Extreme Sailing Series champions Alinghi to mount title defence in 2017
Following an epic victory in 2016, Swiss sailing stars Alinghi have announced their return to the Extreme Sailing Series™ in 2017 in defence of their title.
Last year's season-long battle with arch-rivals Oman Air saw the fight go right down to the wire with the Swiss team's season victory only confirmed in the penultimate race of the final Act, and now the team return for another slice of the action.
"The Extreme Sailing Series never fails to deliver a great circuit where there is an ever-increasingly good balance between sport and spectacle," said Ernesto Bertarelli, Team Principal, co-skipper and co-helm of the team, who have won the America's Cup twice.
"Being the defending champions, we know that we have our work cut out, because we have become the ones to beat, but also because – and this is what makes the Series so good – the standard of all of our competitors is so high," added the Swiss businessman and philanthropist, whose team has now won the Extreme Sailing Series three times.
Bertarelli knows how to build championship-winning sailing teams and Arnaud Psarofaghis, who shares the responsibilities as co-skipper and co-helm, believes that there are lots of areas where the Alinghi crew can still improve. "We need to limit the damage of bad races," commented Psarofaghis. "You need to take risks but in some positions we need to be careful not to throw everything on the table."
"That's easy to say, but when you are racing it is really hard to make decisions that could be the difference between beating one boat or losing out against five others," continued Psarofaghis, one of Switzerland's top sailors and an expert in multihulls.
Having found a winning line-up, the crew will remain the same in what will be their seventh year competing in the Extreme Sailing Series, with Olympic bronze medallist in the 470 class Nicolas Charbonnier as tactician and Nils Frei, who first competed onboard Alinghi in 2001, continuing his role as headsail trimmer.
On bow the team have Yves Detrey, who was part of Alinghi's 2003, 2007 and 2010 America's Cup campaigns. The final member of the crew, and the youngest at just 20 years old, is Timothé Lapauw who made his debut on the team last season and returns as floater.
Supporting the onboard team will be longstanding Alinghi crewmember, Pierre-Yves Jorand, who will continue to deliver guidance as coach, alongside the expert shore crew, David Nikles and João Cabeçadas. The pair were praised last season due to their work in swiftly getting the Swiss boat back on the water following a dismasting during Act 6, Madeira Islands, which allowed the team to go on to win the Act.
Alinghi will also compete in the inaugural GC32 Championship in Muscat, Oman, from 27 February to 5 March, before taking their place on the start-line in the same location on 8 March, alongside a line-up of international world-class teams, as the 2017 Extreme Sailing Series gets underway.
Crew line-up – Alinghi (SUI)
Co-skipper/Co-helm: Ernesto Bertarelli (SUI)/Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI)
Tactician: Nicolas Charbonnier (FRA)
Headsail Trimmer: Nils Frei (SUI)
Bowman: Yves Detrey (SUI)
Floater: Timothé Lapauw (FRA)
For more information about Alinghi, click here.
[Main image by Mark Lloyd]