The Italian Almanac

Luna Rossa

Another Red Moon

Prada looks set to unleash Luna Rossa (Red Moon) on the America's Cup again.

The Italian fashion house sponsored the yacht team in sailing's most prestigious contest in 2000, 2003 and 2007. But it had said it did not intend to participate in the 34th America's Cup, which will take place in San Francisco in 2013. That seems to have changed though after Prada's mercurial chief executive Patrizio Bertelli announced to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that he had asked the board to authorize a 40-million-euro sponsorship of Luna Rossa at the America's Cup. Sailing commentators have said the amount is what would be needed as a basis for the development of a competitive C72 catamaran, the ultra high-tech wing-sailed yacht class that will be used at the next America's Cup.

The Luna Rossa team, whose name would probably be changed to Prada Challenge for the Cup, currently head the rankings of the Extreme Sailing Series, which also uses similar high-tech catamarans, with just one round to go. Italian media have reported that Prada have lined up Britain's three-time Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie, with whom they have a personal sponsorship deal, to lead the team.