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Alinghi and BMW Oracle Racing helmsmen talk to thedailysail about the transition to multihulls
This is something of a rarity at the moment: an article about the America’s Cup which doesn’t once mention the words ‘New York’, ‘court’ or ‘Cahn’. Now that both sides are resigned to the 33rd America’s Cup being a Deed of Gift affair in multihulls, both the Alinghi and BMW Oracle Racing sailing teams have been going hammer and tongs to get in as much training as possible in these boats. ‘Training’ is in fact a little optimistic. Since the majority of the sailing teams, with a few exceptions such as Alinghi bowman Jan Decker (once part of the Groupama and Club Med crews) have had no multihull sailing experience, save perhaps hooning around on a Hobie 16 during a beach holiday, it is a case of going back to school. Early this year both challenger and defender acquired Extreme 40 cats and both now have two of these to go race training in out of their bases in Valencia. Both campaigns have hired multihull experts in to teach them - Alinghi have been working with former Foncia skipper Alain Gautier while BMW Oracle have had Franck Cammas and his Groupama team, one time kings of the presently dormant ORMA 60 circuit, along with numerous Tornado experts such as Glenn Ashby, present Gold medallist Roman Hagara and US Olympic cat representative, Charlie Ogletree. Both teams have recently decamped temporarily to France’s multihull capital, Lorient. Alinghi were sailing on Gautier’s Foncia until their unfortunate capsize last week. Over the last few days the BMW Oracle sailing team have been on Groupama 2 with Franck Cammas as they have been attempting to match race Pascal Bidegorry and his race team on Banque Populaire (helmsman James Spithill says it has been close with Groupama 2 having the edge upwind, but both boats being

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