Photo courtesy of Carlo Borlenghi – Alinghi
So here she is – the defender for the 33rd Americas Cup – to be held just off the coast of the United Arab Emirates at Ras Al Khaimah in February of next year – Alinghi 5. Team president, Ernesto Bertarelli, who is Italian by birth and moved to Switzerland in 1977, is a successful and passionate sailor who has raced at the highest level for most of his life, is 100% committed to retaining the trophy with Alinghi 5.
But first a little history which goes some way to explaing why The Americas Cup is so special – thanks to Hamish Ross for this insight.
‘The America’s Cup is a symbol of yachting supremacy. Winning the America’s Cup is one of the most difficult sporting accomplishments possible.
The Cup itself was made in 1848 by Garrards of London who were, at the time, the Royal Jewellers. The Cup was one of several identical cups made at the time. It languished at Garrards, unsold, for several years until it was purchased by the Royal Yacht Squadron as a trophy for a special race held in the year of the Great Exhibition of 1851 held in London. Now, it is a priceless sporting treasure.
A syndicate of 5 members of the New York Yacht Club built and sailed a schooner they called America to Britain where it entered the Royal Yacht Squadron’s race which was open to all nations but in fact was only raced by America and other yachts of the Royal Yacht Squadron. America convincingly won the race and took the Cup home to New York amongst great acclaim’……..they then continuously held the cup for 132 years until 1983.
Since then, besides the American team who held the trophy from 1987 to 1995 it has been won by 4 other nations – Australia, New Zealand, Italy and now Switzerland.
The Swiss won The Americas Cup in 2003, defended it again in 2007 against a Kiwi challenge and will face the challenge of the Golen Gate Yacht Club in 2010 – Larry Ellison will do all he can with USA to bring the cup home.
We wrote about BOR90 – or USA – as she is now called – in a previous blog. This is what she is challenging.
Alinghi 5 is a 90ft multihull with a beam comparable to the width of two tennis courts set side by side and a mast that towers some 17 stories high. The boat was launched on the 8 July and underwent its maiden sail on the 20 July on Lake Geneva in Switzerland.
On the 7 August, the catamaran was transported by helicopter from its home port of Lake Geneva to a temporary training base in Genoa, Italy from where it was reported in early September that she had suffered a structural failure. We understand that she is now in transit to RAK where trials and testing will continue.
In the video from AdonnanteTv below you can see she is a very fast boat – the challenge has been made, is the defender ready?