In 1851, the American schooner America defeated the 14 British boats of the Royal Yacht Squadron in what was essentially edition zero of the America's Cup. Only historical documents and some artistic cartoons exist to testify what the boat looked like, and it is impossible to imagine how the gentlemen engaged in circumnavigating the Isle of Wight were dressed. Back then of course, in what was to become the most important event in the sailing world as well as the oldest sporting event, the cruising speed was far from the 50 knots (about 100 km/h) of today.
For almost the entire last century, the America’s Cup was a family affair between British and American superpowers. At least until 1983 that is, when the Louis Vuitton Cup was established in order to decide who would challenge the cup holder. This preliminary competition is now called PRADA Cup and a few days ago it brought victory for Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, which will now challenge Emirates Team New Zealand. In the early eighties, the America's Cup also became a talking point in Italy, when the first tricolor boats began to compete and triumph at sea. The first was Azzurra, entered by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and steered by skipper Cino Ricci. And others would soon follow, each increasingly advanced and technological.
There is a world of technological difference between the 12-meter Azzurra and her successors, which came so close to victory: Il Moro di Venezia, for example, skippered by Paul Cayard, that battled America3 in the 1992 America's Cup, or the Luna Rossa of Francesco De Angelis, which challenged Team New Zealand at the start of the new millennium. From the 1980s to today, the evolution of construction technology, materials used, and hull design has been nothing short of extreme. The result? Increasingly fast and high-performance hulls, until the advent of foils, which enable the boats to "fly" on the water and require the crew to be extremely physically and technically prepared, like real athletes.
Dainese is the perfect partner for these athletes in terms of their individual protection. This new need has led to the creation of the Dainese Sea-Guard vest, which protects crews on board the boats. To understand today's need for safety, where falling overboard is like sliding on the asphalt of a racetrack, one need only consider the heightened performance of these boats compared to those of just a few years ago.
Today the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli syndicate, established in 1997, and Emirates Team New Zealand are once again on the hunt for the most prestigious trophy in the sailing world. The Italian crew is taking on the arduous challenge against Emirates Team New Zealand, holder of the 2017 title and a team that has already beaten the Italians in the past. Despite differences in approach, the two crews are equally attentive to safety and both make use of the Dainese Sea-Guard vest as part of their on-board equipment.