In its 23rd season of competitive sailing, Alinghi will line-up on two circuits, as well as take part in a new championship for the GC32 class. Competing against some of the world's most prestigious racing stables, Alinghi will be going for a sixth victory in the D35 Trophy, as well as aiming to repeat last year's performance and win in the Extreme Sailing Series. Ernesto Bertarelli is founder, owner and skipper of the Alinghi sailing team. He outlines Alinghi's thinking behind the upcoming 2017 season: "The Alinghi spirit was forged by our exploits and victories on Lake Geneva, long before the America's Cup. That is why our participation in the D35 Trophy was never in doubt. It's where we come from, it's in our DNA and, whatever my schedule, I make it a priority to lead Alinghi on the D35 circuit. "Our successes on the Lake are extremely important to us and, believe you me, winning the big prizes, like the D35 or the Bol d'Or, is just as tough and just as satisfying as getting on the most acclaimed international podiums. "With regards the Extreme Sailing Series, Alinghi will be defending its title in 2017. Being the defending champions, we know that we have our work cut out, because we have become the ones to beat, but also because – and this is what makes the Extreme Sailing Series so good – the standard of all of our competitors is so high. We saw some amazing performances in 2016, notably from SAP Extreme Sailing Team, Red Bull Sailing Team and Oman Air. It was always close and hard-fought racing and, given that all of the teams will continue to improve, we need to make sure that we are ready to compete. "We therefore are also looking forward to participating in the first ever GC32 Class Championship, which will take place between the 28th of February and the 5th of March in Muscat (Oman) and in which teams from both the GC32 racing tour and the Extreme Sailing Series will participate. Exciting times ahead!" Alinghi: Team spirit is at the heart of our approach Ernesto Bertarelli: "It's no great secret that the key to a successful sailing team is teamwork. We have a long history of success, which breeds know-how and a determination to win. I've sailed with some of my teammates for more than 20 years now and also we have been able to integrate some of the best young sailors of the new generation. Take Arnaud Psarofaghis, for example, one of the premier talents in sailing. He was only 14 when Alinghi won its first America's Cup in 2003. Today, we are co-helming the GC32 and sailing together on the D35 Trophy on Lake Geneva. "Alinghi just has this superb team ethic, something I've always put at the forefront of what we try to do. It is not just about the guys on the boat, but also a fantastic technical team and a coach who is second to none. It is precisely the richness and variety of experience of each member of the team that makes Alinghi stand out. Each member can share and express their own experiences and ideas with the rest of the team, and spending as much time together as we do helps us to learn from one another and allows every member to up their game. This is also where the hard work of the past years comes into play; all the hours and hours of training together on the Lake came to fruition. "Finally, I believe that one of our strengths is that we are able to question ourselves and to learn from failures, enabling us to come back stronger. I could not be more proud of our team." Keep improving to stay at the top Arnaud Psarofaghis, GC32 co-skipper & co-helm, D35 mainsail trimmer: "We fully match Ernesto's way of thinking. We believe above all in teamwork. For me, it is a great thrill to race with a team I dreamt about sailing with as a youngster growing up on the shores of Lake Geneva. It was a great moment in Sydney - winning the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series - and we worked for it, but the next hardest thing is to do it again because everyone will improve and many more people with experience will come into the fleet, so it's going to be even harder this year. "I believe that there are lots of areas where our team can still improve. In sailing, you can always gain everywhere. One particular focus for 2017 will be trying to play the percentage game a little more when a race is going against the team. That means, for example, instead of trying to go for a big play that could produce a podium finish, but also risks finishing in the cheap seats, we will, with our tactician Nicolas Charbonnier, try to go for a safer option that gives us a few points but avoids the risk of disaster. "That's easy to say before you are racing, but when you are out on the water, it is really hard to make decisions that could be the difference between beating one boat or losing out against five others. You need to take risks, but in some positions we need to be careful not to throw everything away." Composition of the team The crew will remain the same in what will be: - Their 14th year competing in the D35 Trophy (with 13 podiums, including five victories) - And their 7th year in the Extreme Sailing Series (with four podiums and three victories) Ernesto Bertarelli and Arnaud Psarofaghis will share the responsibilities as co-skipper and co-helm on the GC32, while on the D35 Ernesto will helm and Arnaud trim the mainsail. Nicolas Charbonnier, Olympic bronze medallist in the 470 class, will operate as tactician both on the D35 & the GC32. Nils Frei, who first competed onboard Alinghi in 2001, will continue his role as headsail trimmer both on the D35 & the GC32. Yves Detrey, who was part of Alinghi's 2003, 2007 and 2010 America's Cup campaigns, remains on bow both on the D35 & the GC32. Timothé Lapauw, the youngest on the team at just 20 years of age and who made his debut last season, will return as floater on the GC32. Coraline Jonet, who was in the hospitality team during the 32nd and 33rd America's Cup joined the D35 sailing team in 2008, will be floater on the D35. Supporting the onboard team will be longstanding Alinghi crewmember, Pierre-Yves Jorand, who will continue to deliver guidance as coach and team leader, alongside the expert shore crew, David Nikles, João Cabeçadas and Claudy Dewarrat. 