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Merino wool sets sail for the America’s Cup

PRADA Cup

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Merino wool has been put to the test through the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team uniform, designed and developed for the 36th America’s Cup. The uniforms herald the emergence of a new breed of natural performance sailing wear.

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Merino wool sailing kit

These extreme weather wear garments utilise the fibre Merino wool to enhance performance and reduce environmental impact. Wool’s natural properties such as superb breathability, the ability to wick away moisture and superior thermoregulation make the natural fibre ideal for professional sailing.

You can now own the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Official Sailing Team Uniform. The high-performance garments will be available from November 22nd at selected Prada flagship stores, on Prada.com and, from December 17th, at the Luna Rossa store at the America’s Cup Village in Auckland.

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Tested by the best

The testing and development of the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli uniforms started very early in the campaign to ensure that the team could design, test and develop pieces that allow them to perform at their best.

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Waterproof testing for extreme conditions

"We tested the garments on support tenders in rough conditions at 50kts, by fire-hosing someone for 30 minutes to test waterproofing and sitting in the prepreg container freezer to compare thermal capabilities. Our Merino wool garments passed these tests and more."

Shannon Falcone, Design and Development

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The Woolmark-certified uniforms, which the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team and crew will wear during regattas, events and official activities, include a waterproof jacket, a soft-shell jacket, a polo shirt, a wet jacket, a blouson, a T-shirt and a wetsuit and base-layers, are all made from Merino wool.

 

Working out in wool

For the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli sailors, the daily grind feels a little different thanks to Merino wool. While quarantining in Auckland, the team stayed match fit by working out in their Merino wool kit. Burpees have never looked (and felt) so good.

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How the Luna Rossa team kept fit through quarantine

 

How Merino wool and Luna Rossa protect the ocean

In a bid to protect the health of the world’s ocean, the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team has swapped its team uniform from one made with synthetic fibres to a more technical, eco-friendly kit incorporating Merino wool.

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Protecting ocean health

Unlike synthetic fibres, Merino wool does not contribute to microplastic pollution, with wool fibres 100% biodegradable in both land and marine environments.

“Choosing a fibre like wool, that is both natural and biodegradable, is closely tied to our goal of minimising ocean pollution, an issue to which our team is very sensitive,” says skipper Max Sirena.

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The Luna Rossa team

The Luna Rossa team is the most respected team in the America’s Cup fraternity. It is the only team in the history of America’s Cup to have challenged six times. An extremely competitive and well renowned team, Luna Rossa was the winner of the Challengers’ Selection Series in 2000, was a finalist three times out of four challenges and includes some of the world’s highest talented sailors and designers.

THE LUNA ROSSA PRADA CREW

“Merino wool is the original performance fibre, you can’t replicate Mother Nature but you can try to harness her power. We do this on the water and with our uniforms so we perform at our best.”
James Spithill, crew member and past America’s Cup winner
James Spithill, crew member and past America’s Cup winner

History of the America’s Cup

1851
1870
1980
1983
1997
2000
2013
2017
2018
2019
2020/21

1851: THE LEGACY BEGINS

The America’s Cup, the pinnacle of yachting, was first contested in 1851 making it the oldest trophy in international sport, predating the modern Olympic Games by 45 years.

1870-1980: AMERICA UNDEFEATED

A 132-year winning stretch saw boats representing America successfully defend the trophy 24 times from 1870 through 1980.

1980: CHALLENGER SERIES

Without a doubt, the America’s Cup is the most difficult trophy in sport to win. In the more than 160 years since that first race off England, only four nations have won. In 1983 the Challenger Selection Series was introduced to develop and identify the strongest possible challenger for the America’s Cup and ensure that they were sufficiently battle-tested through tough competition to beat the Defender.

1983: AUSTRALIA SUCCEEDS

Australia was one of the challenging countries in 1983, and the ‘Men from Down Under’ brought a secret weapon. Australia II sported a boxing Kangaroo flag in the rigging as she was towed out to sea, and under the water, a radically-designed winged keel that gave the 12-Metre Class boat superior speed under most conditions. Australia II became the first successful challenger to lift the trophy from the Americans.

1997: PRADA LAUNCHES CHALLENGE

The Luna Rossa team was created in 1997 by Patrizio Bertelli under the name "Prada Challenge for America's Cup 2000”. At its debut the team immediately won the Challenger Selection Series and went on to challenge the Defender for the America's Cup.

2000: PRADA’S FUTURISTIC UNIFORMS

With understated, futuristic uniforms issued to the sailors on the Prada Challenge, the technical clothing, including custom-made foul-weather gear for heavy-weather days and form-fitting and tri-laminate Lycra-based spray shirts were sported in silver with a distinct red stripe featuring the Prada logo.

2013: LUNA ROSSA CHALLENGER

Luna Rossa subsequently participated in the 2003, 2007 and 2013 editions of America's Cup, qualifying for the final of the Challenger Selection Series three times out of four disputed America's Cup campaigns. The crew’s silver, aerodynamically designed uniforms resembled elegant space suits and visually synced with the beautiful styling of the Luna Rossa boat.

2017: HISTORIC RECORD SURPASSED

In 2017, Luna Rossa launched its sixth challenge in the America's Cup, surpassing Sir Thomas Lipton’s historical record of number of challenges.

2018: UNPRECENDENTED BOAT DESIGN

An exciting new class of boat, the AC75, a foiling monohull, the likes of which had never been seen before was announced along with the title event sponsor Prada, setting the foundations of an exciting event in 2021.

2019: PRADA X WOOLMARK

And just as the technical aspects of the boat have advanced, so too has the sailor’s technical clothing. Tested by the best, the performance benefits of Merino wool will combine with Prada’s iconic aesthetic to give the sailors from Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli the competitive edge.

2020/21: COVID-19 CRISIS

The COVID-19 crisis shifted the 36th America's Cup racing calendar, with new dates as follows:

Transfer of boat to Auckland, New Zealand, October 2020. Races to take place December 17-20, with the last event of the America’s Cup World Series and the Christmas Race, followed by the Prada Cup – the Challenger’s selection race – from January 15 to February 22, 2021, and the final match of the 36th America’s Cup presented by Prada, from March 6-15, 2021.

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