Alinghi has two fully equipped boats in operation. American sailor Ed BAIRD, one of the best match racers in the world who is also currently the number one ISAF Ranked match racer, has joined Peter HOLMBERG and Jochen SCHUEMANN as helmsmen.
Brad BUTTERWORTH, Vice-President of Alinghi, and Jochen SCHUEMANN, Sports Director, have been responsible for selecting new sailing team members: 'Since Alinghi has already qualified for the final phase, we will not benefit from competition with the challengers'. Thus the need for two very strong teams.
'With two world class boats and crews, both capable of winning the America's Cup, we will be able to compete internally at the highest level.' This has become even more important as Ernesto BERTARELLI, Chairman of the Syndicate, has relaxed many of the competitive advantages of the Defender to allow the America's Cup to evolve into a much more popular and accessible event.
First team to fully relocate to Valencia
Team Alinghi is currently relocating to Valencia and aims to set sail by 4 April. April is a key-month, the first for excellent sailing conditions in the area, so this will allow competitive training in similar conditions that Alinghi will encounter during the competition.
The logistics of moving almost 100 Team members and their families, approximately 350 people, is a big challenge for the Team. Patrick MAGYAR, Managing Director of Team Alinghi, explains why: 'We have to take into account that our Team includes 17 different nationalities, and less than 10 percent of them speak Spanish. We don't just need houses, we also need kindergartens and schools, logistical support on things like insurance, health care, and of course we want the team to feel at home.'
Testing, testing and testing again to have the best possible boat
Grant SIMMER, managing Director responsible for the design and construction of the boats, is aware that the rules for the 32nd America's Cup do not allow for huge differences in boat design between the different teams. 'All teams will have very good boats. During the last campaign, we had two years to build two boats and a team. For this campaign, we already have a team and two very good boats that we can further improve. We will start building our two new competition boats as late as possible to have the first one ready in 2006 and the second one in 2007. We need to do a lot more research, development and testing in Valencian waters to be sure how our changes perform. So this means testing, testing and testing again until we are very sure of what we wish to do.'
Home for the team, but also for partners and friends
Team Alinghi will move into a provisional Base until October of this year, when the new Base will be completed and the Team able to move into its final home. The new Alinghi Base will include an Alinghi Interactive area in which fans from around the world will be able to learn more about America's Cup sailing and Team Alinghi. Furthermore, Alinghi will offer its Friends, the Alinghi fan club, unique opportunities to access the Team's base through the Alinghi Club. Part of the facilities will also host the Alinghi Academy, offering a number of programs that will range from management seminars to coaching team interaction and physical workout possibilities. Alinghi will also offer unique opportunities to follow the team during their training sessions.
Not forgetting Switzerland
'In all this, Alinghi is by no means forgetting Switzerland', promises Patrick MAGYAR. 'Throughout our relocation we will represent Switzerland in Spain, maintaining many activities in our country. In order to keep in touch with our fans we created Alinghi Friends, offering many benefits such as news updates, invitations and special merchandise. Once settled in Spain we will add interactive opportunities like Chats and Forums. Many members of our team will regularly return to Switzerland to participate in public activities'. The most current opportunity is the UBS Alinghi Swiss Tour, a new Sailing Championship crowning the Swiss National Champion 2005, with the final match race taking place at the Alinghi Base in Valencia in November 2005.