Alinghi getting set for Kiel

29 July, 2015

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!

Round the Island 2015

27 June, 2015

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