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Alinghi Wins ACT 11 Christens SUI91

Alinghi christens SUI91

Ernesto Bertarelli’s wife and daughter officially christened SUI91, the latest addition to the Alinghi stable on Sunday 21 May. The event was a very casual family affair, with music, sundowners and a BBQ.

The Bertarelli family attended, plus Alinghi team members, family and friends, and the Mayoress of Valencia Rita Barberá, on the final day of Act 11. Ernesto, who had been racing for most of the week, was there to watch the christening of SUI91 with a bottle of Moet & Chandon, he commented on the moment:

“This is a very proud moment for me, the team has been working hard on our new boat, our first step to winning the America’s Cup again, and it is with great satisfaction that we christen her this evening.”

SUI91 is Boat 3 on Alinghi’s race card, and the first of two new boats the Defender of the 32nd America’s Cup, will launch. The boat was built at the Décision boatyard in Vevey, Switzerland and it has taken 20,000 hours to design and almost the same to build. The design team is made up of 16 people, each specialising in a particular component. Rolf Vrolijk, principal naval architect, together with Manolo Ruiz de Elvira, designed the hull and Dirk Kramers led a team of engineers.

The cross over with the sailing team has been primary, as Grant Simmer, design coordinator explains:

“SUI91 represents several years of work by the design team together with the ideas and input of the sailing team who has always been a strong component in the Alinghi design process.”

The America’s Cup Class yacht arrived in Valencia on 4 April after a 1,230km overland trip from Switzerland, and shore crew members, Michel Marie and Gary Hutchinson have been coordinating the team of boatbuilders to complete the boat.

Team skipper and tactician Brad Butterworth, sundowner in hand, gave his take on the new arrival:

“It’s the result of three years of hard work from the designers but also a huge commitment by the boatbuilders. To single one out, it would be Gary Hutchinson, who has done a fantastic job in getting the boat to where it is. I’m looking forward to going sailing on it!”

Alinghi Wins ACT 11

A commanding win by the Defender

Alinghi wins Act 11, the fleet racing, on the day that they officially christen SUI91, their new boat. Racing kicked off after a short postponement on the North course off Malvarrossa, in 8-9 knots.

Alinghi had a clean start and raced left controlling the pack as windward boat and dominating their closest rival for Act 11, Luna Rossa Challenge. The Swiss team snatched an early lead racing back into the centre of the course on a left hand shift. One tack and they were on the right hand layline to round the 1st windward mark 12 seconds ahead and lead the charge down the centre left hand side of the course.

Alinghi rounded the left hand leeward gate 31 seconds ahead, took a dig left and then came back towards the centre, to cover Luna Rossa Challenge and Mascalzone Latino Team Capitalia, and head over to the right. Alinghi rounded the 2nd windward mark 39 seconds ahead and stretched the lead off downwind taking the left, they jibed back to cover BMW ORACLE Racing and with a commanding lead, crossed the line 1 minute 27 seconds ahead of the fleet to win Act 11.

Ed Baird, helmsman for the event gives his take on the Alinghi status after Acts 10&11: “The biggest thing we have learnt in the last couple of acts is that the new boats have similar speeds in these conditions and we seem to be going at the same sort of speed. We’re pretty happy with where we sit and we’re pretty happy that the strong teams have spent one of their boats and seem to be going at the same speed as we are.”

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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