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The Alinghi season starts now
The Alinghi season starts now

A new boat, a new look but the same mission.

Alinghi announced the 2006 season plans at a press conference in Lenzerheide, Switzerland on Thursday 9 March. On the podium were Brad Butterworth (NZ), vice-president, skipper and tactician, Jochen Schuemann (DE), sports director and helmsman and Nils Frei (SUI), trimmer. Brad led the event with the subject on everyone’s mind; SUI91: “The dye has been cast in so much as we have made the decisions now and the first boat is being built at Decision in Vevey, so we’ll find out how she goes when we put her in the water.”

He also mentioned: “Alinghi has got a new look, so next time you see the boats they’ll look a little bit different!” The new graphics will emerge from the shed with SUI64 and SUI75 when the sailing begins on the 21 March in Valencia. The graphic re-design project has been led by Syndicate head Ernesto Bertarelli. It is a move forward from the old look, quite literally... (new images to come). Brad finished off his season preview with a look forward: “This will be the start of a full year where we intend to sail the two old boats and then bring online the new boat sometime in May. We will be doing a lot of testing and a lot of racing, the three Acts in May and June being key times for us to see how we’re doing versus the challengers.

He then handed over to Jochen to comment on an excellent week of physical training at Lenzerheide: “We’re a Swiss team, so it is good to come back to your origins and since we are all now in Valencia, working sailing and living in the sun, it is a nice contrast to have some freezing conditions!” As far as the training is concerned: “It has been a diverse week so far with skiing, cross country skiing and gym sessions based around the snow time. We have already achieved a lot in the last few days and this is also an opportunity to spend a lot more time together as a team.”

Swiss trimmer Nils Frei described Alinghi’s plans for Switzerland this year: “2006 will be a Swiss year for Alinghi, there will be a lot of events here. A big one will be the Swiss Roadshow in September, where you will see the Americas Cup Class Yacht in several big cities around the country. We will also be sailing again in Switzerland with the UBS Alinghi Swiss Tour, before wrapping up in Geneva with a large event during the second part of the year where a lot of world famous sailors will attend.”

The sailing team held a sports exhibition at the end of the press conference which consisted of a relay, with cross country skiing, archery and sledging. Alinghi will stay in Lenzerheide until Sunday when they return to Valencia to begin training on the 21 March.

Swiss Roadshow dates
EPFL, Lausanne 30-31 August
Bern 4-5 September
Zurich 8-9 September
Geneva 13-17 September

Alinghi flies the colours of the Société Nautique de Genève, Switzerland. Its partners for the 2007 campaign are UBS and BT Infonet (Main Partners), as well as Audemars Piguet, SGS, Nespresso, MSC Cruises and North Sails (Co sponsors).
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