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Alinghi Red Bull Racing is preparing for the challenge

Continues in Barcelona the training of Alinghi Red Bull Racing, the team of the fourth participation, even if this time together with Red Bull (the watchmaker Tudor is the main partner, ed), by Ernesto Bertarelli. (Here all our posts about Alinghi)

Alinghi Red Bull

Alinghi Red Bull Racing: first training sessions

The first member of the next America’s Cup to settle in the city that will host the 37th America’s Cup, the team is engaged in continuous training sessions aboard the former Te Aihè, the Boat-1 as well as the first AC75 launched in 2019 by Team New Zealand at the 2020-2021 Cup. Arrived ready to sail as explained by Silvio Arrivabene, Co-General Manager and head of Technical Operations (who in the last Cup was with American Magic but first with Alinghi at the 2010 edition, ed), BoatZero, this is her official name with which she is launched on 8 August, it is the source of information that will be used by the design team led by Marcelino Botin and which can take advantage of the precious collaboration of Red Bull Advanced Technologies. Born for the Formula 1 team, Red Bull Advanced Technologies applies the same technologies and research methods also in the other sectors where Red Bull is involved. And therefore also in the new Swiss challenge to the Auld Mug.

A challenge that of Alinghi Red Bull Racing started with a thrill when on 31 August, during the return to the port without sails and towing by an assistance boat, BoatZero was hit by a lump of wind and rain that had made it rest on one side. Nothing broken but the demonstration of how much the AC75s are at the limit in those buoyancy conditions. Re-trimmed and landed BoatZero had soon resumed training that goes hand in hand with those of the sailing team with the helmsman Arnaud Psarofaghis, many young Swiss sailors and the presence in the role of sailing advisor to bring your experience on AC75 of Pietro Sibello, former Luna Rossa mainsail trimmer in Auckland 2021. 

Alinghi Red Bull

An intensive preparation programme 

For the sailing team, in addition to the sea trail, an intense program of preparation not only athletic but also safety with tests in the swimming pool of the Club Natació Barcelona to be ready in the rescue of a partner in trouble in the event of an capsize.

If the sailing team’s day is full, just as full is that of the team working on BoatZero, protected by a rigid safety system. A white line at the entrance to the shed where BoatZero is located is in fact the limit beyond which the visitor cannot go and “browse” even if, as Silvio Arrivabene explains, “The regulation is very clear on the possible interventions we can do on BoatZero. You cannot touch the hull, appendages, mast and sails. You can do interventions on the deck and on the adjustment systems. All things certainly useful but that do not affect the setting of the boat. Surely the AC75s have had an evolution and from what can be seen, even in the prototypes that have gone into the water and from the AC40s, the trend is that shown by the second New Zealand boat. 

Alinghi Red Bull
Silvio Arrivabene

Alinghi Red Bull Racing: a new race course

But it must be considered that we will race in Barcelona, a very different race course from that of Auckland. I think we could see see new hull shapes. The problem, as always in the America’s Cup, is the lack of time. If we think that we only have two years and that there is also to create a base and settler a team in a new country, there is very little time. 

For this reason, even if having the opportunity of the collaboration with Red Bull to develop our chase boat with hydrogen propulsion, we have chosen to buy the one developed by Team New Zealand and built by McConaghy Boats. When will the new boat be born? Of course it will be born next spring. But it will have to be put together development, the timing of the design team, the experience acquired at sea and those of construction must be agreed. In short, the problem is which aspect to dare to be more important and when to say the fateful: now we are building”.

Alinghi Red Bull

The fight against time

And the theme of time is also in the reflection of Marcelino Botin, the Spanish designer also a former of American Magic. “The other teams are a campaign ahead of us and we don’t have the experience on the AC75 that they have. But we have a very motivated team. So it is a great responsibility to lead the design team of a challenger like this. It is also a very stimulating job because we have the support of Red Bull Advanced Technologies. With them at the beginning of the campaign we identified the areas in which they could help us and the collaboration is constantly improving in new projects because there are many elements that go into the design of a boat like this. Our world has changed a lot. Once upon a time the designers were far fewer than the sailors. Now the relationship has changed and the design team is very large. We have many young people and there is a very positive atmosphere. Even I deal with hydro and aerodynamics on a daily basis, my role is to keep an eye on the whole project. We are in a crucial moment because we are collecting every possible data from BoatZero. Not only from the simulations, from the data that come from the boat and from the designers who also follow the sea trials, but also from the sailing team with whom we have a constant relationship. Their feedback is very important. And then the AC75s are really exciting”.

There remains the question of when to start the construction of the new boat; question to which the AC40 can help to give the answer. The AC40 arrive by the end of the year or the beginning of 2023 and which will be used as a training boat (teams can only build one AC75) but also for the America’s Cup Women and for AC Youth.

Alinghi Red Bull
Marcelino Botin

Alinghi Red Bull Racing immediately in Barcelona

The decision of Alinghi Red Bul Racing to go straight to Barcelona while Ineos Britannia chose to carry out his preparation in the Balearics, American Magic in Florida, in Pensacola, and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team in its Cagliari base, was dictated, besides that from technical issues, to give the possibility to those who have families to solve the problems of the insertions, especially the scholastic ones for the next two years. Problems that are added to those of a city that, unlike Valencia, did not provide a single space for the teams, who thus had to choose between different possible locations. Alinghi, temporarily housed in a shed at the head of the Molo di Levante, has chosen to build its own next to the Aquarium, a stone’s throw from Plaza de Colon and the Ramblas. It will have the US team base alongside and both will be further away than Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand from the port exit. In short, it will take longer to reach the race course whose exact positioning, as well as the final calendar of the Challenger Selection Series races and that of the final race, of the Match, will be announced on November 30th. Stay tuned!

Emilio Martinelli

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