Team Alinghi's new ACC boat SUI91 is under construction in Switzerland 21/2/06

Alinghi’s new boat, SUI91, is under construction at Décision Boatyard in Vevey, Switzerland, under the critical eyes of yard director Bertrand Cardis, chief designer Rolf Vrolijk, chief engineer Dirk Kramers, boatbuilding manager Michel Marie and head of design Grant Simmer.

The relationship is a strong one, this being the yard that built both SUI64, the 2003 America’s Cup winning boat, and SUI75, the ACC 2005 Championship winner. Bertrand Cardis comments on the alliance: “Historically, we have been involved with Alinghi since the first day of the creation of the team in June 2000. We have had a very successful collaboration since then!”

Twenty five boatbuilders are involved in the new boat, from both the Décision and the Alinghi camps and the aim is to have the boat finished by May.

The crew will then complete structural checks and start training on the boat. Grant Simmer comments on progress: “The construction of our first new boat for the defence of the America’s Cup is progressing on schedule. Luckily we enjoy a very productive relationship with Bertrand Cardis’ team at Décision and we benefit from the collaboration and experience both within Alinghi and at Décision. Michel Marie is in Vevey regularly while our head boatbuilder Gary Hutchinson and several other Alinghi boatbuilders are working full time to complete the boat.”

Meanwhile, at the base in Valencia, the sailing team is reassembling in the gym and on the water match racing the Beneteau 7.5s. Helmsman Ed Baird comments: “For many of the team it has been a while since they have been racing, so this is a good opportunity to get two of the little boats out and to put different people in different jobs on board. It is good practice and good for the energy of the team to get on the water and racing again. When the big boats are ready we’ll spend a lot of time testing and although testing is important it’s not thrilling for the guys. They like racing, so that’s what we are doing.”

Next stop will be Lenzerheide in Switzerland from 4-11 March for the winter physical training camp, a week’s intensive training before getting back to base to start two-boat testing at the end of March.