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Luna Rossa Yacht Builders Wear Tyvek® Coveralls

The team of specialists involved in building the LUNA ROSSA yachts for the 2007 America’s Cup selected DuPont™ Tyvek® coveralls to help protect them from harmful substances during the boat construction phase.

A total of 5,000 Tyvek® garments were used by the team of 22 international super-specialists involved in building the new LUNA ROSSA yachts for the 2007 America’s Cup in Valencia. Commenting on the team’s choice of Tyvek® garments, Antonio Marrai, logistics and site manager for the Luna Rossa Challenge 2007 explained, "They were chosen personally by our boat construction operatives. Once the mould has been produced, they handle various phases, i.e. processing of the carbon, the fibre used in building the hulls, applying the resin, surfacing, smoothing and painting – all strictly by hand and without any automatic tools, which is why people are particularly exposed to the spread of fine, dry particles and possible sprays of atomised materials. It was therefore absolutely necessary to ensure the utmost protection in terms of safety at work for all operatives. To achieve this, they all chose to wear Tyvek® coveralls with protective goggles, gloves and respirator masks".

This was the fourth America’s Cup event for Antonio Marrai – his third with Luna Rossa. Marrai, who was previously with the Agip Petroli Group, can boast extensive experience in sailing, having taken part in the 12-metre international class world championships on Freedom (Porto Cervo, 1984), with Azzurra in Fremantle in Australia for the world championships in 1986 and for the America’s Cup in 1987. He also sailed in the world Maxi championships from 1989 to 1991.

Marrai explained, "In areas like this, where such sophisticated processes are carried out, the specialists have a much higher level of attention for hygiene and safety than normally seen in any other type of firm. Given that the operatives are all highly professional in this area, they take utmost care of themselves and constantly demand adequate personal protection equipment. There’s no need to remind them to use PPE as none of them would ever, for any reason, grind or even just sandpaper without adequate head-to-foot protection."

"Personally", Marrai underlined, "I do not have the necessary skill to evaluate whether overalls in Tyvek® are the best. I can, however, say that the boys, who had already worn them when building the previous Luna Rossa boats, only want these. There must be a reason for it. Besides the effective protection, the operatives especially appreciate the features of strength, fit and comfort and the great freedom of movement during work."

History of the America’s Cup

Winning the America’s Cup, the oldest sporting trophy in existence and the most important world sailing event, is a challenge that has been a source of great excitement since the nineteenth century, with the clippers, cutters, schooners and the two powers on opposite sides of the Atlantic, Great Britain and the United States of America, competing for supremacy at sea and leadership in terms of technology and innovation.

The first race dates back to 1851 when a group of New Yorkers inspired by Commodore John Cox Stevens crossed the Atlantic on a schooner, flying the New York Yacht Club flag, called the America, to challenge the British yachts. On 22 August, America took part in a regatta around the Isle of Wight, organized as part of the first Universal Exhibition, winning ahead of 14 British boats. "Majesty, there is no second", was the historic reply of the yeoman of the royal yacht to Queen Victoria present that day for the regatta.

The Hundred Guinea Cup, the name of the trophy to be won, followed the winners to the USA where it was promptly renamed America’s Cup and where it remained, on its pedestal at the New York Yacht Club, surviving repeated attempts by the many challengers for over a century.

In September 1983, 132 years later, the Cup left the USA for Perth, Australia, ending the longest run of wins in the history of all sports.

Since Stevens’ victory to the present, 26 skippers have won the America’s Cup and the appeal of this challenge has attracted high-profile figures over the years. Between 1899 and 1930 Sir Thomas Lipton attempted to take it to Ireland five times in a row and in later decades other famous names such as Sopwith, Vanderbilt, Bich and Turner, to name but a few, were committed to making it a legend. On 2 March 2003, the Cup returned to Europe in the hands of Ernesto Bertarelli, for the first time in its history.

Driven by technological superiority

The driving spirit behind today’s leading contenders has remained the same: to reach the highest level of training in all areas in order to outdo the fiercest of opponents and to be able to challenge the defender of the prized trophy. The America’s Cup is one of the areas in which the most advanced technologies are developed and applied. Right from the outset the attempt to prove technology superiority at sea of one nation over the other has been one of the pivots of the event. The challenge between technologies has endured until today with nations competing to decide who is capable of building the fastest America’s Cup class boat in the world.