Alinghi Red Bull Racing sailors have been talking all week about the importance of facing off again against the world’s best sailors and the other five participants in the 37th Louis Vuitton America’s Cup. Today, they finally got that opportunity at the first three fleet races of the second Preliminary Regatta in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The Swiss crew consisting of coxswains Arnaud Psarofaghis and Maxime Bachelin and trimmers Yves Detrey and Bryan Mettraux sailed in lighter-than-expected wind conditions today Thursday, November 30 on the first day of racing in Jeddah, concentrating entirely on being able to sail the foils. The crew came close to the podium in the first race, finished second in the second race, and in the last race of the program, after suffering a start penalty, recovered positions to take third place.
Alinghi Red Bull Racing is currently in third place in the provisional overall standings on equal points with the British crew. Tomorrow Friday at 1:30 p.m. local time (11:30 a.m. CET) three more fleet races are scheduled, which, according to the weather forecast, are expected to take place in slightly better conditions than today in terms of wind intensity.
Pietro Sibello, performance coach: “It was a solid day for the team. One of those days when you come back to the middle of the standings and say, ‘it could have been better, but it could also have been much worse,’ so overall I think it was a good day. We should all be happy and psychologically charged to face an even better day tomorrow. The weather conditions today were similar to some of what we experienced in the last few training sessions here in Jeddah, so we had a lot of references to draw from. Of course, the big difference from the training days was the presence of a fierce fleet of opponents and other challenges ahead, so the team is pleased.”
Sails set in Jeddah
Arnaud Psarofaghis, skipper: “We were very confident about the set-up we wanted to use in the boat today. This morning we did some additional tuning. The boat was solid on the foils and we sailed almost exactly as we had hoped, so it was a good day. We are pleased with our performance in conditions that were really difficult. Today the goal was to sail as well as we could and especially to stay on the foils. The last week of training was really useful here in Jeddah for us given the marginal conditions we faced. Tomorrow will be a new day with new conditions. I think we should almost consider it as a new beginning of the event! We will have to leave the berth and do what we have been doing so far, so our regatta.”
Bryan Mettraux, trimmer: “It was a complex day at sea today. We worked to keep the boat lifted on the foils. It is really hard to get the boat up if you ‘fall’ off the foils. When there is more wind, you can focus on your opponents, but on a day like today, you just stay focused on keeping the best speed possible at all times. We were a little lucky in the last race. We fell off the foils and then thanks to a good gust we were able to fly again. Tomorrow the conditions will be different. It will be another race in every sense of the word, and with a better wind, we hope to be able to focus more on the details. We have learned a lot in the last few days, so we are looking forward to the next step.”
“Gaudi to Saudi. The distance is 4,000 km, but the goal remains the same: to be the fastest.
(Alinghi Red Bull Racing: first day of racing in Jeddah – barchemagazine.com – November 2023)