 to be launched this cycle has taken to the water in Italy as Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli have launched their America's Cup boat

America’s Cup boat launches are coming thick and fast, with Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli becoming the third team to launch an America’s Cup AC75 boat in the last couple of weeks.

The Italian team launched their AC75 from their home base in Cagliari, Italy on Saturday 13th April. This follows Alinghi Red Bull Racing unveiling their boat on 5th April and Emirates Team New Zealand launching theirs on 11th April.

Teams are only allowed to build one America’s Cup boat this cycle, so this is the AC75 which Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli will race later this year when the event begins. As we have seen with the previous two launches most of what can be observed at this early stage can be attributed to the tweaks that have been made to the AC75 rule for the 37th America’s Cup, which has seen changes such as the reintroduction of cyclors and changes to the rig which has removed runners.

Photo: c/o Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli

On the former point the Luna Rossa boat features deep pods in which the cyclors are able to tuck in, almost unseen, behind the helm and trim teams. This should help provide the ultimate aerodynamic efficiency that all teams are striving for on boats that easily generate 50 knot apparent wind speeds over deck. We have seen similar deep pods on both of the other AC75 launches to date and these are a development of what we saw last cycle – particularly on Emirates Team New Zealand‘s winning boat.

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Also a feature on all boats so far is a slender ‘bustle’ or ‘skeg’ running the full length of the hull. These look to have become both deeper and more slender in the new generation AC75s with speculation that this development path is in no small part a response to the wavy conditions likely to be seen in the America’s Cup venue, Barcelona.

Compared to the previous two launches when looking at the imagery side-by-side, the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli boat looks to sit between the other two boats. Where Alinghi Red Bull Racing features very angular slab sides and a sudden cut of of those sides a way forward of the stern, Emirates Team New Zealand’s boat features much more organic lines, with a smooth taper of its hull sides towards the stern.

Luna Rossa features more prominent slab sides than the New Zealand boat, but does not feature as many curves and lumps. However, it still follows a slightly more organic shape than Alinghi offering.

Initial observations are hard to make without seeing the boats in the flesh, but bow volume is likely to be a key area of difference between the boats and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli themselves say that their bow offers ‘perhaps slightly less volume than we’ve seen on Emirates Team New Zealand and certainly less [volume] than Alinghi Red Bull Racing.’

Photo: c/o Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli

One area that will be of interest when we see this boat in flight will be the mainsail arrangement. In the 2021 America’s Cup Luna Rossa had a very sophisticated under deck boom, that was a very impressive asset and one the team spend many design hours refining.

As it was a hidden development, details are still scant, but given this was a strength of their America’s Cup finalist boat last time out we’d be surprised if there was not some development of this system hidden away under the deck.

When Alinghi unveiled their boat we were not able to see the team’s foils as they did not plan to launch the boat and step the mast – at which point it is against America’s Cup rules to use covers to hide parts of the boat. But as both Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli actually launched their boats we were able to see both sets of foils.

However, this is an area teams will be keen to keep as secret as possible as late as possible, so there are not many conclusions to be drawn about these foils yet, other than each team was sporting what might be termed an incremental development of the foils which they used in the last Cup cycle.

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