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The cat is out of the bag--Alinghi reveals America's Cup multihull.


Alinghi has released photos of the 90-foot catamaran it will campaign against BMW Oracle in defence of the 33rd America's Cup but even according to its own designers the boat is virtually untested with the February 2010 challenge fast approaching. The enormous multihull was built in Alinghi's shed in Villeneuve, Switzerland, to 'debugging' on Lake Geneva as the team now prepares for its duel with BMW Oracle's 90-foot trimaran, which has been in testing for many months.

Called Alinghi 5, the yacht is a scaled-up version of Alinghi's Le Blackcatamaran built with state-of-the-art techniques to keep weight to a minimum, causing some observers to suggest it may even be unsafe in heavy winds. "People who see the boat for the first time seem surprised at how light and fragile it looks, that is really their first impression," said chief designer, Rolf Vrolijk. "For the moment we have pushed the envelope as much as we would like, this boat is really a base for further development and over the coming weeks we will collect as much information as we can and cross check it with the predictions, this will help us assess what level we are at and then to optimise from there. We have several opportunities and possibilities to change the concept but first we need a solid base to do our studies from."

Alinghi's chief strategist and design team leader for the mast and rig program, Murray Jones, said while the yacht's rig shared some basic similarities to Le Black the team essentially started with a blank sheet of paper. So how will it go against BMW Oracle?

"The focus of the concept and the design and build of the boat has been on what we need to sail a Deed of Gift Match: up/down racing of 20 miles. We haven't focused on the other team at all, only concentrating on what makes our boat go the fastest. It's been a big job for quite a small design team and we'll see the results soon," said Jones.

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Boat type: Catamaran of carbon
 composite construction
Where built: Alinghi Villeneuve
 + Decision Corsier, Switzerland
Length waterline: 90 feet
Hours to build: 100,000 man hours
Carbon fibre used: 30,000m2
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Publication:Offshore Yachting
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2009
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