Alinghi starts training in Dubai with SUI64 and SU
Alinghi starts training in Dubai with SUI64 and SUI91
Alinghi, Defender of the 32nd America’s Cup, kicked off the winter training today in Dubai. “We are here to continue developing the boats, so we’ll be doing more testing, but also to train as a race crew, so there will be more racing too” said Brad Butterworth, team skipper, at a press conference at the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC). This event marks the start of the winter training for the Swiss team as the work shifts from shore set-up to on water two boat testing and crew training. As the winter advances, “the focus will move from testing to race training,” explains Butterworth, adding a word about the choice of Dubai as a location: “The weather conditions here are the reason we have come, they almost exactly emulate the conditions in Valencia, Spain in June, which is when the America’s Cup Match will be next year.” The weather conditions coupled with the fact that the DIMC has provided good logistical support has made the re-location a smooth operation, Grant Simmer, managing director and design coordinator, comments on the support: “We have found a great host in the Dubai International Marine Club who makes us feel welcome and also has the resources and facilities needed to operate a team of the magnitude of Alinghi"
First came the 3,500 ton cargo ship carrying the contents of the Alinghi compound, which set off from Valencia on the 23 October. The route took it through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea, on into the Arabian Gulf and through the Straits of Hormuz to arrive 18 days and 4,600 nautical miles later in Jebel Ali Port of Dubai. The shore crew set up the temporary base at the Dubai International Marine Club with a boatshed, sail loft, 10 workshop containers, the two America’s Cup Class racing yachts, masts, keels, no less than 65 sails and everything else that is needed to get the boats out sailing everyday.
Next came the transportation of the team members from Europe to Dubai, which Swiss International Air Lines, latest official supplier to the team has provided. Their excellent service has already delivered approximately 60 people, half the America’s Cup team, to Dubai, including the sailing team, designers and shore crew.
The days begin early at the Alinghi camp; gym call for the sailors is at 07:00. The shore crew will prepare the racing yachts to launch for mid-day and testing will run until just before darkness falls at about 17:30. The general programme is a six-day week; five days testing and one of race training.
Alinghi will be in Dubai until late February when the team will return to Valencia to continue training for the America’s Cup Match, which will be from the 23 June-7 July.
QUOTES FROM THE PRESS CONFERENCE:
Brad Butterworth, team skipper, tactician: “Today is a great day for us. After months and months of planning and hard work from our shore crew and the Dubai International Marine Club, we are launching both boats, SUI64 and SUI91, and will be sailing in Dubai for the first time ever.”
He went on to describe the work that is forecast during Alinghi’s stay in Dubai: “Up until now, we have been developing the boats and will continue to do so, next year however the focus will be more on sailing the boats, the crew work, the pre-starts and all the things that go into racing. And we will win the America’s Cup again when and if we have the fastest boats and sail them faster than the opposition.”
Grant Simmer, managing director and design team coordinator thanked the DIMC and the Alinghi shore crew: “We are working towards winning the America’s Cup again in June next year and the way we are going to do that is to make sure we have a faster boat than our opposition and to make sure we sail better than our opposition. We have been developing these boats continuously since 2000. SUI91 is our first new boat for the next Cup. It has a major bow modification on it and this will be the first time in the water since this modification. We’ll be testing 91 against 64, the yacht that won the 31st America’s Cup in Auckland in 2003 and while we’re here, we’ll be testing the masts, the sails, keel variations and hull variations. In addition to that we are going to do a lot more racing after the Christmas break.”
“It’s an exciting time for the team and a critical period which leads us into next year. When we leave Dubai and return to Valencia, there will be a new boat to start sailing and after that there are just two weeks before LV Act 13, the last time we meet all the challengers prior to the America’s Cup.”
Saeed Hareb, Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) Managing Director and Vice Chairman of the UAE Marine Water Sports Federation: “Today is an historic moment for Dubai and for the DIMC. It is the first time that an America’s Cup racing yacht has been launched here and the Alinghi boats are the largest ever to be launched in this marina. So my thanks to Alinghi for putting their finger on the map and choosing Dubai. Previously this location has been focused on powerboat racing, but the vision of Dubai is beyond that, we want to have big names like Alinghi here using our facilities and sailing our waters.”
The story so far:
The America’s Cup:
The America’s Cup is sport’s oldest trophy, the
competition was already 45 years old when the first modern
Olympic Games were held in 1896. It’s rich heritage and
tradition, not to speak of fierce competition, stretches
back to 1851 when England’s Royal Yacht Squadron put it up
as the prize for a special race. A New York Yacht Club
syndicate built and sailed the schooner America over to
Britain for the race, thrashed the British fleet around the
Isle of Wight, and took the Cup home to New York. Later the
syndicate gave the trophy to the New York Yacht Club and it
became known as the “America’s Cup”. It wasn’t until
1983 that Australia managed to wrestle the America’s Cup
away from the United States then the Americans won it back
and defended it twice until 1995 when New Zealand won it and
took it to Auckland for the 2000 event, which they won and
the 2003 match race which they lost to the Swiss team,
Alinghi, the Defender of the 32nd America’s Cup
Alinghi, a Swiss team, raced to a staggering 5-0 victory against Team New Zealand on the 2 March 2003 in Auckland, winning the most prestigious yachting trophy of all time: the America's Cup. They guaranteed themselves a further stake in the history books with a number of firsts: the first team since the inaugural race in 1851 to return the Auld Mug to Europe, the first team to win the Cup on a first attempt and the first to do so from a land-locked country. Alinghi and the 11 challengers have been racing together in both fleet and match races during the Louis Vuitton Acts. These began with LV Act 1 in Marseille, France in 2004 then traveled to Spain, Sweden and Italy in 2005 before returning to the home of the America’s Cup in Valencia, Spain for LV Acts 10, 11 and 12 in 2006. 2007 will see the culmination of the LV Acts with number 13 in April. Then the battle really begins as the 11 challengers fight it out in match races during the Louis Vuitton Challenger Selection Series to define the Challenger that will meet Alinghi, the Defender, on the start line of the America’s Cup Match on the 23rd June. Whoever wins the match (first to win five match races) wins the America’s Cup.