Friday, August 07, 2009

Alinghi 5 airlifted to Genoa

[Source: Alinghi] Hundreds of people came to bid farewell to Alinghi 5 as it was lifted off Lake Geneva by the giant Russian Mil Mi26 helicopter at 09:15 this morning, destination Genoa, Italy, for the next chapter of the Alinghi training programme towards the 33rd America's Cup.

The mast and boat were flown the 270 kilometres down the Rhone Valley and across the Great Saint Bernard Pass into Italy; where the Mil Mi26 helicopter set Alinghi 5 down to refuel in Biella, before continuing on to Genoa where it landed at 14:30 outside the Yacht Club Italiano.

The Swiss team has completed several weeks of successful trials on its home waters and will continue training in Genoa for a period starting mid-August before travelling to Ras al-Khaimah, the America's Cup Match Venue in the United Arab Emirates.

Alinghi 5 flies over the Alps. Italy, 7 August 2009. Photo copyright Carlo Borlenghi / Alinghi

“Our stay in Switzerland has been fantastic; the support of the people has been tremendous and we have had a very good initial trial period on the Lake,” said team skipper, Brad Butterworth. “In Genoa – with a bit more sea room – we will be able to stretch Alinghi 5's legs and sail it for many hours in one direction to try and optimise the boat for the old Deed of Gift race courses, which are 20miles up and 20miles back.”

Looking ahead to the team's stay in Italy, Grant Simmer, design team coordinator, added: “The Italian public has always been incredibly passionate about the America's Cup and it's opportune for us to go to Genoa as it's the closest port to Villeneuve, Switzerland, where our base is. The support of the local people in Genoa has been fantastic already, particularly at the Amico boat yard and the Yacht Club Italiano. We are also very appreciative of the support from the Italian air control authorities, ENAC, which have allowed us to fly the mast and the boat over Italy to the northern port.”

Alinghi 5 approaching her final destination. Genoa, 7 August 2009. Photo copyright Carlo Borlenghi / Alinghi

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