Sticking with what they know

Alinghi and Oracle choose their weapons for the Louis Vuitton final

Monday January 6th 2003, Author: Louis Vuitton Media Centre, Location: Australasia
The two remaining Challengers in the Louis Vuitton Cup, the Swiss Alinghi Team and the American Oracle BMW Racing team, have elected to sail the same boats they've used all along when the best-of-nine challenger Final begins on 11 January. The winning Challenger must use the same boat in the America's Cup Match, beginning February 15.

The Defender, Team New Zealand, has kept its options open by opting not to declare a boat at this time. That means both Team New Zealand boats are subject to the 'no-change' period beginning on the 7 January. Team New Zealand must make a boat declaration on 10 February ahead of the America's Cup Match.

Each of the three teams will show their boats on Tuesday in a public 'Unveiling' ceremony; Alinghi at 09:00, Oracle BMW Racing at 11:00 for media (11:30 for the public) and Team New Zealand at 12:30 (13:00 for the public).

In choosing SUI-64, Alinghi skipper Russell Coutts takes a boat with an impressive 21 - 3 record into the Louis Vuitton Cup Final. It is the same boat the Swiss team used to sweep the Oracle BMW crew in four straight races in the Semi Final.

"We have developed SUI-75 and SUI-64 together, but the reason we are using 64 in the Final of the Louis Vuitton Cup is that we have continued to develop that boat and it is moded slightly differently," said Alinghi design coordinator Grant Simmer. "We expect a range of conditions in the Finals and we believe it is the best boat for us to perform throughout that wind range.

"The changes we've made since we launched the boat in November 2001 have constantly improved the boat, from the hull to the appendages. It was a tough decision between the two boats, and it's sad to see such a fast boat as SUI-75, that we have put so much effort into, won't be used in an official race."

For Chris Dickson's Oracle BMW Racing team, USA-76 has a 20 - 8 record. Dickson's squad rebounded from the Semi Final loss to Alinghi by sweeping OneWorld out of the Semi Final Repechage 4 - 0.

The first race of the Louis Vuitton Cup Final is scheduled to start at 13:15 on January 11th. There will be a skipper's press conference at 09:30 on January 10th.

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