Sunday, July 5, 2009

Alinghi Super Cat Unveiled

Information about the boat
Boat type: Catamaran of carbon composite construction
Where built: Alinghi Villeneuve + Décision Corsier, Switzerland
Length waterline: 90ft
Hours to build: 100,000 manhours
Square metres of carbon fibre used: 30,000m2

Alinghi, the Defender of the 33rd America’s Cup, unveiled its 90ft catamaran this weekend in Villeneuve, Switzerland. This multihull represents a culmination of Swiss multihull heritage and is the first step in Alinghi’s development process towards the 33rd America’s Cup in February 2010. The boat will be launched by helicopter next week on Lake Geneva before the process of ‘debugging’ begins and the boat goes sailing for the first time.

Grant Simmer, design team coordinator, comments on the achievement: “Firstly this boat only exists because of Ernesto Bertarelli’s 100% commitment to the team and his support and enthusiasm for this project. The boat demonstrates the talent and creativity of the designers and the skill and dedication of the boatbuilding and technical teams in building a boat of this complexity, facing many different challenges along the way and solving them to pull the project together. Finally, and more recently, the sailing team has defined many of the systems; they have worked with the designers to define the simplest possible solutions for what is already a very complex boat.”

Rolf Vrolijk, chief designer: “People who see the boat for the first time seem surprised at how light and fragile it looks, that is really their first impression. Creating it has been a huge team effort, both in the design and the build groups; it has been a phenomenal team effort to come up with the concept and it really represents the depth of our team. For the moment we have pushed the envelope as much as we would like, this boat is really a base for further development and over the coming weeks we will collect as much information as we can and cross check it with the predictions, this will help us assess what level we are at and then to optimise from there. We have several opportunities and possibilities to change the concept but first we need a solid base to do our studies from.”

Murray Jones, strategist and design team responsible for mast and rig programme: “This multihull is nothing like you’ve ever seen before in a big boat. It’s like a small boat but scaled up. It’s a highly finely tuned and engineered boat that’s light. It’s a piece of art. Alinghi 5 has evolved from the Swiss sailing boats, like the 41ft ‘Le Black’. The basic engineering concept has come from ‘Le Black’ but everything else has come from the Alinghi design team, starting from a completely blank sheet of paper, with no preconceived multihull ideas. We started designing it and building it and we’ve done a lot of sailing and testing on ‘Le Black’ and the Décision 35s so we’ve incorporated some of the ideas we’ve picked up sailing these boats.
The focus of the concept and the design and build of the boat has been on what we need to sail a Deed of Gift Match: up/down racing of 20miles. We haven’t focused on the other team at all, only concentrating on what makes our boat go the fastest. It’s been a big job for quite a small design team and we’ll see the results soon.” -