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America's Cup Jeddah - All-in on Saturday for Alinghi Red Bull Racing

by Alinghi Red Bull Racing 1 Dec 2023 17:18 GMT 29 November - 2 December 2023
Alinghi Red Bull Racing of Switzerland with Arnaud Psarofaghis, Maxime Bachelin behind the helm and Bryan Mettraux, Yves Detrey as flight controllers compete during the AC37 Preliminary Regatta in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on December 1 © Samo Vidic / Alinghi Red Bull Racing

Having the chance to sail at all-out speeds in a racing environment has been one of Alinghi Red Bull Racing's objectives for this second Preliminary Regatta.

Today's breezy conditions in Jeddah finally provided that opportunity for the Swiss crew on day 2 of racing in the Red Sea as they collected a pair of third-place results. But there will be little margin for error on Saturday, needing race wins to reach the final.

On a day that saw wind speeds reach upwards of 16 knots and boat speeds frequently in excess of 40 knots, the Swiss team of helmsmen Arnaud Psarofaghis and Maxime Bachelin with trimmers Yves Detrey and Bryan Mettraux finished with a pair of third-place podiums in the second and final races of the afternoon. Combined with a fifth place in the opening race, Alinghi Red Bull Racing currently sit third in the overall standings, 11 points behind second-place Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli. The last two fleet races of the regatta, followed by a match-race final between the top two, are scheduled for tomorrow.

Results available here

Rodney Ardern, sailing team manager: "The racing throughout the fleet was pretty tight. Obviously, the boat that got out to the front had an advantage but unfortunately, we didn't have the best starts to get in and amongst it right from the start. We have some things we need to work on.

We had a reasonable start to race 3 but, once again, we weren't hitting the start at full speed. We need to keep working on our starts to get ourselves in a better position to continue around the course. The idea is to extend, rather than get tied up in the pack. It was good to be leading for a while in the final race. But it would also be nice to have been in a better position to make a clear decision on the bottom mark and lead the last lap, as well."

Maxime Bachelin, helmsman: "We've been looking forward to having these kinds of conditions on race day with consistent strong winds and calm sea state. We were hitting around 40 knots all day. It was good to have a fast boat and closer racing across the fleet.

We finally had a good beginning to that last race to make that first leg a lot easier for us, but overall, we need to work a bit more on the starts. We had consistent speeds, but some races we were on the good shift and some races we were not.

We are going to keep fighting without a doubt. We still have a chance! There are good winds forecasted for Saturday. We always push, that's the kind of team that we are, so we will keep fighting."

Yves Detrey, trimmer: "We could have grabbed more points out there today by cutting down on the errors. We might have missed that opportunity to get closer to the top of the standings. It's a bit of a shame, because we know we have the speed, but we really need to make sure we get a good start and avoid mistakes. For tomorrow, it's going to be all about winning races now.

We felt we missed opportunities because these are the conditions that we really like, relatively flat sea state, good winds. We know we have the speed, and we know the boat well. We're comfortable with our manoeuvres. There are no excuses, and we just need to win races.

I think we showed some good decisions around the course, but we didn't come in first in any of the races and we must do better than that. I know we have the skills, and hopefully we get the opportunity tomorrow to show that. Our backs are against the wall, and we really need to finally win races like we did on the training days. We know we can do it on racing days, as well."

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