Luna Rossa boss Max Sirena’s has suggested he never really thought beating Team New Zealand was possible in the America’s Cup final.
The erudite and highly popular Italian’s post-match comments made it pretty clear he thought Te Rehutai – TNZ’s stunning AC75 boat – was close to unbeatable over the long haul.
As any top sports team must do, the Italians never gave the contest away publicly, and they had many strong moments during the 3-7 Auld Mug defeat.
And Sirena believed Luna Rossa could start strongly because TNZ were “a little bit rusty” from a lack of match racing. But there was also a defeatist air to his post-match comments.
Sirena said: “I think we felt we had the opportunity to win, beat them in a few races, we lost a few opportunities at the beginning of this final.
“We knew they were going to improve big time during the series because it was a long series unfortunately. I was keen to do 13 races on day one.
“But we want to race against the best and we’ve been lucky to sail against one of the best teams I’ve ever raced in my America’s Cup career.
“We had a shot, we thought we could beat them, but we acknowledge they have a fast boat.
“Unfortunately a fast boat in a long series is always coming on top.”
Sirena said he was proud of his team’s core psychology, at odds with how Italian teams tended to operate.
“One of our problems sometimes is we over react when we win races or when everything goes well so we did a lot of work to try to change a little bit,” he said.
“Our mentality sometimes is our strength and sometimes is our weakness.
“Obviously I’m not happy about the result because we always want to win, but I don’t regret anything, I’m proud of the people I’ve been involved with in this campaign.
“Again we started from scratch when we pulled out in 2015 – everyone disappeared looking for a job.”
He also backed the AC75 class.
“Everybody was a little bit scared (of the AC75s) a couple of years ago,” he said.
“I hope it is going to be the future of the cup, we can make even better.
This boat is extremely well and nice.”
Sirena wants another America’s Cup regatta in New Zealand and said the Italian team would turn up “stronger than today”.
He also praised the work of race director Iain Murray in often tricky circumstances.
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