Alex Carabi / America's Cup
Alinghi, nice to be back foiling
The first proper day of sailing for Alinghi Red Bull Racing saw a very early start for the shore team who launched BoatZero in the early-morning Barcelona light at 8.15am. With the forecast suggesting a shut-down of the breeze in the afternoon, the Swiss were eager to maximise their day by making the most of the morning’s zephyrs.
When the breeze did come, the team had BoatZero motoring on some decent runs where the concentration was clearly on maintaining flight and ride-height. As we have become accustomed to seeing with Alinghi Red Bull Racing, their sail programme is something to be admired with perfect, almost box-fresh North 3DL’s glistening in the Barcelona morning sun. Noticeable is the attention that the Swiss sail designers have paid to the clew area with a curved batten arrangement flowing from the clew forward and on the in-flight runs, it was working hard as the mainsheet traveller was trimmed aggressively.
Flight today was mainly low, consistent and remarkably stable with only the occasional broach eliciting a higher flight and subsequent splashdown. In the fading conditions, the team concentrated on relatively long runs along the Barcelona waterfront out towards the commercial port and despite the introduction of the self-tacking jib system, all of the tacks today were in displacement mode.
The forecast for the coming days is an improving picture and with the team eager to push BoatZero ever harder as their confidence grows, it will be interesting to see what those endless hours on the simulator combined with the exhausting gym sessions the team have taken over the last month, will produce.
Nicolas Rolaz, one of the youngest members of the team and the 2014 Optimist World Champion, spoke politely afterwards to the Recon Unit saying: “It was a very nice day, nice to be back foiling, we managed to take the most of the morning wind so we're really happy.” And asked about the break whilst the shore team fitted the new jib system, Rolaz offered: “The team kept on working on the boat but as well us in the Power Group we've been grinding in the gym getting fitter and getting ready for the season…The training plan is still very mixed, we’re doing a bit of everything, doing bag, doing upper body training, still undefined…we’re spending a lot of time on the bike because it's a good tool to get fit and we are exploring all the possibilities.”