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

Alinghi 1st after day 1 in Cowes

24 June, 2015

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::] Racing starts tomorrow at 11:00AM GMT – follow it live at Pictures credit: Sander van der Borch/Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour

Yves Detrey before the beginning of the Cowes Cup tomorrow

23 June, 2015

“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

Alinghi 3rd in Austria

1 June, 2015

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::] Day 2 [VIDEO::] Day 3 [VIDEO::] Day 4 [VIDEO::]