On July 20, some 16 days after unveiling their beast of a defender for the upcoming Deed of Gift (DoG) that will be the next America’s Cup (February 2010), Alinghi today test-sailed their Alinghi 5 for the first time. While quantifiable results are not available yet (or rarely, if ever, on a project like this), the bottom line is that the boat, with its complicated systems and massive sailplan (and huge loads) sailed, the mast stayed vertical, and the team seemed happy.
Says Grant Simmer, the team’s design coordinator, “It's been a good day, we had a list of things we wanted to tick off and we took it slowly and carefully and have finished the day achieving all those things. It was exciting to see the boat sailing for the first time after so much time designing, boat building, sail making and spar making; seeing all those bits come together and seeing the machine working is great! We're looking forward to tomorrow.”
A quick look at the boat reveals a very interesting and innovative design, namely Alinghi 5’s S-shaped daggerboards. While complicated and likely a bit temperamental, if Alinghi can get these working perfectly, BMW/O might be in for a tough fight come February.
While speeds and true wind speed data is unavailable, the boat’s first day is perhaps best summed up by Murray Jones, Alinghi’s trials man for Alinghi 5: “To fly the boat upwind and downwind with gennaker was awesome for the first day of sailing. The boat is a tribute to the designers and the boat builders. To deliver a boat of this complexity that works straight out of the box on the first day is impressive; really impressive.”