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5 May 2005, 04:34 pm
93 Teams Prepare
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UBS Alinghi Swiss Tour 2005
Zurich, Switzerland

The UBS Alinghi Swiss Tour has sparked massive interest, with 93 teams signing up for the five ISAF Grade 4 qualifying match races that will make them 2005 Swiss Match Racing Champion.
Faced with this overwhelming demand, the Tour had to close entries at 42 inscriptions, which include Olympic medallists, youth sailors from Swiss Sailing, as well as a good number of match racing pros.

The first event is in Zurich, Switzerland from 14-16 May, then four other events in Switzerland follow in Thoune, Lugano, Romanshorn and Geneva, with the ISAF Grade 3 final in Valencia, Spain in November.

The 42 teams will race in Streamlines - a modern three-crew boat which is very quick in light airs. The five winners of the qualifying events will fight for the title of Swiss Match Racing Champion 2005 in Valencia, in November. On top of this, the best teams from the Zurich regatta will be able to participate in the ISAF Grade 1 International Match Race in St. Moritz.

Alinghi will be represented in Zurich by Jordi CALAFAT (ESP), Nils FREI (SUI) and Matt MITCHELL (NZL). CALAFAT was Olympic Champion in Barcelona in 1992 in the 470, and is one of Alinghi's strategists. He is delighted to be racing in Zurich, 'I have no experience racing Streamlines,' he explains. 'And I haven't raced with Nils and Matt on these boats before, also I know nothing about the conditions on the Lake in Zurich - so it's going to be very interesting.'

He is however in good company: Zurich is FREI's home waters and he has sailed against most of the competitors signed up to race. He comments, 'Streamlines are new to us, so it will be a challenge and hopefully lots of fun.' MITCHELL agrees with him, 'I am looking forward to my first Streamline experience.'

The Alinghi results will not be taken into account in the final results of the Swiss Championship, but there are several teams for them to watch out for; Team Erni and Team Rast are both strong contenders. Lukas ERNI (SUI) and Simon BRÜEGGER (SUI) sailed 470s at the Olympics in Sydney in 2000 and again in Athens in 2004 and are joined by Ernst KNUCHEL. Chris RAST (SUI) is also an Olympic sailor with experience in the 470s in Atlanta and in the 49ers in Athens. He will race the UBS Alinghi Swiss Tour with Alain STETTLER and Wolf DIETZ (GER).

Team Alinghi (As Amended By ISAF).
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