Following their America's Cup and Louis Vuitton Cup wins, Team Alinghi is preparing to line up again with Oracle BMW Racing in the Moet Cup. The regatta will be held on San Francisco Bay and is intended to officially launch the America's Cup 2007 campaign. However, it will be distinguished by a number of new concepts.
The regatta will be raced on very short courses and the yachts will complete "out and back" circuits of less than one hour, which should guarantee an exciting view for the many numbers of spectators expected. Unlike the America's Cup, the finish of each race will be on a close reach rather than downwind. This will allow spectators to experience the event in the best conditions and be as close as possible to the boats. Reputed for its strong and consistent wind, San Francisco Bay should guarantee a quality event.
The Moet Cup is divided into two events: a professional regatta and an owner/driver race. As such, Ernesto Bertarelli and Larry Ellison will go head to head on the race course before handing back the helm to Russell Coutts and Gavin Brady respectively.
The Alinghi team sailing on SUI-64 will be a slightly different configuration that that seen in Auckland. The famous America's Cup Class SUI-64 arrived in California last week. This week 14 members of Team Alinghi have the job of putting together some hundred tons of materials - boat, masts, keel, support boats, sails, and to reassemble SUI-64 to winning trim. This is an impressive task managed by Michel Marie and his team.
The Alinghi crew will also be a little different to those involved in Auckland. As such, Jochen Schuemann will hold the position of tactician while new crew will be on trial during the racing.
The Moet Cup will give the two teams the opportunity to present their program for the coming year. In effect, both Alinghi and Oracle BMW Racing will demonstrate their intention to modernise the America's Cup and enable spectators to be closer to the racing with this event. A number of regattas are planned for the following years, The Moet Cup being the initial step.
"The Moet Cup provides a great opportunity to show the public and our sponsors that we are determined to modernise the America's Cup and that we are accessible to the public," says Russell Coutts. "It is the beginning of a long adventure."
Jochen Schuemann, Sports Director for Team Alinghi, said, "I am delighted to be sailing with Alinghi in San Francisco. I have raced a number of regattas since the America's Cup but this will be fantastic to be together again. Particularly, I expect this regatta will test the new sailors whom we have hired. It will be a perfect opportunity because the racing looks to be challenging."