Alinghi RedBull AC40, commissioned and tow tested @ Alex Carabi / America's Cup

Alinghi RedBull AC40, commissioned and tow tested @ Alex Carabi / America's Cup

Alinghi RedBull AC40, commissioned and tow tested


15/02/2023 - 17:11

Raclette, of course, and champagne were in abundance down at the Alinghi Red Bull Racing base as the whole Swiss team came together for the official christening of the first AC40 in Barcelona. Having rolled out the boat replete with its stunning new team livery at 8.30am, the Alinghi Red Bull Racing family came together to celebrate the commissioning and mark the significant milestone in the team’s journey to the 37th America’s Cup. And as anyone lucky enough to experience the Swiss team’s hospitality knows, they do it right at Alinghi Red Bull Racing.

Lourdes Millet, Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s General Counsel had the honour of smashing the bottle on the beefed-up port foil – wearing safety goggles for good measure – in front of the whole team who looked excited to see the launch not only of the one-design boat but of the next phase in their America’s Cup campaign.

The sailors were quickly into their drysuits – no champagne for them - as the superb and tireless shore team who have been working on the now two-boat programme pretty much around the clock since the AC40 was delivered, launched at the Port Vell before towing over the harbour to the World Trade Centre where the media centre will be for the America’s Cup. The sailors and technical team then went through the double-skinned mainsail launching protocol quickly followed by breaking out the J1 and J2 jibs to check and adjust settings. No actual sailing on Tuesday, the sailors came back to the base under tow and the boat returned to its custom tent that has been erected to be readied for the tow-testing on Wednesday. 

Onshore Recon Unit Notes: Alinghi Red Bull Racing rolled out their AC40 at 08:30 to officially commission the yacht. The mast was stepped, and the One Design yacht was set on display in the middle of the forecourt, with an all new Alinghi Red Bull Racing livery. The full team met at 10:00 in front of the boat and following a few words from a couple of team members, a champagne bottle was smashed on the leading edge of the foil arm. This was followed by champagne, raclette and music in the AC40 tent.

Alinghi RedBull AC40, commissioned and tow tested @ Alex Carabi / America's Cup

While the party was ongoing, the yacht was craned in and kept alongside the Chase Bravo Protector 330 (33ft). Systems tests were carried out and the yacht was prepared. Once complete, the on-water team was briefed at the dock, then communications were set up as Arnaud Psarofaghis and Nico Charbonnier changed into their drysuits. The yacht was towed 100m from the yard, where it was stabilised between both chase boats. The main was hoisted and set, a 45-minute job. After dropping the mainsail, the yacht was towed to the other side of the port, just by the World Trade Centre, where J2 and J1 were hoisted for a quick check, before towing back to base. A few more systems tests were done, and the yacht was then craned out and taken back into the tent. Plan is to tow test tomorrow.

On-Water Recon Unit Notes: Alinghi Red Bull Racing rolled out their AC40 at 09:50, delayed from 08:30 due to a software update from Emirates Team New Zealand. The plan for the day was to tow the yacht ahead of sailing the following day. The rig was not set up, which left the yacht slightly bow heavy when lifted. This was not a big issue, and after some quick deliberation, the yacht was craned in. The wing foil covers are not part of the AC40 package, there is no indication that they are for any purpose other than protection, and have been made at the base. After the shore team carried out some tests, the yacht was taken out of the port to commence tow testing.

The AC40 was towed behind the Chase Bravo, 5.5 Nautical Miles to the East-Northeast. The yacht was then kept stationery as engineers came on board for half an hour to carry out a few checks before finally tow testing back to the port. While on the tow back, the starboard arm was raised by accident as confirmed by Nico Rolaz in the interview. After an hour and a half on the water, the AC40 was back and the dock, washed and craned out.

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