Alinghi, Defender of the 33rd America’s Cup, today announced it is back to sailing pending the outcome of the legal situation in New York. The Swiss team confirmed at a press conference in Valencia that it is getting ready to start building the Deed of Gift Match multi-hull boat. It also kicked off its 2008 sailing programme, focusing on multi-hull racing, and announced several new team members.
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'Today we have a way forward: Ernesto [Bertarelli] has committed to building this multi-hull and as long as we can get the pending issues resolved by the New York courts – including a race date in 2009 – we’ll be sailing in a huge multi-hull against BMW Oracle, which is something pretty exciting,' said Brad Butterworth, team skipper and tactician. 'We retained most of the sailors that we had from the last America’s Cup – obviously with a slight downsize as we were planning on sailing just one 90 footer – and now that we are in a multi-hull challenge, we have new people joining with experience in this area. Alain Gautier for example is helping us and we have Nicolas Texier and Jan Dekker both who have lots of depth.'
'We have a really good sailing plan for this summer that will keep the guys racing, the Mediterranean season is about to crank up. We have the VX40s in Valencia and will be racing the iShares Cup and the D35s on Lake Geneva for the Julius Baer Challenge. This we will supplement with some big boat sailing with Neville Crichton on Alfa Romeo and with Dan Meyer’s on Numbers. There’s going to be some good racing.'
The first regatta is the Grand Prix Chopard (2-4 May) in Geneva onboard the D35. http://www.alinghi.com/multimedia/images/img_sources/2008/04/sailing_calendar.jpg
New team members
Several new team members have joined Alinghi since its successful defence of the America’s Cup in July 2007. John ‘JB’ Barnitt (USA), who was with the team during the 31st campaign and rejoined in January this year as sports director, and Alain Gautier, the French multi-hull sailor, who is consulting and coaching the team on the ORMA60 Foncia, have joined the sailing team.
Next door in the design office there are many more new faces, including America’s Cup veteran Tom Schnackenberg (NZL); Silvio Arrivabene (ITA), construction and planning manager; Daniele Costantini (ITA), load and strain measurement engineer; Andrew Mason (AUS), velocity prediction programmer andengineer consultancy services; Daniel Bernasconi (GBR), software performance and prediction engineer and Andreas Winistoerfer (SUI),rig designer and composite rigging expert (go to http://www.alinghi.com/ for team profiles).
With the addition of these new recruits, Alinghi remains a truly multinational squad, with more than 20 nationalities represented.
Alinghi’s design team coordinator, Grant Simmer, explained where the Defender stands in terms of preparations for a multi-hull Deed of Gift Match: 'This challenge is obviously very different to what most of us in the Alinghi design office are used to – bar Dirk Kramers who was involved in the 88 Stars & Stripes campaign – but we are looking at building a big beast of a boat and the loads are off the scale compared to most of the boats we've been involved with.'
He adds: 'The engineering people are both concerned and excited about what they are doing – obviously from a naval architecture point of view; this is an extremely fast and exciting boat.' With a look forward at the upcoming season, Grant said: 'We are saying that we are getting ready to do this DOG match; we are working towards the DOG match; this is who is going to be in the team with us and this is roughly our schedule to get it done.'
The team is preparing to start the build process in Switzerland.
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