Friday, May 1, 2009

Alinghi has launched its training programme

MADRID - America's Cup defender Alinghi has launched its training programme for a possible multihull duel against US team Oracle that would decide the next edition of yachting's premier event.

The Swiss team launched two "Decision 35" catamarans on Lake Geneva in Switzerland "that will be used as training platforms towards a multihull America's Cup in May 2010," it said in a statement.

It said the team will focus on multihull training this season, including the Challenge Julius Baer on Lake Geneva, "withdrawing from other monohull commitments."

The launch comes a week after Alinghi and Oracle failed to reach agreement at a meeting in Geneva over the format for the next America's Cup, especially on holding a traditional regatta with several challengers on single hull yachts in 2011.

A New York court in early April backed Oracle over Alinghi in the conclusion to a long-running legal battle over the rules for the next edition of the event.

The dispute has raged between the two since Alinghi, owned by Swiss pharmaceuticals billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, won the 32nd America's Cup in the Spanish port of Valencia in July 2007.
The court ruling means that the two teams must hold a best-of-three duel involving multihull yachts - unless they manage to overcome their dispute.

Oracle, owned by American software tycoon Larry Ellison, has already been training since October on a giant trimaran built in the United States.

"The D-35s represent a more sophisticated racing multihull than we have experienced before, and we need all the training opportunities we can get as we prepare for an America's Cup in multihulls," said the Decision 35's helmsman Ed Baird.

The first event for Alinghi's D-35s is the Grand Prix Corum from May 8-10 at the Societe Nautique de Geneve yacht club, Alinghi's representative.

Whatever the format, there is also a dispute between the two teams over the dates for the next America's Cup.

Oracle said on Tuesday it had asked the New York court to confirm that the event will take place in early February 2010.

Alinghi, in contrast, wants the next America's Cup to be held three months later in May 2010.