Alinghi designer talks

James Boyd gets down to the nuts and bolts of America's Cup design with Rolf Vrolijk
For a Swiss America's Cup team it was fitting that Alinghi should recruit leading German architect, Rolf Vrolijk of the Judel-Vrolijk design house to be their principle designer under the co-ordinator of Grant Simmer and alongside the likes of Dirk Kramers. Rof Vrolijk was clearly fired up by the unveiling ceremony when we caught up with him earlier in the week and he more than most is waiting with baited breath to see whether their design teams ideas match those of Team New Zealand. "I think it will be probably very difficult to predict," says Vrolijk. "We were with Andy Claughton and Clay Oliver [two of TNZ's design team] and they said that they are getting to the end of their prediction possibilities now. The two concepts are clearly two different concepts. You might say it is going to be a one to one tank test race basically because it is too difficult to tell where you think the other one will be faster and there are too many things which are not comparable." With NZL82, Vrolijk believes their priority has been for out and out speed. "They try to get advantages upwind because of the lower centre of gravity of the bulb. They compensate with the smaller foils so they still have the speed and don’t get too much wetted surface. They try to get more advantage out of effective length through the hula taking into account that they have added gap resistance and added drag – there are all those factors - and on the other hand they have more sail area." Following their design process and the advantage of having raced SUI64 in anger through the Louis Vuitton challenger series, Vrolijk feels the performance of the Swiss boat should be considerably more rounded, although this was not always the