The Swiss challenger for the America’s Cup has been putting its AC75 training boat BoatZero – bought from Emirates Team New Zealand earlier this year – through its paces in Barcelona. The learning curve is steep, but the results of the first few days of sailing have been very positive for the team.
Barcelona, 4 October 2022 – After months of preparation, and a short delay following a capsize in a storm on 31 August, the Alinghi Red Bull Racing AC75 training boat has spent the last few days sailing in Barcelona on the waters that will host the 37th America’s Cup in 2024.
Seeing BoatZero fly after months of work was an important step for the whole team and marked the starting point for the Sailing Team’s work on the water. The sailors are learning to manage and handle the AC75 with the aim of being successful by 2024. This is a key period as it allows Alinghi Red Bull Racing to train in the same conditions as those expected for the Cup races.
While the sailors are now able to fly BoatZero on its foils in a straight line, they still have a lot to learn to fully master it. This – like the supreme effort made by the Shore Team to get BoatZero sailing – will be a team effort. Getting to this point has required patience and dedication to moving forward systematically, step by step, and the emotion was palpable during the first outing – ashore, on the chase boats and onboard the AC75.
“It was a mixture of nervousness and adrenaline as we cast off,” said Arnaud Psarofaghis, a member of the Driving Group, earlier this month. “Since that first training session the team has progressed at every level.”
“We are learning to work within the dynamic of a big team,” said Pierre-Yves Jorand, co-general manager head of sports operations. “The protocol for launching and hauling out the boat at the beginning and end of each day is smoother, and we are shaping the sports operation to include the sailing.”
Although the Swiss sailors are new to the AC75, they are drawing on the experience of two Sailing Team advisors: Dean Barker, a helmsman during the last America’s Cup, and Pietro Sibello, a trimmer. Both are bringing their huge experience to bear for the Swiss challenger.
During each outing BoatZero is closely monitored by the designers, the Support Team, and the Shore Team members on board the chase boats. “It’s very interesting for the designers to see the boat fly,” said Marcelino Botin, principal designer. “Despite the data and videos collected at the end of each day, there is no substitute for what we can observe with our own eyes.”
The team will continue to sail the AC75 as much as possible in Barcelona, notching up a maximum number of hours on the water. Meanwhile, some of the sailors will fly to Scarlino in Italy this week for the final leg of the 2022 TF35 Trophy, which Alinghi Red Bull Racing has already won with one event to go.
Photo Credit: Alinghi Red Bull Racing / Olaf Pignataro