The two Alinghi Red Bull Racing boats, the SU 8 and SU 15 got their GC32 campaigns underway this weekend in the stunning surroundings of Lake Garda, Italy.
It was the first race the teams have raced together and Alinghi Red Bull Racing SU 8 came bursting out of the gates to secure the first win of the season.
Lake Garda in Italy is one of the preferred playgrounds of sailors, due to its regular thermal winds, splendid setting at the base of the mountains and flat water.
However, this time the conditions were trickier. Between heats blessed by magnificent sunshine and a steady northerly wind, rain and storms occasionally spoiled the fun.
Despite varying conditions, 18 good races were played out during the four days of the regatta on the first stage of the 2022 GC32 Racing Tour.
It was the first competition where both Alinghi Red Bull Racing boats took part: SUI 8 (yellow), helmed by Arnaud Psarofaghis and SUI 15 (red), helmed by Maxime Bachelin.
This GC32 championship, as well as the TF35 races, are the two pillars for training in the lead-up to the America’s Cup.
Both teams showed a dominant display across the weekend: Alinghi Red Bull Racing SUI 8 won the competition by 19 points from Team Rockwool Racing in second place.
Fellow Swiss team Blackstar completed the podium, while Alinghi Red Bull Racing SUI 15 finished fourth.
Bachelin, 24, said: “We managed to improve after each race, and we regard the results of this first regatta very positively.
Several things came up in the course of the competition that demanded our attention and we were able to focus on them. The conditions are really particular here, it comes down to working with the whole team to make the right choices.
Every piece of information is important. It was a great opportunity to be able to work with the other Alinghi Red Bull Racing boat, to do all the debriefings together.
We learned lots from them! Personally, I had a really good time, especially with the progress we made. Can’t wait for Lagos!”
Winning skipper Psarofaghis, 33, commented: “We put a lot of effort into this first regatta. We did winter training sessions, trained with both boats and shared information between the two teams.
We took two heats to get back into the swing and regain our automatism on board after making some changes in the team configuration.
Each race was close run until the end. We were solid in terms of our boat handling, strategy and speed. We had everything we needed to do well.
It bodes well for the future, but it’s only one regatta! The next one will be that much harder to win since the other teams will be working overtime to make a comeback.
I’m looking forward to Lagos, it’s really great to be able to compete in this championship with both our boats!”
Thrilled Psarofaghis revealed: “It is the first win for our new team, Alinghi Red Bull Racing. It is great to have done this.
It was a super regatta: The fleet is stronger this year; every race was hard to fight for.”
The next stage of the GC32 Racing Tour will take place in Lagos, Portugal, at the end of June. But before that, it’s back to Lake Geneva in the TF35s where there are two busy weekends ahead: the Mies Grand Prix and the Geneva Rolle from June 3-5, and the Bol d’Or Mirabaud on June 11.