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America's Cup: Alinghi Red Bull Racing launches in Barcelona

by Alinghi Red Bull Racing 8 Aug 17:31 BST
Alinghi Red Bull Racing launches in Barcelona © Alinghi Red Bull Racing / Olaf Pignataro

Alinghi Red Bull Racing launched BoatZero - a training AC75 bought in New Zealand - today, becoming the first team to take up residence in Barcelona, home of the 37th America's Cup.

We have introduced the sailors and designers that make up the Alinghi Red Bull Racing team, and today the spotlight turned on BoatZero, a training AC75 bought from Emirates Team New Zealand last spring, and which was the first to be built in 2019. It will now be the first AC75 to sail in the 37th America's Cup venue in a decisive first step towards the competition in autumn 2024. Alinghi Red Bull Racing is the first team in the 37th America's Cup to make Port Vell its home.

This important stage of the campaign also marked Alinghi Red Bull Racing's first experience in Barcelona. Having settled in the Catalan capital, the team - specifically the shore team - turned its attention to the lengthy process of preparing BoatZero. "Each department pulled together creating a close-knit team in order to get the boat on the water today," said Silvio Arrivabene, co-general manager and head of technical operations. "At the end of this great day for everyone, we are full of energy and ready to focus on the next step: sailing."

During the christening, free-running specialist Hazal Nehir boarded the AC75 via the foil arm, and performed a few demonstrations of her skill. Alceo Bertarelli then broke the traditional bottle on the wing, marking an important step in the campaign for the 37th America's Cup.

BoatZero, named Alinghi Red Bull Racing will serve as a training platform for the young Swiss sailors who haven't sailed an AC75 before. To aid the learning curve, the crew will be mentored by two highly experienced sailors: Dean Barker (NZL), a skipper and America's Cup winner in his own right, and Pietro Sibello (ITA), a finalist in the 36th America's Cup with Luna Rossa.

The countdown is now on for the first day of sailing. There remain a few adjustments and tests to be carried out by the technical team, and then the boat will sail off Barcelona, home to the 37th America's Cup, for the first time. As head coach, Nils Frei pointed out: "In a Cup campaign, you can never make up for lost time. And you never have enough of it! Being able to sail the AC75 so early on is very beneficial."

Tim Hacket, shore manager: "The launch was a big step for us, made possible thanks to the coordination of the whole team. We had to find our feet in a new city with new colleagues and buying a boat that we hadn't worked on previously required a lot of hours to get used to. All these hours are learning experiences that will be useful towards BoatOne. Now that the boat is launched, we still have various checks to carry out before we can sail in a few days' time."

Nils Frei, head coach: "Today symbolises the adventure that begins in Barcelona! This first-generation boat will allow us to gain valuable training hours before we have our race boat. We are a new team sailing a boat that we are only just discovering, but to be able to train already this year is highly beneficial. If there is one thing that all Cup campaigns have in common, it is that you can never make up for lost time. And you never have enough of it! The preparations for this launch have given us the opportunity to learn to work together, and it is so important to be united towards a common goal in an America's Cup campaign."

Pietro Sibello, sailing team advisor: "Managing an AC75 is a major part of an America's Cup project. You must respect every stage despite the excitement. Being part of this team and being able to pass on our knowledge, alongside Dean Barker, means a lot to me. We have complementary experiences because we come from different teams, and this will allow us to get the best out of each other and to then pass it on to the young and talented Alinghi Red Bull Racing crew."

Silvio Arrivabene, co-general manager and head of technical operations: "BoatZero will allow us to gain the necessary experience on the AC75. Despite the satisfaction of today's festivities, we are aware that there is still a lot of work to do to catch up with the level of the teams that raced the 36th America's Cup. But today has given us the energy to focus on the next step: sailing."

After over a decade away from the Cup, Alinghi, one of the most dynamic names in the history of the America's Cup, is returning to battle for sailing's highest honour. The consecutive-winning syndicate joins forces with Red Bull, the driving force in global sport, to create a new team: Alinghi Red Bull Racing.

The team sails under the flag of the Société Nautique de Genève and is accompanied by its main partner Swiss watch brand TUDOR. The official Swiss challenger will compete in the Selection Series for the 37th America's Cup, in 2024 in Barcelona. The countdown starts now!

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