Friday, May 08, 2009

Maiden race for Alinghi SUI6 on day one of the D35 Championship

[Source: Alinghi] The opening day of the Grand Prix Corum, first of the Challenge Julius Baer series, organised by the Société Nautique de Genève, got underway today on Lake Geneva. Conditions were not kind to the fleet progressively building to 30knots throughout the afternoon and forcing the race committee to cancel racing for the day.

Twelve Décision 35 boats, two of them Alinghi’s, met at the start line just before midday for what was quite an eventful first race of the championship: one boat capsized and there was a ‘man over board’ on Alinghi SUI1 (read on to hear from the crew member). Alinghi SUI6, in its first race ever under Alinghi colours, was sailed in “conservative mode”, as described by helmsman Ed Baird, and finished sixth, while Alinghi SUI1, last season’s champion, had a difficult start but managed to claw back from last to eighth place by the finish.

Brad Butterworth, tactician onboard Alinghi SUI6, about how the day went:

First race in this championship for you and your crew on SUI6, and you did better than SUI1, what happened there?

“Yves Detrey fell overboard at the start so this delayed their boat, SUI1. We sailed reasonably well, although we didn’t start very well. We had our ups and downs, but for the first race it was good, I certainly enjoyed it.”

How did the crew coordination go?

“The crew was good. Piet (van Nieuwenhuijzen), Lorenzo (Mazza) and Warwick (Fleury) are pretty sound and I’m just trying to do my little part and stay out of the way. I’m really looking forward to a season of this.”

The fleet is larger than last year’s; your team is new in this circuit along with two other boats. What do you think this weekend and the season are going to bring?

“I think it will be hard to beat Loïck Peyron from Okalys (SUI2) and Franck Cammas from Zen too (SUI4) who sail these boats a lot, and obviously Ernesto (Bertarelli) who won last season’s championship. They are probably the top three teams, but if we can get in the mix with them I think we stand a chance to win a few regattas, but until that time it’s going to take a while. We should also be able to catch up with Alinghi SUI1 team. Ed (Baird) sailed the X40s last year and won the event so he’s pretty hot in his own right. He had Lorenzo and Piet with him, so I think we should be able to catch up.”

Yves Detrey, bowman and mastman on Alinghi SUI1, is a veteran on this circuit. He explains what happened to his team and to him personally

First race of the series, can you talk us through what happened?

“We didn’t have a great result, the start wasn’t too good. We started from behind and were the last ones to cross the line, so we had to tack straight after the line and I fell in the water right after the tack. It must have been a wave hitting the boat so by the time I swam back and by the time we were ready to race again the fleet was almost half way through the first leg. It’s difficult to come back from that, but we finished eighth out of twelve, so it’s reasonable after what we had to do… The first race of the season seems to be the bad one, last year I dropped a gennaker in the water!”

What were the conditions like?

“It was quite windy out there; it went up to 22 knots at times, with gusts of up to 28. One boat capsized… We had a full main sail for this race, we had a reef ready for the second one and that’s when we were sent back home, as it was getting too windy and gusty.”

Any lessons learnt today for tomorrow?

“The biggest one is that with these boats you can’t make mistakes. The mistake we made today was pretty big and shouldn’t happen again but although we are ready to win it’s going to be difficult to be ahead all the time. We have good boat speed and we are confident in our crew work, so we hope that things should go back to normal tomorrow!”

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