Tuesday, 9 February 2010

America's Cup: The 33rd America's Cup is about to start

Alinghi 5 cast off this morning at 06:30 for Race 1 of the 33rd America's Cup

by Daphne Morgan Barnicoat

Alinghi 5, the 33rd America's Cup defending yacht, left the Alinghi base this morning for Race 1 of the 33rd America's Cup amid a cacophony of Swiss bells and cheers from Alinghi fans, friends and families. This moment has been long awaited.

“We have been looking forward to this moment for a long time,” said Ernesto Bertarelli, Alinghi team president and principal helmsman. “It is good to be going racing at last. The designers have done an amazing job in creating this boat for us and the shore team have done a phenomenal job in building it. It's time to go racing.”

Race 1 of the America's Cup is a 40 nautical mile windward/leeward course (20nm upwind and 20nm down) and is due to start at 10:06 this morning, weather permitting.

Defender vs. Challenger
Alinghi 5, Société Nautique de Genève (SUI) vs. BMW Oracle Racing, Golden Gate Yacht Club (USA)

Alinghi, the Defender of the America's Cup, has the blue flag, which means port entry in to the starting area.

WSW wind 5-12 knots
Possible rain
12°c Max

Crew list:
Bowman: Piet van Nieuwenhuijzen (NED)
Midbow: Curtis Blewett (CAN)
Pitman: Rodney Ardern (NZL)
Trimmer upwind: Simon Daubney (NZL)
Trimmer downwind: Nils Frei (SUI)
Mainsail trimmer: Warwick Fleury (NZL)
Traveller: Pierre-Yves Jorand (SUI)
Helmsman: Ernesto Bertarelli (SUI)
Tactician: Brad Butterworth (NZL)
Runner: Murray Jones (NZL)
Navigator: Juan Vila (ESP)
Floater: Jan Dekker (RSA/FRA)
Floater: Loïck Peyron (FRA)
Pre-start: Peter Evans (NZL)

Quotes from the race boat

Nils Frei (SUI), downwind trimmer

What's the feeling among the team this morning?

“It's good, very good. We are looking forward to racing. I think we have had some good training the last couple of weeks and we're confident with the forecast. We're looking forward to it.”

How important is this line-up with BMW Oracle? What will the team learn?

“We'll learn a lot today. We'll see how the boats are going. So far we've observed them and they've observed us, but we're not 100 percent sure how it'll go on the water. I think about 20minutes after the start we'll probably know a lot more. It's going to be interesting.”

What's been the most fascinating aspect of this campaign?

“These boats are so huge. They are fast. It's something new to everyone. We've been able to develop the boat, and every day we make it faster. It's high tech and very, very interesting.”

Murray Jones (NZL), runner

Race 1 for the America's Cup; what's the weather forecast and how will it affect the sailing?

“There's about 5-12 knots forecast. We'll see when we get out there. It's always changing here in Valencia and it depends exactly where we are out there. We'll line-up and see how we go.”

Did you know?

The last – and only – time a catamaran competed in the America's Cup Match was in 1988 when the 60ft cat Stars & Stripes defeated the 90ft load waterline length monohull KZ-1.

On a typical practice day in the week leading up to the 33rd America's Cup Match Alinghi 5 sailed approximately 100nm per day.

Alinghi was the first European team to win the America's Cup in 2003 and in 2007 it became the first team to successfully defend the Cup in Europe.

Alinghi has a 10-2 record in races for the America's Cup.

Alinghi 5 is 90ft/28m long. It has a beam equivalent to the width of two tennis courts and a mast 17 storeys tall. The total sail area is the equivalent of nine tennis courts.

On this day in America's Cup history

1990 – The New York Court of Appeals affirmed the First Division's judgment and confirmed Dennis Conner's controversial Stars & Stripes victory for the San Diego Yacht Club in the 27th America's Cup Match. Popularly known as the “mismatch”, it featured a match between challenger New Zealand, a 90ft load waterline monohull sloop, and the defender's 60ft catamaran Stars & Stripes. The decision brought to an end almost three years of legal turmoil in the America's Cup.

2009 – Alinghi defeats BMW Oracle Racing in Round Robin 2 of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series held on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour. It would be the first of three match race victories against BMW Oracle Racing in the regatta, securing Alinghi´s record of not having lost a match race against BMW Oracle since 4 October 2005 in Trapani, Sicily.


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