The 2015 Bullitt GC32 is heading north for its third leg, with the fleet travelling to Kiel on Germany’s Baltic Coast. A sailing hotspot, the port of Kiel – or Kieler Förde – will provide a tighter course than the GC32s have been used to so far, meaning a different sort of challenge over the four days of racing, which will start tomorrow (Thursday 30th) and conclude on Sunday. In theory – though, as we all know, theory can be very different from practice – this should favour the teams that have sailed in the Extreme Sailing Series. Alinghi, of course, are one such team and Morgan Larson had this to say about racing in the heart of the city: “I think it will make it more boat-handling intensive. It will push us for sure, but that is a good thing. The people in Kiel are really enthusiastic about sailing, so I think we’ll have quite a few checking it out. You are going to have a lot of people coming down just to see us foiling.” Typically, the GC32 tour courses are in the modern ‘America’s Cup’ style, with reaching starts and finishes, and two windward-leeward laps in between. For this event – dubbed Sailing Cup Kiel– the boats will instead sail three laps, or, occasionally, courses containing longer reaching legs. There might even be a slalom course. What is certain, however, is that bringing these foiling machines to such a unique and relatively confined arena – and one that is a real hub for sailing nuts – will make for adrenaline-fuelled entertainment. Alinghi’s team for the Sailing Cup Kiel is: Morgan Larson, Nicolas Charbonnier, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey and Arnaud Psarofaghis Check back here every day to see how they get on!
Over 1,500 boats undertook this classic race around the Isle of Wight. Alinghi finished second. Last year’s race was the slowest on record. This edition was much quicker. Conditions were good, with blue skies and wind – 12 to 15 knots from the west / south-west. The GC32s set off in the second start at 7:10AM GMT, running down to the southernmost tip of the Isle of Wight as they looked to catch-up and peg back the 100ft monohull Leopard and the MOD 70 trimaran Concise 10. By the time that the competitors had reached St Catherine’s, the gap on earlier starters (and bigger boats) was close. Closed so much, in fact, that Alinghi had edged into the lead of the GC32s. However, the team’s main rival – Sultanate of Oman – had managed to sail lower and maintained their advantage as both teams raced back into the Solent, it was neck and neck. As Alinghi skipper Ernesto Bertarelli said: “We were in front a couple of miles from the line. We played the shift and came back – it was match racing! I wish we had tacked to control – we believed in the left, but the right paid off.” This allowed Sultanate of Oman home first; Alinghi less than a minute astern. “We weren’t more than a minute away from them for the whole race,” observed Paul Campbell-James. “I hope the America’s Cup is as exciting as this!” Despite narrowly missing the victory, Ernesto Bertarelli thoroughly enjoyed his third lap of the Isle of Wight. “It is a great course. I still think we should have gone between the Needles!” Finish times (elapsed time) Sultanate of Oman 11:00:31 (03:50:31) Alinghi 11:01:27 (03:51:27) Team ENGIE 11:03:47 (03:53:47) Team ARGO 11:06:06 (03:56:06) Pictures credit: Sander van der Borch/Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour
The third and final day of racing saw Alinghi move up to take third place on the podium in this, the second round of GC32 Bullitt tour. The team had a lot of fun in the Solent and learned much about their flying machine. Speaking after the racing had finished, Alinghi’s tactician Nicolas Charbonnier said: "These three days have been awesome! Today we had beautiful conditions, allowing us to get up on the foils. We laughed a lot, we had fun and, over the course of these 17 races, we have continued our relationship with this boat. “The first day went brilliantly, but we were constrained a little bit on the second by the light winds. We are going to work together to find the solution to dealing with such conditions and we’ll find the answer. Today was hard – physical, tough, wet. But that meant the action was fierce. We loved it! “Having sailed this event, for me, we’re entering a new type – a new dimension – of racing. The GC32 handles like a dinghy and then you have to add the factor of its flight. I’ve ever experienced this before and I am very happy to sail these boats. Welcome to the world of modern sailing!” The team will now head for a good meal before the Round The Island Race, starting tomorrow at 7.10GMT. We’ll be going for record! Pictures credit: Sander van der Borch/Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour
It was a tough day of sailing in the Solent on the GC32, with a lack of winds delaying the start of racing, though the blue skies above went some way to making up for it. The winds did pick up, but remained light. At the end, Alinghi lie in fourth position, just two points off Team Engie ahead of tomorrow’s final round of racing. Leading the field are the Sultanate of Oman, who had the best of the day, winning two of the day’s races and second in the rest. In second place on the leaderboard is Armin Strom. Alinghi’s starts were – apart from one of the runs – consistently excellent, nailing the timing, speed, deployment, acceleration… A combination of hitting bad air and rivals getting up on the foils first, meant that those starts were not converted into wins. The team is learning more and more about the boat and tomorrow we go again! The leaderboard after Day 2 is: Sultanate of Oman (27 points) Armin Strom Sailing Team (28 points) Team ENGIE (34 points) Alinghi (36 points) Team Argo (55 points) Highlights of Day 2 [VIDEO::http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kLru3w_pjE::news] Racing tomorrow starts a bit later around 13:00PM BST, due to the Round the Island Press conference. Pictures credit: Sander van der Borch/Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour
