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Alinghi Red Bull Racing at America's Cup Jeddah - We're in the mix

by Alinghi Red Bull Racing 2 Dec 2023 07:04 PST 29 November - 2 December 2023
Alinghi Red Bull Racing of Switzerland with Arnaud Psarofaghis, Maxime Bachelin behind the helm and Bryan Mettraux, Yves Detrey as flight controllers compete during the AC37 Preliminary Regatta in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on December 2 © Samo Vidic / Alinghi Red Bull Racing

Alinghi Red Bull Racing finished third in the overall standings on Saturday in the second America's Cup preliminary regatta in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

It marked the final day of racing for the year and the last official competition until the next pre-regatta in August. In summer 2024, the Swiss crew will be on-board the larger AC75 built to challenge for the Louis Vuitton 37th America's Cup.

Alinghi Red Bull Racing started the final day at the Preliminary Regatta knowing they needed victories in their AC40 for a chance to reach the match race final. But Italy's win in fleet race 7 to begin the afternoon put a top-two overall finish out of reach for the crew of Maxime Bachelin, Yves Detrey, Bryan Mettraux and Arnaud Psarofaghis. The Swiss team showed their fight in the final fleet race finishing second. Next up for the members of Alinghi Red Bull Racing, the focus will shift to training on the team's AC75 BoatZero together with the power group sailors, who have been on-hand here in Jeddah this week.

Pietro Sibello, performance coach: "Big picture is that we are the third team in the America's Cup at the moment. We have to acknowledge that. If we take it race by race, we didn't perform as we had hoped. We definitely need to take some learnings from this regatta. I think one of the keys is that the team never gave up. The sailors, the shore team and everybody was pushing all the way to the end. We saw that in the last race, which was a key one to finish like we did. We learned a lot about the starts, which didn't really work well for us this week. We also need to focus on communication which is super-important on this class of boats. Those are the big takeaway for us."

Arnaud Psarofaghis, skipper: "Unfortunately, we dropped from the foils in the first race and it separated us from the fleet, so it was hard to come back. We had a good second race today because we sailed the way we wanted and were fighting for the win the whole way. It was nice to make the adjustments for that second race today and then secure third place overall.

We will take a lot of this experience into next year. Every aspect of this campaign will continue to be closely looked at. The main thing we need to focus on is to be able to react quickly from one day to the other when something might not be working as it should. In the end, we are in the mix. I think we are more in the top of the fleet rather than the back of the pack. To be in the top three at the moment, we don't have to hold back from saying this."

Yves Detrey, trimmer: "From a team point of view, we are happy to show that we're absolutely in the mix - that's the biggest learning. Our strength is that we have a strong group with such dependable tech guys taking care of our boat. We had no issues at all in Jeddah, the boat performed well. We know we have the speed and can trim the boat. It's obviously different with the big boat but we know we can count on those guys.

There's a little bit of frustration, but not so much about today, more about yesterday. We finished the regatta with a good race, putting everything in place the way we should have done it earlier in the regatta.

To keep us in racing mode through August, I think we will still race the AC40s between us and have some match races. It's all subject to the program that is put together for next year. We will definitely have a strong program for 2024 to keep that race mindset."

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