Saturday, 23 October 2010

Alinghi Competes in Bentley Geneva Match Race

A new Alinghi crew including Arnaud Psarofaghis turns its hand to match racing this weekend

The Société Nautique de Genève clubhouse. Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi.

by Paco Latorre

Alinghi America's Cup match racers, Nils Frei and Yves Detrey team up with helmsman Arnaud Psarofaghis and their fellow D35 sailor, Tanguy Cariou, for this weekend's Bentley Geneva Match race, a grade two event.

As the five match racing teams are postponed ashore waiting for a south-westerly to fill in, we check in with Nils Frei, trimmer, who along with Yves Detrey and Tanguy Cariou, has just completed the D35 season on the lake. Nils admits to being a bit rusty having not done any serious match racing since the 32nd America's Cup Match, which Alinghi won in 2007.

What is the current state of play at the Bentley Geneva Match Race?

Nils Frei: We have no wind at the moment, but we are going to try to race later as it is supposed to fill in this afternoon. The teams are few, but the level is high, there are some really good match racers: Bertrand Pace is here and Eric Monnin is also very good. We have Keith Swinton from Australia who is ranked 16th and is back to defend his Bentley Geneva Match Race title. We also have Jerome Clerc from Société Nautique de Genève racing this weekend. He is a good match racer and he knows the Surprise boats very well. It should be fun, we are excited to race.

As a new group, what's the approach this weekend?

NF: As it is our first time together as a team, there is no pressure, we are just trying to learn to match race together and hopefully we will sail more in the future. We obviously know Arnaud from sailing on the lake – he is very talented. We could see that in the practice sessions we had yesterday and the day before. He needs more hours match racing, but there is a lot of potential. It should be a good weekend. There is a good atmosphere on board, we are all good friends, so it's nice.

When did you last race a Surprise?

NF: It has been many years since Yves and I raced the Surprise. It is the most sailed boat here on the lake and there are 600 in the country, so it is a very popular fleet and everyone does their time on board.

Can you remember your last match race?

NF: I did a fun match race a few weeks ago, but I haven't raced seriously since 2007. We are quite relaxed about this weekend, we are a new group and the others are much more match fit, they have been training a lot over the last months, so it will not be easy to win. We are a little bit rusty and Arnaud hasn't done a lot of match racing, but anything can happen I guess!

Bentley Geneva Match Race is from 22-24 October at the the Société Nautique de Genève.

Bentley Geneva Match Race