The second round of the GC32 Bullitt Tour got off to a great start today in Cowes, that most iconic of sailing venues. Six races were sailed, with the spoils shared pretty evenly among the five teams. That has left the leaderboard particularly tight: Alinghi are in first, but scores are really tight, only three points separate us from the fourth. It was a glorious day, with the sun shining down over the Solent. Winds were relatively light, albeit building over the course of the afternoon, but the racing was fascinating nonetheless. Race 1 went to Sultanate of Oman, who narrowly beat Alinghi to the finish line after a great duel between the two. The next race saw Alinghi have its revenge, taking first place ahead of its Omani rivals. This was Ernesto Bertarelli’s first win on the GC32 circuit and afterwards he was delighted: “It’s such great fun racing these boats, especially when we get up on the foils. As we always knew it would be, the competition is tough, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. I think you can see in the way that the wins were spread across a number of teams that this event could be anybody’s. With it being so close, there’s all to play for. Roll on tomorrow…” The remaining races went to Armin, Wave, Team Engie and Armin again, meaning that the leaderboard reads: Alinghi (14 points) Armin Strom Sailing Team (15 points) Team ENGIE (16 points) Sultanate of Oman (17 points) Team Argo (29 points) Highlight of Day 1 [VIDEO::http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzzoq81qFxQ::news] Racing starts tomorrow at 11:00AM GMT – follow it live at www.gc32racing.com Pictures credit: Sander van der Borch/Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour
“We’re really pleased to be in Cowes for round two of the GC32 circuit. In fact, we’ve been here for four days already, preparing the boat and training without any let-up, which is important as we’re still in the learning phase with this boat. Each and every hour on the water allows us to deepen our understanding of how it handles and its many idiosyncrasies!" “A main challenge will be, of course, the current here, which we’re not used to – even more so for Saturday’s Round the Island Race. However, it will only be on Saturday that we’ll go for the island record*, as this coastal race is not part of the GC32 Tour – the championship racing is taking place on the three days before (Weds-Fri)." “Looking to the weather forecast, we see that conditions are expected to be relatively mild on Wednesday and Thursday (approximately 8-12 knots), with the wind expected to strengthen on Friday (12-18 knots) and even more so on Saturday (17-25 knots)." “Once more, we’ve got a change to our traditional line-up, as Pierre-Yves Jorand has had to remain in Switzerland. However, we’re lucky to welcome Arnaud Psarofaghis on board to take the mainsail station. He’s got great experience, especially on these flying boats. He also sailed on Team Engie’s AC45 crew in the opening GC32 round in Austria, so he knows the boats. Of course, it will be a little different without Pierre-Yves on board, but it also offers a different perspective, so it is also very much a positive to have Arnaud on the team.” Alinghi’s crew in Cowes is: Ernesto Bertarelli, Skipper Arnaud Psarofaghis, Mainsail Nicolas Charbonnier, Tactician Nils Frei, Trimmer Yves Detrey, Bow *The current record for the Round the Isle of Wight is 2hrs, 52mins and 15 seconds, held by the AC45 catamaran skipped by JP Morgan BAR’s Sir Ben Ainslie
Photos credit: Guilain Grenier | Bullit GC32 Racing Tour Amid testing conditions on Lake Traunsee, the first event of the 2015 Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour came to a conclusion in Austria on Sunday 31st May with Alinghi taking third place. Following a minor back injury, Pierre-Yves Jorand had to be replaced at the mainsail on board Alinghi’s GC32, with the team welcoming, at the very last minute, Red Bull Sailing Team member and double Olympian Hans-Peter Steinacher Throughout the event, the wind had been unpredictable, with the key for the teams being to find – and then stay in – the breeze. On the fourth and final day, this was very much the case, with the race area transported to the southern end of the lake at Ebensee in an attempt to find some wind. When racing did get going it was a mixed day for Alinghi team: two wins were combined with two lower results. Having gone into the day way out in front at the top of the leaderboard it was always unlikely that Sultanate of Oman would be caught and so it proved, with Leigh McMillan’s crew winning the event. Alinghi took third place, with Spindrift second. Commenting after the racing, Alinghi’s helmsman Morgan Larson said: “It was nice to finally work on things that, perhaps, we had been struggling a bit with within the team, such as communication and where to position ourselves. Spindrift had a fantastic day and hats off to them for that, while it’s clear that Leigh and his crew are setting a new benchmark in the class. We can’t wait to come back even stronger in the Cowes Cup in a few weeks’ time.” Before Cowes, of course, is the next event in the D35 Championship with a double counting weekend including the second Versoix GP (5&7 of June) and the classic Geneve-Rolle-Geneve (6 of June). Highlights Day 1 [VIDEO::https://youtu.be/DhP3_zVUqdk::news] Day 2 [VIDEO::https://youtu.be/1ryf4srmLdk::news] Day 3 [VIDEO::https://youtu.be/ib88PpHLMwk::news] Day 4 [VIDEO::https://youtu.be/HHklNC7_udA::news]
The Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour Alinghi, created by Ernesto Bertarelli, won the America’s Cup in 2003 in Auckland under the colors of the Société Nautique de Genève. In doing so, it set a double precedent in the history of the world’s oldest sports’ trophy: A first victory at a first attempt; and the first “European” team to bring the "Auld Mug" back to the continent since the first competition in 1851. On behalf of the Société Nautique de Genève, Alinghi then organised the 2007 America’s Cup in Valencia, fondly remembered as the best ever and at which Alinghi successfully defended its title in an epic battle on the water against Emirates Team New Zealand. However, despite Alinghi’s many successes in mono hull racing (Multi One Design, Farr 40, 12mJI, Corel 45, ACC), Ernesto Bertarelli has also been more than present on the multihull stage since 1993. It should come as no surprise then, that, with the creation of a new “flying” one-design catamaran class, Alinghi jumps at the opportunity to join this “foiling adventure”. The GC32 is a 10m, one-design catamaran, able to ‘fly’ with eight knots of True Wind Speed. This carbon dragonfly has already convinced the top-class sailors from across the sport of its pace, power and ability to ratchet up the excitement levels. Ernesto Bertarelli comments: “I have been enormously privileged to sail with some of my crew for more than 20 years. During the course of our adventures, our passion for the sport and for cutting-edge technology has been undimmed. It is therefore only natural that we would be eager to be involved with this evolution of our sport. Sailing in three dimensions will of course be a new challenge for all of us, but it is an exciting one and the opportunity to learn and then master a new type of boat is one that we couldn’t miss. The GC32, as with the D35 and the X40, is a strict one-design class. That’s very important to me, because it means that the racing is not about the equipment we use, but about how the crew works together on the water. It is true competition.” The Alinghi 2015 GC32 crew will be: Ernesto Bertarelli (Helm), sharing the duties with Morgan Larson, who led Alinghi to the victory of the Extreme Sailing Series in 2014, Nicolas Charbonnier (Tactician), Pierre-Yves Jorand (Mainsail), Nils Frei (Trim) & Yves Detrey (Bow). The same crew will compete on the Decision 35 circuit, albeit with the addition of Coraline Jonet (Trim) who will bring her many talents to the team of six that sail the D35. New Partnerships Announced Just before the team takes off for this new competition, Alinghi is delighted to announce an Official Air Carrier partnership with SWISS airlines. After all, what better source of inspiration for the team that is learning how to fly on the water in all four corners of Europe? Lorenzo Stoll, Head of Western Switzerland for SWISS comments: “This partnership was an obvious one for us and we are delighted to team-up with Alinghi. So many parallels can be drawn between sailing – particularly foil sailing – and aviation. Dedication to giving our best performance, the precision we demand of ourselves and a competitive a passion to be the best are all values that unite Alinghi and SWISS”. While the team will be flying through the air, its brand new GC32 will hit the road in the expert hands of PLANZER, who Alinghi is thrilled to announce as Official Logistic Transport Supplier for 2015. Nils Planzer, CEO of PLANZER, said: “It is our great opportunity and honour for PLANZER to put our expertise at the disposal of such an emblematic team as Alinghi. Having already partnered with the team during the America’s Cup campaigns, it is with a very real sense of pride that we announce this new partnership that will see us work together across Europe this season”. The GC32s are pushing the boundaries in sailing and so it is with great pleasure that Alinghi can also announce a new sponsor in HYT Watches, a Swiss company that is breaking new ground with its innovative, stylish and beautiful creations. According to Patrick Berdoz, HYT’s Chairman, “First and foremost, this partnership is a fantastic union of two high-tech universes and two leading teams. Alinghi challenges the elements and flies over the water, while HYT challenges the traditional watch making industry and masters the measurement of time through the use of fluid. We are very proud to associate ourselves with the next chapter of Alighni’s journey and to be aligned with this epic team”. Alinghi can also count on another important partner in MarinePool, who have created an Alinghi 2015 collection, available soon. Robert Stark, CEO of MarinePool, commented: “Alinghi and Marinepool have been working together for a number of years. When we heard about this exciting new project we were eager to work with the team and to associate ourselves with one of the most prestigious brands in the history of sailing. We are all very excited for the coming season”. Last, but in no means least, Alinghi is extremely proud to be able to continue to count on the support of its loyal partner, the Manotel Hotel Group, preferred sanctuary of the Alinghi team when in Geneva – and this since 2001. As Paul Muller, General Manager of the Manotel Group, said: “On a boat, as with the hotel industry, teamwork is of the outmost importance. Alinghi, as well as Manotel, perfectly represents the perpetual quest for quality that makes our teams what they are – leaders in their respective fields. It is therefore a great pleasure for us that we can continue to welcome the Alinghi crew to our six Geneva hotels and to associate ourselves with the team in the city and on the waters around the world.”