[Source: Alinghi] Ed Baird and crew put the chartered Décision 35, SUI6, through its paces for the frst time yesterday on Lake Geneva. The team and that of the other Alinghi D35, SUI1, are training this week in preparation for the upcoming Challenge Julius Baer which starts on Friday with the GP Corum at the Société Nautique de Genève . This regatta series and other training sessions are towards a 33rd America’s Cup in multihulls next year.
What are you and the crew doing this week?
We are on Lake Geneva, in a town called Nyon, in Swizterland, and we are going out sailing on the D35s that we are going to sail all summer. This is our first time together as a group on the boat to try and experiment and learn a little bit about how they work. We are trying to get ready for the races that start this weekend.
Ernesto started this class way back and he’s been racing on these boats since they were originally conceived. This is the first time for us. There was a boat that wasn’t being used and we were able to charter it for the season, for part of the season actually, because we can’t do all of the races, but we’ll have another team within our team to race against and train against and that will be interesting.
Alinghi starts training on D35′s. Video copyright Alinghi
What sort of competition do you expect in this multihull fleet?
My understanding is that there are going to be 12 boats this year, which is fantastic. Last year it was 10 and now a couple more. There are several great teams that have been here since the beginning but there are some new ones that are going to be tough as well. We know we have our work cut out for us to try to catch up and learn about sailing these boats, but that’s the position we are in for this next America’s Cup, it’s to try to get better at multihulls.
Last year you raced the eXtreme 40s and won the iShares Cup – how do those boats compare to the D35?
In some ways the X40s and the D35s are similar. They are not that different in length and they have gennakers, and mains and jibs, but the D35s have a lot more sophisticated equipment. There is a lot more that you can manipulate on the boat to control the way the sails are, the way the boat is able to move through the water and there are more sails. We have more to select from for the different wind speeds, and it’s a more powerful boat overall, so it’s going to be a real handful to try to get used to. It’s good that we had the opportunity last year to sail the X40s, but this is definitely a more difficult step.
Who is the crew racing with you?
We are pretty lucky to have some of the same guys we raced together with last summer, but we are also trying to teach a new gang what they need to learn and learn together: Warwick Fleury, Brad Butterworth, Murray Jones, will all be sailing this summer. Of course Piet van Nieuwenhuijzen and Lorenzo Mazza are here and they were with me all last year. We have a different group of people supporting us: Juan Vila, Peter Evans, who was with us last year, and quite a number of different folks that are coming looking at the different things that these boats do to try to learn from it