The America’s Cup Defender Alinghi is completing its current phase of the Alinghi 5 development programme today in Ras Al Khaimah and over the next few days will wheel the giant catamaran into the boat shed for some modifications. The next phase will keep the team busy up until it ships out to Valencia to continue developing towards the February 8 2010 America’s Cup Match.
Alinghi.com speaks to design team coordinator, Grant Simmer, about the modifications and the development so far:
The team has been testing and training in Ras Al Khaimah for the past six weeks, what have been the main areas of focus and the goals?
Grant Simmer: We changed to the new, bigger, rig soon after we came here and we have been working on our sail crossovers and learning about optimum angles; really just concentrating on learning to sail the boat and optimising the performance.
Have the conditions in Ras Al Khaimah been conducive to the testing and development?
Grant Simmer: One of the reasons we came to Ras Al Khaimah in the first place was that the winter months offer really nice sailing conditions and that is what we have enjoyed here. Luckily we have only lost a couple of days in the six weeks that we have been here and that was mainly due to too much wind. The conditions have been great and very stable so we don’t expect much change from that.
Can you hint at the modifications that will be made to Alinghi 5 over the coming days?
Grant Simmer: Well, you will see them at the end of the week! The thing about this boat is that everything is so massive that you have to plan months in advance to make virtually any component in the boat. We have been manufacturing these pieces in Villeneuve, Switzerland, where we still have a factory (the same one that built the boat) and the boys have done a good job and delivered the parts on time so we will spend next week installing them.
Is adapting the boat for Valencia in February a consideration at this point?
Grant Simmer: Since the decision on Valencia, the default venue, we have been adapting the boat to the increased variability there at the time of the Match. Of course in the background we still have the appeal on the RAK decision, which we feel quite strongly about because RAK is a far better place to race these boats in February; something we have said repeatedly.
Any plans for the few days off?!
Grant Simmer: Actually I plan to take the weekend off to go to Dubai so I’m looking forward to that!