AUCKLAND – The shock waves from the weekend interview given by the Patron of Luna Rossa, Patrizio Bertelli continue to reverberate around the America's Cup world. Used to the long drawn out series of announcements from the organisers of the 34th and 35th America's Cup, fans and media expected a controlled information release, on a prescribed date, and one which often raised more questions than answers. Most were caught unawares by Luna Rossa's Patrizio Bertelli giving an interview to an Italian newspaper and letting out some key points of the next America's Cup Class, a couple of weeks ahead of time. However, we should not be surprised.
Who in the media can forget the stunned look on his skipper and tactician's faces when the volatile Italian fashion magnate issued a media release accusing the Luna Rossa afterguard of 'suicide tactics' in the fourth race of the 2000 America's Cup Match in Auckland? Seated at the elevated top table in the waterfront media centre for the 2000 America's Cup, skipper, Francesco de Angelis was explaining the reasoning for the tactic which got them on the wrong side of what proved to be a persistent shift. It cost them what appeared to be a near-certain race win. Alongside him was tactician and sailing great, Torben Grael, winner of five Olympic sailing medals, several world championships and later the Volvo Ocean Race.
Mid-way through the question and answer session someone waved a Luna Rossa media release and asked de Angelis his response to the accusation of 'suicide tactics' by the Luna Rossa crew. The urbane de Angelis looked briefly shocked, saying they had not seen the statement and left it to Torben Grael to respond.
'He thought we gave Russell [Coutts] a birthday present. It wasn't intended', said Grael - who in sailing expertise had to answer to no-one. 'I think we are the first ones to feel bad about it and Patrizio [Bertelli] has the right to be upset as well, that is why he made that statement. We didn't see it as suicide. We thought we were doing the right thing and it ended up it was not. That is part of racing, it can't always go right, sometimes it goes wrong, and when it goes wrong, you look a little stupid.'de Angelis was more to the point: 'That statement is pretty straightforward, there is not much to say about it. That is his feeling, and the facts are clear. There is not much more to say.'
–Richard Gladwell in a long piece just posted to Sail-World.com, of which he is the NZ editor. It is an excellent photo essay and you can read the full story here. We lifted Richard's headline for this piece, as it is a clever play on words given that the interview Mr Bertelli gave on Monday that spilled the monohull beans, later confirmed in a statement by Emirates Team New Zealand, was to the Italian newspaper La Stampa.
Richard was your Ed.'s special guest live from Auckland via Skype on this week's Tuesday with TFE FB Live show, and the back and forth was fun and informative, generating the hightest number of views yet for any of our Tuesday shows. Watch a replay here.
Patrizio Bertelli (ITA) and his skipper/sailing director Max Sirena (ITA) at the April 2015 press conference in Italy when the Bertelli announced they were pulling out of AC35 in a dispute with Russell Coutts over changing the rules and yachts. With his yacht club, Club Nautico della Sicilia (CNDS) as challenger of record, Bertelli is back in the Cup in a big way.