Alinghi and the Bol d’Or - a long-lasting story

12 June, 2014

Ernesto Bertarelli participated in his first Bol d’Or in the very early 90s on board an X-119 mono-hull. Fascinated and passionate about speed and technology, he quickly moved to what was then revolutionary, the multi-hull. It was in 1994 that he secured his first podium place at the Bol d’Or with Alinghi (ex-Poseidon), with an upside-down finish having capsized a few meters away from the finish line… in third position. 1995 saw him compete on what was the first Alinghi-conceived multihull (by Melvin and Morelli), built at the Décision boat yard. A yellow trimaran with some Fiat painting especially chosen for its brightness and capacity to reflect the sun. It certainly worked because, in 1997, the team secured its maiden victory in the historic race. In 2000, Alinghi 41 “The Black” was launched. It was a mighty Catamaran, designed by Seb Schmid and Jo Richards. Alinghi won the Bol d’Or with her, four years in a row between 2000 and 2003, getting the right to keep the Bol d’Or forever in 2001, having won it three times in a five years period. No other boat has ever won the Bol d’Or four times in a row, before and since. But sport without competition is not really sport, so Bertarelli decided to withdraw “the Black” from the competition after the 2003 Victory to allow the development of a new one design class, the Décision 35, of which Alinghi D35 was N° SUI-1. Since then, Alinghi D35 has taken part in all of the subsequent Bol d’Or.  And this year will be the team’s 11th participation on this same boat. The team had to wait until 2011 for their sixth victory, which they secured after an epic fight against Michel Desjoyeaux on Foncia, setting a new class record in 6h25’50’’. This year will be Ernesto Betarelli’s 22nd participation in this mythic regatta on Lake Geneva, out of which he has sailed 20 on a multihull…The only Bol d’Or that he has missed since his first race in 1994 was the 2007 edition when, of course, his attentions were focused on another regatta, just off the shores of Valencia… May the wind be with us on Saturday and may the best team win the 76th Bol d’Or Mirabaud!

OPEN OF CRANS, Act 2 of Vulcain Trophy – 5th place for Alinghi in the absence of Ernesto Bertarelli

26 May, 2014

With 6 races sailed on the first day of the week end, Alinghi’s D35, helmed for the occasion by Luc Dubois in the absence of Ernesto Bertarelli, was in 5th place but within touching distance of a  fight for the podium on Saturday night. But the wind decided not to show up on Sunday, which forced the Race committee to cancel racing for the day. Great job by the two young teams of the circuit, Tilt and Realteam who were in first and second places respectively– proof that their hard work during the first month of the year is paying off and that the level has definitely increased on the D35 circuit. Congratulations to LadyCat powered by Spindrift racing who took third place of this Second Act of the Vulcain Trophy, with which – at this stage of the season – they also take first place overall. We can bet that the competition will be fierce on  the first week end of June (7th), at the occasion of the classic Geneva-Rolle-Geneva Race and that every team will use all their tactical tricks to try to win the prologue of the Bol d’Or. A busy week-end ahead for the Teams as they will be racing the first Grand Prix de Versoix on June 8-9, making this pre-Bol d’Or weekend count for double. Ranking of the Open de Crans Tilt Realstone sailing Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing Zen Too Alinghi Mobimo Veltigroup Oryx Okalys Racing Django Ylliam - Comptoir immobilier Provisional Overall ranking of the Vulcain Trophy Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing Tilt Alinghi Realstone sailing Mobimo Zen Too Veltigroup Okalys Oryx Racing Django Ylliam – Comptoir immobilier

Alinghi win in Qingdao

7 May, 2014

Alinghi emerged victorious from Act 3 of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series in Qingdao despite being victim of one of the biggest and most spectacular crashes in the Series’ eight-year history. The team had led the Act since race one and it was this relentless consistency – combined with a redress awarded by the international jury following the collision – that ultimately saw them secure the victory and move two points clear at the top of the Series leaderboard. Throughout the Act conditions had varied wildly, with light winds on the first day giving way to gusts of up to 32 knots on the second as the fleet moved into stadium racing mode. Speaking about Alinghi’s ability to master these variable and trying winds, acting skipper Morgan Larson said: “At times the boat that would come off the line last would go on to win races. That goes to show that today there was opportunity, whereas yesterday you needed to have a good start and the positioning needed to stay the same – with the shifty winds today it really created opportunity. Most of the time you have to be aggressive on these boats to do well, if you back off and be conservative that’s when trouble seems to happen. So balancing that today was really key and I think we did a good job – we positioned ourselves conservatively but we sailed the boat physically hard, and I think the results show.” The results did indeed show and Alinghi went into the final day looking to maintain their lead of ten points over the fleet. Ultimately they did so – finishing by the same margin ahead of fellow Swiss team Realstone – but that was perhaps not the main talking point of the day. In one of the final races of the day the unlucky Red Bull Sailing Team were caught by a huge gust that propelled them into Alinghi’s side in one of the biggest incidents of its kind in the history of the Series. As Morgan Larson explained afterwards: “We were lining up at the start, and approaching the line with ten seconds to go and most of the fleet was on port. Red Bull ducked behind us, the winds were shifty and up and down, there was too much of a puff and they couldn’t get the bear away and T-boned us – it happens. It’s great to have won, we had such a great regatta that it was bittersweet to end that way, but I think we earned it so it feels good. We’re just glad that no one was hurt and that the boat is repairable – it will take a week in a good boat yard, but it will be back and ready to race.” Even though Alinghi’s crew had to watch the final races from the dock, the team took the Act victory after a redress awarded by the international jury. So now, with the fleet looking towards Act 4 in Saint Petersburg, Alinghi have stolen a march on their rivals and, with the Series reaching the halfway stage, will be looking to cement their lead. Land Rover Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 3 Qingdao, for the ‘Double Star Mingren’ Cup standings after Day 4, 32 races: Position / Team / Points 1st Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 178 points. 2nd Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Denis Girardet, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wassem 168 points. 3rd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Peter Burling, Glenn Ashby, Blair Tuke, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 160 points. 4th The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 159 points. 5th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Paul Campbell-James, Alister Richardson, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 140 points. 6th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Tom Johnson, Kyle Langford, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 133 points. 7th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Pippa Wilson, Matt Cornwell 129 points. 8th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Sophie de Turckheim, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 128 points. 9th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Nick Blackman, Stewart Dodson 126 points. 10th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Peter Wibroe, Nicolai Sehested 125 points. 11th Team Extreme Qingdao (CHN) Mitch Booth, Zhang Yiran, Liu Xue, Nick Moloney, Freddie White 111 points. 12th GAC Pindar (AUS) David Gilmour, Troy Tindill, Ed Smyth, Sam Newton, Alexandra South 98 points. Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 overall standings: Position / Team / Points 1st Alinghi (SUI) 28 points 2nd The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 26 points 3rd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 24 points 4th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) 22 points 5th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 15 points 6th Groupama sailing team (FRA) 12 points 7th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 11 points 8th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) 10 points 9th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 9 points 10th Oman Air (OMA) 8 points 11th GAC Pindar (AUS) 3 points