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NZ Sydney To Hobart Winner Announces New Yacht


Neville Crichton, the owner and skipper of the 2002 Rolex Sydney to Hobart winner, Alfa Romeo, has announced at the Rolex Maxi World Championships, which finished atr the weekend (12 Sept 2004) in Sardinia, that he has started building the replacement for 'Alfa Romeo', which has taken 70 line honours wins including the Australian Blue water classic.

The new, as yet unamed, yacht is being designed by Reichel Pugh, built in Sydney and will be launched in July 2005. It will compete in the usual run-up events to the 2005 Rolex Sydney to Hobart race before heading to Europe for the 2006 season.

The new yacht, which at 30 metres will be two metres longer than Alfa Romeo, will adopt the new canting keel technology and two rudders to enable it to be substantially faster than Alfa Romeo. The next generation of canting keel yachts made their debut at the Rolex Maxi World and, as Neville Crichton predicted, they were quicker than Alfa Romeo, but the New Zealand sailor the year plans to ensure his yacht is well ahead of the current breed, such as Roy Disney's Pyewacket which dominated the 2004 Maxi Worlds in the same way 'Alfa Romeo' did the 2003 event.

"Canting keel is regarded as the new frontier in sailing technology," explains Neville Crichton. "It is an essential element for all sailors who wish to compete at the highest levels, boosting performance, speed and excitement. I plan to learn the lessons of this new technology from the yachts that are competing this year and implement them all in the new yacht with the aim of building a yacht that will be as successful as Alfa Romeo, as well as being even faster."

Following the highly successful sponsorship of 'Alfa Romeo' by the Italian performance car maker, which has seen the New Zealand yacht as the centre piece of Alfa Romeo's European marketing and advertising campaigns for two years, Neville Crichton is now looking for support for the new yacht.

"With Alfa Romeo we have demonstrated beyond any doubt that maxi yachts have the ability to deliver to sponsors remarkable amounts of media coverage, to provide an exciting and interesting spectacle and one in which sponsors can use to enormous effect to support their business," says Mr Crichton. "With the new yacht we a looking to offer sponsors the ability to further build on this high quality, high level exposure in a sport that attracts more attention with every event."

But before the new yacht arrives, Alfa Romeo has two final races in Mediterranean, the Barcolana in Trieste, which is the spectacular sailing event that will gather more than 2000 yachts in competition, and the Rolex Middle Sea Race, the 603 mile blue water classic which sails from Malta, goes around Sicily and returns back to Valletta.

Alfa Romeo collected line honours in both events, but in very calm conditions that meant that a race record was out of the question.

"I am hoping for favorable winds," says Neville Crichton. "I would love to finish Alfa Romeo's racing season as she started back in 2002 with wins and race records!"


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