Italy's challenge is getting ready to launch in Auckland where the team plans to train

Italy’s Luna Rossa Challenge is getting ready to launch its AC72 in Auckland this week. The team will train there over the Southern Hemisphere summer.

Skipper Max Sirena says preparing the new boat has been the main focus for the team for several weeks, at the expense of results in the last AC World Series event earlier this month in San Francisco. The two Luna Rossa crews finished in 9th and 11th place, after consistently placing on the podium in their previous events.

“This week has been the worst, but we consider it an investment in the future,” Sirena said after the final race. “Now we’re ready to move forward and concentrate on the AC72, with which we will race in the America’s Cup, our ultimate goal.”

“We’ve very much been focused on our move to Auckland and getting ready for the AC72,” helmsman Chris Draper agreed. “For the next six months, we’ll use the AC45s as training boats, but we’ll be putting almost all of our attention into the AC72.”

However, Italian AC boss Patrizio Bertelli is the latest to be critical of the giant catamarans being used for next year’s racing in San Francisco. The president of Luna Rossa Challenge 2013 is in Auckland for the launch and appears to support the notion that enormous yachts are too big and too expensive.

“Whatever solution makes it more affordable for more challengers to participate … that is the solution,” Bertelli explained. “How many challengers do we want at the next America’s Cup?”

While Oracle will defend the Cup next September, the challengers are in a race to get their boats up to speed for the Louis Vuitton Series in July. There are just three Challengers: Luna Rosa, ETNZ and Sweden’s Artemis Racing.

For more, go to the America’s Cup website.

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