America's Cup champion, Alinghi, to compete on 2009 World Match Racing Tour
[Source: Alinghi] Alinghi, Defender of the 33rd America's Cup, has entered the 2009 World Match Racing Tour as part of the team's preparations for the next America's Cup. Brad Butterworth, Alinghi team skipper, comments: “These are the sort of regattas we enjoy doing; with multi-national teams and we are really looking forward to measuring ourselves against some of the best match racers in the world, particularly as some of them are entered challengers for the 33rd America's Cup."
Ed Baird (USA), helmsman, will lead the four-man Alinghi crew of Pieter van Nieuwenhuijzen (NED), Lorenzo Mazza (ITA) and Warwick Fleury (NZL) at up to 10 match racing events around the world, starting with the Marseille International Match Race on 10 March and culminating with the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia in December. "The World Match Racing Tour puts a premium on teamwork and mastering ever-changing conditions. We'll get a lot of different opportunities to race all the top match racers, which will ultimately be great for our Cup preparations," said three-time Match Racing World Champion, Ed Baird, adding: "I haven't been a regular on the Tour since 2005, but it will be great to get back into the action and to remind myself and the team what it takes to win short, tough races against all the top guys."
The team has just returned from the LV Pacific Series in Auckland, New Zealand and – while the future of the 33rd America's Cup remains in the hands of the New York Court of Appeals judges, who have yet to decide whether to uphold the Appellate Division's ruling, allowing a conventional multi-challenge America's Cup among 19 teams starting in July 2009 and culminating with the Match in 2010, or whether to grant BMW Oracle Racing their one-on-one Deed of Gift Match – Alinghi looks to the future and to honing its match racing skills: "Getting back on the Tour will keep us up to date with the latest thinking on rules, tactics and strategies,” said Ed Baird. “We'll also have the chance to keep communicating with the race teams from the many syndicates that are part of the next America's Cup,” he concluded.