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America's Cup Luna Rossa Trimmer Shannon Falcone Has Irish Roots

3rd March 2021
Shannon Falcone is Trimmer/Grinder on Luna Rossa and has Irish roots
Shannon Falcone is Trimmer/Grinder on Luna Rossa and has Irish roots Credit: COR36 – Studio Borlenghi

As well as the connection forged through the presentation of the Sir Thomas Lipton Memorial Cup by Royal Ulster Yacht Club on Belfast Lough to the 36th America's Cup challenging team's yacht club, the Circolo Della Vela Sicilia Yacht Club, the club has a personal link through one of its members.

Heather Forrest's great-nephew, Shannon Falcone is Trimmer/Grinder on Luna Rossa. His mother is Heather's niece and Heather says he was named Shannon "as he has Irish blood, and his Great Grandmother, the late Molly Gray from Bangor, would have been so proud".

Forty-year-old Shannon comes from a sailing family, his first taste of the sea having been as a toddler, when his father Carlo and Mother Pandora, left Europe and sailed to Antigua. It was with his Olympian father that he originally sailed in Stars, competing at the 1998, 1999 and 2000 Star World Championships. He has competed in multiple America's Cups and Volvo Ocean Races. At one stage his sailing career saw him on Oracle Team USA. He then re-joined Luna Rossa.

And it's to the Luna Rossa's home club, the Circolo Della Vela Sicilia Yacht Club in Palermo, Sicily, that the Sir Thomas Lipton Memorial Cup will be destined. As reported in Afloat.ie, the Cup was handed over at a dinner on 24th February in the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Committee Room, where Royal Ulster member John Taylor who lives in Auckland, made the presentation.

(Left to Right) John Taylor - RUYC, Aaron Young - Commodore RNZYS, Agostino Randazzo - Commodore Circolo Della Vella Sicilia YC in Sicily receiving the Sir Thomas Lipton Memorial Cup(Left to Right) John Taylor - RUYC, Aaron Young - Commodore RNZYS, Agostino Randazzo - Commodore Circolo Della Vella Sicilia YC in Sicily receiving the Sir Thomas Lipton Memorial Cup Photo: COR36 – Studio Borlenghi

Present also were Francesco Longanesi Cattani, Representative of the Challenger of Record, who hosted and sponsored the event; Aaron Young – Commodore RNZYS and Agostino Randazzo, Commodore - Circolo Della Vela Sicilia Yacht Club. Agostino Randazzo was pleased to receive the cup and impressed also to have the personal addressed letter of congratulations from RUYC Commodore, HRH The Duke of Gloucester. John was delighted to be involved " A relaxed and convivial atmosphere was engendered by our Prada host Francesco Longanesi Cattani supported by an excellent dinner laid on by RNZYS. The conversation was free-flowing and constructive suggestions for the future of this event were exchanged between the clubs."

The Presentation of the Pell Cup by Simon Davidson (L) - Commodore Ida Lewis YC, Agostino Randazzo - Commodore Circolo Della Vella Sicilia YC,(centre) Aaron Young - Commodore RNZYS.The Presentation of the Pell Cup by Simon Davidson (L) - Commodore Ida Lewis YC, Agostino Randazzo - Commodore Circolo Della Vella Sicilia YC,(centre) Aaron Young - Commodore RNZYS. Photo: COR36 – Studio Borlenghi

Ida Lewis YC Commodore, Simon Davidson also presented their Pell Cup to the Challenger at the same event. The two clubs have a long history as four of the Cup presentations were held in the Ida Lewis YC.

John Taylor - RUYC handing over letter of congratulations from HRH Duke of Gloucester, Commodore RUYC to Agostino Randazzo - Commodore Circolo Della Vella Sicilia YC in SicilyJohn Taylor - RUYC handing over the letter of congratulations from HRH Duke of Gloucester, Commodore RUYC to Agostino Randazzo - Commodore Circolo Della Vella Sicilia YC in Sicily Photo: COR36 – Studio Borlenghi

In an interesting development Rear Commodore Johnny Ritchie has recently been told by ex-Vice Commodore, George Ralston that RUYC received an invitation via an Outport member Teddy Thomas (who was also a member of The New York Yacht Club) to present a trophy to the Challenger for the America's Cup in memory of Sir Thomas Lipton. In 1970 the Committee purchased the Cup, which was originally for the Challenging team but is now presented to the Challenging Yacht Club.

Meanwhile, we await the resumption of the America's Cup racing on the weekend of Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th March, the event having been postponed in the light of the seven-day Auckland Covid 19 Level 3 lockdown. 

Published in America's Cup
Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down.

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