A representative from Luna Rossa was on board one of the Team New Zealand hospitality yachts ready to present their official challenge after the Kiwi syndicate took out the America's Cup in Bermuda today.
Agostino Randazzo, president of the Yacht Club Sicilia that represents Luna Rossa, watched today's racing action aboard Imagine, owned by Emirates Team New Zealand principal Matteo de Nora, to ensure the Italian syndicate will be first to register a challenge for the 36th America's Cup.
The first team to submit their challenge to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron becomes the official challenger of record for the next event.
Under the deed of gift that governs the America's Cup, the challenger of record has the right to negotiate with the defender the rules and format.
The Italian syndicate have had a close relationship with Team NZ, dating back to the 2000 America's Cup match in Auckland. In the last event in San Francisco that relationship was strengthened to include the sharing of design information.
But Luna Rossa boss Patrizio Bertelli withdrew from this year's event in protest after Oracle made sweeping changes to the format and design rules a year after the original protocol was released under the banner of cost-cutting measures.
Bertelli has continued to support the New Zealand team, lending them their prototype test boat the Italians had been developing before the rule changes.
Luna Rossa personnel have also been key figures in the Team NZ design and sailing support staff, including skipper Max Sirena, who is one of the team's technical advisors.
The on-going relationship has helped boost Team NZ's limited resources, but also kept the Italians abreast of the rapid developments in the ever-changing technology race.