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Alinghi's America's Cup Defender reported to be 'spider-like'

by Richard Gladwell on 3 Jul 2009
Le Black the 41fter is believed to be a strong influence on the 90ft LWL yacht being built for Alinghi Copyright / Alinghi

Sail-World has been advised by normally reliable and knowledgeable persons who have seen Alinghi's new America's Cup Defender, and who have been briefed to a degree by Alinghi personnel.

They report that the the new Alinghi multihull is, as expected a scaled up 'LeBlack' concept catamaran. ('LeBlack' being a 41ft multihull owned by Ernesto Bertarelli).

The most surprising features of the catamaran are that she carries a motor and powered winches – reducing the numbers of grinders required to be carried. Our observers could see no evidence of waterballast, as has been widely rumoured, but could not rule that design option out.

If water ballast is carried, an engine would probably be the only way of quickly pumping water ballast although it should be noted that ISAF Racing Rule 51 expressly prohibits this action saying 'Water .... shall not be moved for the purpose of changing trim or stability.'

Alinghi is also believed to two interchangeable rigs – one a soft sail carried behind a rotating wing mast and a hard wing mast of the type normally seen on C-class catamarans.

Overall, the new Alinghi is quite different from the trimaran BOR90, trialled by BMW Oracle Racing, with the catamaran being much lighter and fragile then the trimaran favoured by BMWOR, with her fine hulls and wide beam (believed to by up to 90ft) giving a spider like appearance. Duncan MacLane (USA) one of the designers and skipper of the US Little America's Cup winner in 1996, is a designer with Alinghi, for the development and trialling of their catamaran.

Although Alinghi is long, it is not believed to be more than 90ft LWL and has a single mast – in other words the maxium length allowed under the Deed of Gift for a single masted yacht.

Although no public announcement has been made by Alinghi, they are expected to take down the temporary shed this weekend and will show the boat for the first time.

The smart money is on Team Alinghi launching their Defender by helicopter next Wednesday 8 July.

According to observers, the fine platform looks extremely light and fragile - reinforced with wire/cables which carry significant loads – carefully tuned to keep the structure correctly aligned under stress and rig loads.

There is no further advice on the venue which must be announced within the next four weeks, the options believed to be narrowed to Valencia, as ordered by the New York Supreme Court, or Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, which is a northern hemisphere venue and therefore only able to be selected by mutual consent in accordance with the Supreme Court decision, confirmed on Appeal.

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