2017 Sporting calendar D35 Trophy Grand prix d'ouverture – Société nautique de Genève: 5th – 7th May Grand prix Realstone – Club nautique de Versoix: 20th & 21 May Open de Versoix – Club nautique de Versoix: 9th & 11th of June Genève-Rolle-Genève – Yacht Club de Genève < > Rolle: 10th of June Bol d'Or Mirabaud – Société nautique de Genève < > Le Bouveret: 17th and 18th of June Open du Yacht Club – Yacht Club de Genève: 2nd and 3rd of September Grand prix Alinghi de Crans – Club nautique de Crans: 9th and 10th of September Grand prix de clôture – Société nautique de Genève: 22nd and 23rd of September Extreme Sailing Series Act 1 – Muscat, Oman: 8th – 11th of March Act 2 – Qingdao, China: 28th April – 1st May Act 3 – Madeira Islands, Portugal: 29th June – 2nd of July Act 4 – Europe (TBA): 20th – 23rd of July Act 5 – Hamburg, Germany: 10th – 13th of August Act 6 – Cardiff, UK: 25th – 28th August Act 7 – San Diego, USA: 19th – 22nd October Act 8 – Los Cabos, Mexico: 30th November – 3rd December GC32 Class Championship Muscat, Oman: 28th of February – 5th of March Check Alinghi's sporting calendar at: www.alinghi.com/calendar Alinghi's record of success 1997: 1st victory in the Bol d'Or 2000: 2nd victory in the Bol d'Or 2001: 3rd victory in the Bol d'Or (the Challenge Bol d'Or awarded for having won the race three times) 2001: World Champion of the Farr 40 2001: Winner of the America's Cup Jubilee 2002: 4th victory in the Bol d'Or 2003: Winner of the Louis Vuitton Challenger's Series for the America's Cup 2003: Winner of the 31st America's Cup 2003: 5th victory in the Bol d'Or 2004-2007: Winner of the Louis Vuitton Acts 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 13 2007: Winner of the 32nd America's Cup 2007: 1st victory in the D35 Championship 2008: 2nd victory in the D35 Championship 2008: Victory in the Trophée Clairefontaine 2008: 1st Extreme Sailing Series Championship win 2009: 3rd victory in the D35 Championship 2011: 6th victory in the Bol d'Or 2013: 4th victory in the D35 Championship 2014: 2nd victory in the Extreme Sailing Series 2014: 5th victory in the D35 Championship Since April: Top-speed record on a GC32, with 39.2 knots 2016: 3rd victory in the Extreme Sailing Series For more information, please visit: www.d35trophy.com www.extremesailingseries.com Photos credit: Loris Von Siebenthal & Lloyd Images
After yesterday’s drama, which saw Alinghi’s mast slowly descend following a collision with Red Bull, the shore team had a mammoth task on their hands to get the GC32 race-ready for Day 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series in the Madeira Islands, all the more important a task because the team were topping the leaderboard . All credit to them, because the team were able to sail and repaid their colleagues’ efforts by nailing the two races that today’s conditions allowed . Two wins meant the Act was Alinghi’s, a fantastic result. Up next is Lisbon and it’s all getting tight at the top! Next is Lisbon from the 6th to the 9th of October but before that, the team will be back on its home waters at Société Nautique de Genève for the final GP of the D35 Trophy on September 30 & October 1. See you there!
Alinghi’s third day in the Madeira Islands ended after race three. A dramatic collision with Red Bull off the start line saw the team lose their mast and forced to retire. It was symptomatic of how closely the teams were pushing each other, but thankfully nobody was hurt and Alinghi will be working all night to get the GC32 back on the water tomorrow, especially because they top the leaderboard going into the final day. The crash happened with Red Bull just that little bit too close to Alinghi as they made a fast start, their rear clipping the Swiss’s front. The impact was critical for Alinghi’s rigging and, ultimately, the mast. The Race Committee awarded Alinghi redress for the incident, meaning that they retain their lead overall. However, it’s a race against time to get the boat ready for the final day tomorrow. Arnaud Psarofaghis, explained: “During the third start we were sandwiched between Red Bull Sailing Team and Sail Portugal. Red Bull Sailing Team popped up onto their foils then came down on us, and we couldn’t really avoid them. This all happened really quickly and unfortunately they hit us and we lost the rig, but no-one was hurt and that’s the main thing. Photo Credit: Lloyd Images “We need to assess the damage and see if we will be able to sail tomorrow. It’s going to be a long night for us but we have the greatest shore crew and they will do everything they can to get us back on the water.”
