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 2nd in the Bol d'Or 2015

14 June, 2015

With Alinghi chasing their seventh victory in this classic race, the 77th edition of the Bol d’Or began in winds that – generously – could be described as light and finished, some 12 hours later, in near-storm conditions. The way that the weather fluctuated mirrored the racing itself, which was full of drama and suspense. It was Team Tilt who crossed the finish line on Lake Geneva in first place, with Alinghi a matter of mere metres and seconds behind them – ultimately unable to reel them back in, but having done an amazing job to be in with a shout at all, doggedly pegging back rival after rival to clamber up the leaderboard and claim second spot on the podium. And it was very close! Ladycat, powered by Spindrift racing, finished in third place and at one stage – indeed for the first half of the race – looked like they might claim victory, having led the fleet almost all the way up to Le Bouveret. All of the teams deserve a huge amount of credit for having done battle with testing and highly variable conditions. The light wind that had characterised the first half of the race gave way tono wind once Alinghi passed the half-way mark in Le Bouveret. That presented one type of challenge, but another entirely was to greet the team when, between Evian and Yvoire, thunderstorms hit, with huge gusts of wind testing the team’s sail handling to the max.  That Alinghi did get so close to victory is perhaps even more impressive given that their bowman – Yves Detrey – had to miss the race at the last minute, as he was confined to his bed by a nasty virus. Andrew Graham stepped up to replace Yves and did a fantastic job to help see Alinghi home. The rest of the crew were: Ernesto Bertarelli (Helm), Pierre-Yves Jorand (Mainsail), Nicolas Charbonnier (Tactician), Coraline Jonet (Trim) and Nils Frei (Trim). Many congratulations to Team Tilt on their impressive victory and to the entire fleet for such an enthralling race! Next year we will go again as we seek that seventh title...