Alinghi, Luna Rossa, TeamOrigin and Desafío Español race CNEV's annual regatta in Valencia

The Alinghi sailing team raced SUI100, the 32nd America’s Cup winning boat, to five wins out of six this weekend in Valencia, winning the AC class trophy of the Trofeo Desafío Español, Club Náutico Español de Vela’s annual regatta.

Four America’s Cup Class yachts raced alongside the 80-strong fleet of cruiser-racers fighting for the Trofeo Desafío Español in the light autumn conditions off Malvarossa beach that last year saw one of the greatest battles in America’s Cup history between Team New Zealand and Alinghi who won the trophy for a second time. This weekend there was less at stake, but it was no less ferocious, with ex-Alinghi helmsman Peter Holmberg at the helm of Luna Rossa, Olympic Gold medallist Ben Ainslie steering TeamOrigin and Paul Cayard at the helm of Desafío Español. After a few glitches and torn spinnakers on Friday, the Alinghi crew settled in and Murray Jones, standing in for helmsman Ed Baird, steered consistently to win the event.

Brad Butterworth, team skipper and tactician onboard praised Murray’s performance: “The competition has been very good and Murray Jones has done a great job, we have won five of the six races and have had a good time doing it. SUI100 is a very fast boat and it has been good fun to get back on the water and racing.”

Murray Jones says of his first AC regatta as helmsman: “It was fun to be out there racing, to get the boat out with the boys in the CNEV annual regatta. We sailed well and it was a matter of team work as it was my first go on the helm and it was the guys around me that helped me out the whole way around each race, they made it easy.”

This is the last event of the 2008 sailing season and Brad looks back at a busy and successful summer: “I think we have overachieved! Ed Baird did a great job with the iShares regatta with Lorenzo Mazza, Rodney Ardern, Pieter van Nieuwenhuijzen and Peter Evans; they did well to clean up on their first attempt. And Murray Jones, Yves Detrey, Nils Frei and Ernesto Bertarelli, also did a very good job winning on the D35s on Lake Geneva, which is a hot class,” he said. “Aside from that we have had monohull successes with Numbers and other boats and so all in all, we have had a great year on the water, despite the situation. Next year we look forward to possibly branching out into other classes and hopefully working on getting this new class of America’s Cup boat built and in the water.”

And to this end, the 12 entered challengers and the Defender meet again this coming week in Geneva to continue discussing the design of the new class and the 33rd America’s Cup.