Consistency was key for Alinghi on the second day in the Extreme Sailing Series in the Maderia Islands. They, and the rest of the fleet, had trouble keeping up with Red Bull, whose two victories today made it three out of five overall, propelling them up the leaderboard, where they share top spot with Alinghi. Despite not recording a win of their own, Arnaud Psarofaghis and the team can be very pleased with their performance indeed. The team finished in the top three in every race, meaning they share the overnight spoils. More of the same over the weekend will be just what’s called for.
The Extreme Sailing Series has come to the Madeira Islands for the first time, though the truly glorious setting provided everything but a breeze today. Only one race could be run before the Race Committee called time, but Alinghi can be pleased with securing a second place finish in it. It was the team’s choice to go out to sea on the beat that meant they recovered from being fourth at the mark and also at the bottom gate to finish behind Redbull, but two places above Series’ rivals Oman Air. Other than this one race, the day’s other excitement was the fleet witnessing Cunard Line’s magnificent Queen Elizabeth sail out of Marina Funchal – truly a great sight. Let’s hope for big winds tomorrow!
The last day of Act 5 in 2016’s Extreme Sailing Series delivered tension, drama and a win for Alinghi in some of the most exciting of racing that the year has seen thus far. Heading into this final day, the team had a buffer of four points over their rivals, Oman Air. But with this small, tight course and with a final race that counted for double-points, things were far from certain for the Swiss. As it turned out, it was a real nail-biting finale. Four races were sailed and Alinghi got off to a flyer, winning the first. However, Oman Air pegged the team back, winning the second and third races. That meant that the last race double-pointer would be a classic match race, as the two teams were level on points. Whoever finished ahead of the other would take the Act. Arnaud Psarofaghis and the team sailed a brilliant race, finding the breeze when it mattered to secure the points and the Act. With the victory, Alinghi have narrowed the gap between them and Oman in the overall Series leaderboard to five points. Next up, the beautiful Madeira Islands, where Alinghi will be trying to repeat what was a great four days of competition. Before then, the team will, next weekend (9th – 11th September), be doing battle in the GP Alinghi in Crans-près-Céligny on Ernesto Bertarelli's Decision 35.
Three wins on the first day in St Petersburg, two on the second day and one today, the penultimate day of racing in Russia. And yet the team's highly impressive consistency across the other six races, including two second place finished in the last two races, meant that the Swiss have leapfrogged their rivals from Oman into first place on the leaderboard, with a cushion of four points. That's exactly where they want to be ahead of the finale tomorrow and today's performance will give them a lot of confidence. Perhaps it was a pre-racing meeting with the Swiss Consul in St Petersburg that inspired the team today, but whatever the reason Alinghi took full advantage of a penalty for Oman Air in Race 17 to secure a win, with their rivals back in seventh. That result moved the team to the top of the leaderboard and it was there they stayed, even extending the gap by a further two points. So, all very much in play for tomorrow.
Matching the performance of yesterday’s opener to Act 5 in St Petersburg, in which Alinghi notched three wins, was always going to be challenging, but the team gave it a good shot, recording two victories out of the day’s seven races. Those two maximums, couple with a second place in race two meant that they retained their overnight position of second overall, albeit now behind leaders Oman Air, with SAP Extreme slipping back to third place. It might have been even better for the Swiss had they not broken their jib sheet in the final race, meaning that they had to settle for sixth, and that only after having passed the Sail Portugal team in a tight final mark rounding. With two days of racing left only five points separate Alinghi from first place and so there will be plenty of interest for the spectators on the Neva river over the weekend. Join us for live updates. Allez Alinghi!
Light wind conditions delayed racing in the last and decisive day. Only one regatta could be launched. Alinghi having to finish four places ahead of Oman to win this 4th Act. When crossing the line in 3rd position, everyone hold his breath, Oman was in the last position, four places behind. It's only in the last jibes that they managed to pass BAR to take the event a single point ahead of Alinghi. Well done team for this second place!
Today was Alinghi's Day! Starting with three wins in a row, the team seemed unstoppable! But the prohibition to use spinnakers in race 13 of this Act 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Hamburg, disrupted the team's frenetic pace of wins. In race 14, the gennakers were flying again and the team won all remaining races of the day. As a result , Alinghi is now seven points only behind the leader. Everything is still open for tomorrow and let's bet that the team will give it all! Go Alinghi! Photo Credit: Lloyd Images