French Grinder Christian Karcher will not be onboard SUI 64 for the 31st America's Cup, which begins February 15 in New Zealand.
During the first week of November 2002, Christian fell during training in very heavy weather. He landed on one of the winch pedestals, which aggravated a fissure in his hip socket. At this time, the French sailor and Xavier Jolis, the Team Alinghi physiotherapist, compared the opinions of doctors in New Zealand, Switzerland and France. Christian received permission to continue his training, with the understanding that he could sustain a possible re-injury. On February 1, he injured this fragile part of his hip, and the crack broke completely, making it impossible for Christian to sail.
Far from giving up, the America's Cup veteran will continue to put his expertise to work within Team Alinghi. Anticipating the possibility of the situation, Team Alinghi was prepared : a new grinder will take Christian's place on the winch handles for the America's Cup regatta. Christian will undergo surgery upon his return to Europe.
Commenting on his injury and subsequent withdrawal from the syndicate's A-Team, Christian commented, "We anticipated this situation, so we have someone who is totally ready to take my position onboard during the America's Cup races. As I said to the entire team, we have a magic opportunity, which is to battle for the America's Cup, and we will live this moment together. "</>
Jochen Schuemann, Alinghi Sports Director added,
"This situation is an unexpected occasion, which we have managed. Christian remains with us in Auckland and continues to manage the winch team, with his talent and personality that we know well. We lose one of the most experienced people in the Cup, who has participated in most of the Louis Vuitton Cup races, but we have another grinder who is ready to occupy this post. "