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Luna Rossa © Action Images

Italian team makes first test of America's Cup bay

Sailors on the Luna Rossa America's Cup team, whose boss said he would consider withdrawing in the wake of rival sailor Andrew Simpson's death, have taken to the waters of San Francisco Bay.

It was the Italian team's first foray in their AC72 catamaran in the waters where the America's Cup is to be contested in September. Before then Luna Rossa will face rivals from Sweden and New Zealand in July and August for a chance to take on American defenders Oracle for the Cup.

Luna Rossa sailed in light winds between three and 12 knots in a three-hour session that skipper Max Sirena said took place in ideal conditions.

"From a technical standpoint it allowed us to test safety measures, loads and maneuvers," he said.

"However the really significant aspect was psychological – it was important for the crew to resume sailing on the AC72 and to get back into its normal training mode to prepare for the upcoming races."

Getting back on schedule and resuming a focus on sailing remains a challenge in the wake of the May 9 death of Artemis Racing crew member Simpson, who was killed when the Swedish team's AC72 capsized while training.

That has raised safety concerns, and Luna Rossa boss Patrizio Bertelli called for lower wind speed limits for the races or a chance for teams to sit out of races without penalties if they felt conditions were dangerous.

Cup officials had asked that teams not sail in San Francisco Bay before May 23, saying they wanted more time to investigate the fatal accident.


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