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Luna Rossa's youngest sailor hoping to surpass father in pursuit of America's Cup glory

The closest Luna Rossa has ever come to winning the America's Cup was 20 years ago in Auckland when they won the Louis Vuitton Cup only to go on to lose to New Zealand.                

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Matteo Celon’s dad Claudio was part of Luna Rossa when they lost to Team NZ 20 years ago. Source: 1 NEWS

On the boat that year was a sailor named Claudio Celon whose son, Matteo, is now here with the same team hoping to go one better.

Celon has a lifelong connection to New Zealand having ventured to Aotearoa when he was just four years old while his dad competed.

Celon told 1 NEWS it was the start of an infatuation.

“When I was young in school in geography I always started with New Zealand and Auckland,” Celon said.

“All this stuff because I was thinking about this beautiful island that I’ve been to but I don’t remember.”

Now Celon is here to make his own memories although the old racing footage is a stark reminder of just how much has changed with the 24-year-old part of a new generation of sailors on a boat that goes more than five times faster than his dad's did.

Celon said for that reason, his father hasn’t given him too much advice on sailing.

“He said if you want to know how to sail you have to sail, you have to work hard and study,” Celon said.

“So you have to do this and don’t ask me the answer!”

It’s wisdom that Celon has taken on board though, working his way up to becoming Luna Rossa's youngest sailor in this year's crew while also spending hours off the water as part of the shore team.

While Celon admits the workload is difficult, he also finds it rewarding.

“When you are in the boat you know what you have worked for and it’s not just the tool but is more a part of you.”

The Italians hope that tool will help them finally go one step further than they've ever been and etch their name on sport's oldest prize.