This month, Shirley Robertson visits Swiss America’s Cup powerhouse Alinghi Red Bull Racing at their base in Barcelona as they prepare to Challenge for the 37th America’s Cup.
They’re the only team to have ever launched a successful challenge to the America’s Cup at first attempt, and the only European team to have ever won it, but for over a decade Swiss America’s Cup syndicate Alinghi have been waiting, watching, following developments.
And now, they are back, relaunched as Alinghi Red Bull Racing, and already well established in the host city of Barcelona. In this month’s podcast, double Olympic gold medallist Shirley
Robertson visits the Swiss team and talks to several key players, to hear just what it is about AC37 that has rekindled interest, and to look at how one of the most successful Cup teams of the modern era is launching a bid to reclaim the illusive silver ware.Shirley Robertson OBE © Michael Austen
Robertson starts the two part podcast with the team’s principle helm, Arnaud Psarofaghis. No stranger to racing fast foiling yachts, Psarofaghis is visibly excited at the development process of a Cup campaign, as the pair discuss the way the team have learned to sail their first generation AC75…:
37th America’s Cup recon – Alinghi Red Bull Racing – April 25, 2023 – Barcelona – AC75 – Day 56 © Alex Carabi / America’s Cup
“When you are on the boat, you start to accelerate, 12 knots, 14 knots, 15 knots, and it’s incredible because the boat is big, noisy, it’s quite a brutal environment, and I remember the first time we got to take off speed and suddenly there is a moment of silence. Nothing is happening…you feel like it’s a dinghy…you have that moment of joy for ten seconds, and then you come back to reality!”
Robertson also talks to Yves Detrey, Alinghi team veteran and winner of the Cup with the Swiss syndicate in 2003 and 2007, a conversation that takes in the immensity of those Cup wins at home in Switzerland, and the challenges to overcome in the new Cup arena. Sailing team manager Pierre-Yves Jorand also discusses the challenges ahead for the team, as well as revealing the process that saw Alinghi owner Ernesto Bertarelli re-enter the America’s Cup arena…:
“We were listening, we were watching the America’s Cup, we were reading the protocols and Ernesto (Bertarelli) always said that once the protocol will be right, we’ll be back. A couple of years ago he mentioned the America’s Cup is like climbing Everest, and to be successful you need a good forecast. And for us the weather forecast is the protocol, and this time, the protocol seems to be fair, and we decided to come back. We are super excited to be back.”
Alinghi Red Bull Racing – AC75 – Day 58 – April 27, 2023 – Barcelona – photo © Alex Carabi / America’s Cup
Robertson also talks AC75 design with America’s Cup naval architect and team Design Coordinator Adolfo Carrau from Botin Partners, the design house of choice for Alinghi Red Bull Racing. Driving the design team for American Magic in the last Cup, Carrau’s discussion on the evolution of the second generation AC75s will leave the listeners impatient for a glimpse of the new boats. This edition is then wrapped up with team board member Brad Butterworth, a key component of the Swiss syndicate since the earliest days of campaigning. Butterworth, as ever, has interesting views on key aspects of this Cup cycle, including the nationality rule, the other Challengers, and collaboration with Formula One teams.
This edition of the podcast is in two parts and is available to listen to via the podcast page of Shirley’s own website – www.shirleyrobertson.com/podcast or via most popular podcast outlets, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcast and aCast. The podcast is produced and written by Tim Butt – for further enquires, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Shirley Robertson