SAN FRANCISCO (#1219) — Wednesday afternoon LRPP had their twice-delayed but nonetheless simple and elegant launch party at their team base in Sardinia. The first of their two AC75s was blessed by a priest then christened by Muccia Prada, the wife of Prada CEO and LRPP team Principal Patrizio Bertelli. The boat was named, no surprise, LUNA ROSSA — which has been the name of all of the yachts commissioned by Mr Bertelli in his now six America's Cup challenges. That makes Mr Bertelli the only six-time challenger, surpassing the five challenges sponsored the indomitable Sir Thomas Lipton.
This has to be one of the first launch ceremonies in my four decades in the Cup that actually started ahead of schedule. We went on the air purposely at 0600 Pacific to give us 30 minutes of introductory discussion before the scheduled 1530 CET (0630 PDT) ceremony. It was already starting when we went on the air at 0600.
During today's show we had a large number of interesting comments from our keen viewers, some of whom are expert on yacht design — including AC vet Britton Ward of Farr Yacht Design. It was also fun, and funny, to see Muccia Prada brush away the mic when Mr Bertelli offered it to her before she smashed the champagne bottle on the latest LUNA ROSSA. And it was nice to see the traditional, personal hand-held bottle doing the job, not a bottle on a lever-arm freed by the tug of a rope as we saw in both the ETNZ and American Magic commissioning.
Today's TFE LIVE had a large number of viewers, almost 1,000 cumulative when we went off the air two hours later. In that time we covered a lot of AC territory, including updates on the other three "super teams" as well as the still official but slow-to-come-to-fruition Stars+Stripes Team USA representing the Long Beach Yacht Club. Enjoy....