The Alinghi sailing team travelled to Lorient in France on Tuesday to begin multi-hull training with well-known French sailor Alain Gautier on the ORMA 60’, Foncia, in view of a Deed of Gift match against BMW Oracle Racing.
Alain Gautier (left) and Ed Baird (right)
'Alinghi is very pleased to have reached an agreement with Alain Gautier. He is a hugely experienced multi-hull sailor and as we are largely focusing on designing and racing a multi-hull for a Deed of Gift Match against BMW Oracle, Alain's expertise and experience will be hugely valuable to the team,' Grant Simmer, Alinghi design team coordinator, said, adding: 'Most of us are keel yacht sailors and have limited experience on multi-hulls, particularly large multi-hulls, so this is an important step in our learning process, to understand and to race a multi-hull yacht.'
The Swiss Defender’s primary objective this week is to learn more about sailing multi-hulls, however the mix of sailors and designers will also be aiming to develop a basic understanding of how big trimarans work; this would include a look at the sails, spars, hardware and general layout as well as the sequence of responsibilities during manoeuvres.
Alain Gautier, who won the Solitaire du Figaro in 1989 and the Vendée Globe in 1992, among many other multi-hull grand prix titles, comments on his role as consultant to Alinghi: 'I am very happy to join the Alinghi team as a multihull consultant and coach for the training sessions onboard the trimaran Foncia. The mutual respect that has developed between Alinghi and I over the last two seasons of the Julius Baer Challenge is ‘not irrelevant’ to this decision. I believe I can bring both sailing know how and technical knowledge although I have no doubt of the team's ability to design a fearsome machine.'
Training begins on Wednesday 26 March – weather permitting! And further training sessions are planned in the coming weeks.
Sailing team members present:
Rodney Ardern, Ed Baird, Dean Phipps, Jan Dekker, Lorenzo Mazza, Nicolas Texier, Peter van Niekerk, Pieter van Nieuwenhuyzen, Matt Welling, Murray Jones and Francesco Rapetti.
Design team members present:
Rolf Vrolijk, Dirk Kramers, Kurt Jordan, Mike Schreiber, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Kirst Feddersen, plus Alain Gautier as consultant.
Trimaran: ORMA 60’ design by VPLP in 2001 and launched in 2002
Solent : 125m2
Staysail : 84m2