Challenger of Record Luna Rossa is unhappy with a key design component provided by Team New Zealand for the upcoming America's Cup regatta - with skipper and CEO Max Sirena describing the foil cant system as something from a regular car being put into a Formula One car.
Sirena has spoken candidly on a number of issues that have contributed to a souring of the relationship between Luna Rossa and Team New Zealand, and indicated they would be unlikely to test themselves against the defender in the lead-up to next month's Christmas Cup regatta.
When the Defender and Challenger of Record came up with the class design, they agreed the Italians would design the foil arms and Team New Zealand the foil cant system, which are effectively the hydraulics that control the foil arms on the AC75s.
Luna Rossa had initial problems with its foil arm development with the first prototype breaking during destruction testing at less than the anticipated load. But Sirena says they eventually got it right and produced foil arms befitting the high-tech nature of the AC75s, something he claims Team New Zealand did not manage with the foil cant system.
"We had a few issues at the beginning with the foil arm. So, we put a lot of effort into the design and started again and we designed the foil which is one of the most stressed components of the boat, everything is loaded on this arm," Sirena said.
"I can tell you the two components are not on the same level - it's like putting in a component which is coming up from a Formula One car together with one from a car you use every day, so it doesn't really match. We are not happy because it doesn't work as we wish."
The one-design components are given to all the Challengers and the Defender.
"It would be a shame if we're going to lose a race because the system doesn't work. We didn't complain in reality as much because we have made it work but I know the others are complaining quite a lot."
Despite his frustrations with the quality of the foil cant system, Sirena says there's not much they can do about it now.
"We can only make it work and make sure the system is bulletproof for everyone, we just need to work together and we're going to support the system and the group which is working on developing the system."
Sirena has acknowledged the relationship between Luna Rossa and Team New Zealand is tense at best and he's aware Team New Zealand is unhappy the Challengers have been sailing in close proximity to each other on the Waitemata Harbour, at times resembling racing. Organised practice against other teams isn't allowed under the Cup protocol.
"The racecourses are basically side by side and the amount of space is not big. In low tide you are pretty limited in the area you can sail so for sure there will be moments when the boats are close together," Sirena said.
But he had no time for any criticism coming from Team New Zealand.
"I know there is someone who is not happy about it (Grant Dalton) because they're not in the water yet." Sirena said. "But they were the first one to mainly line up with the Americans so it's part of the game and you want to push the boundaries and be inside the rules, but take everything you can out of the rules."
So, will Luna Rossa be keen to catch up with Team New Zealand on the water after they launch their second boat next week?
"It's a big question mark - we have been talking about that in the last few days because there are pro and cons.
"You always learn something out of them because they're strong, they are smart and I'm confident they're going to launch a good boat because they were ahead at the beginning.
But at the same time this one is the last opportunity for them to race against us. You don't want to help them too much so we will see how it goes in the next week."
Sirena describes Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton as his "friend on the other side of the Harbour." But it's clear the relationship is frayed with the Luna Rossa skipper and CEO furious at the barbs fired by Dalton over inner Harbour courses being removed by the arbitration panel in September, before the Ports of Auckland eventually stepped in and had them reinstated.
Dalton had been "outraged" saying the Challenger of Record had "destroyed" the opportunity for thousands of sailing fans to watch the America's Cup action live.
Sirena is happy for course B and C to be back in the game but says Dalton is "always dropping bombs at us but in reality he should think twice because if the protocol is respected we are more than happy to race there."
Team New Zealand is due to unveil their second AC75 on Thursday and Sirena is expecting to see something impressive.
"I'm expecting a fast machine because they're smarter.
"They have not invited me, but we have a pretty good eye from here and we're looking forward to seeing the boat because for sure there will be something to learn out of it "