Jeddah – The seven members of the Alinghi Red Bull Racing driving group along with full support team and coaches arrived in Jeddah on Tuesday to make final preparations for the second America’s Cup Preliminary Regatta. The last competition on the schedule for the next nine months begins on November 29 on the Red Sea with an opening ceremony and official practice races to get things underway out of the Jeddah Yacht Club & Marina.
“For the regatta in Jeddah, we have taken the squad of sailors who have been training on the AC40,” said Rodney Ardern, sailing team manager. “This includes three helmsmen and four trimmers. We needed all the driving group sailors to be able to train with the two AC40s, so we have everyone here ready and available.”
At the first preliminary regatta in September, the team showed its class with two runner-up finishes before a disappointing electrical issue on a one-design component led to the boat not being able to take the start in the last fleet race. Now the team is determined and looking forward to bounce back from that bitter taste of the final race in Vilanova with ideal conditions for racing currently forecast for Jeddah.
“It’s a great venue for sailing and there is a high level of excitement one week before the racing is set to begin,” said Nicolas Charbonnier, one of the three helmsmen.
“We’ve tried some settings on the boat since Vilanova and we are very much looking forward to line-up side-by-side with our competitors once again and measure ourselves against the others.”
Racing will take place each day starting at 13h30 local time (11h30 CET) with three fleet races scheduled for next Thursday and Friday. Saturday’s finale will feature two fleet races and will be followed by a winner-take-all match race between the top two teams in the standings.
Alinghi Red Bull Racing squad for the Jeddah preliminary regatta:
Helmsmen: Arnaud Psarofaghis, Maxime Bachelin, Nicolas Charbonnier
Trimmers: Bryan Mettraux, Yves Detrey, Nicolas Rolaz, Lucien Cujean
Rodney Ardern, sailing team manager: “We have set a realistic objective to be among the top three teams, having trained with two AC40s. But in the end, our main objective is to gain more experience sailing under the pressure of racing and fine-tuning communications onboard. The pre-regatta is also a good opportunity to get used to the daily routine in racing mode for the whole team and that includes everyone: the shore team, sailing crew, hospitality and our communications staff.
Nicolas Charbonnier, driving group: “It’s hot, sun cream and sunglasses are definitely mandatory here in Jeddah. It’s great that we had the opportunity to sail several days in November with two boats here, and have the team ready. It’s important to have everyone back in full race mode once again before the America’s Cup next summer.”