14 sailors have been selected to join Alinghi Red Bull Racing and represent the Société Nautique de Genève at the 37th America’s Cup to be held in Barcelona in 2024.
They are young Swiss, talented and experienced at thwarting high-speed boating, kayaking or even biking. Alinghi Red Bull Racing has announced the selection of the 14 team members selected to represent Switzerland at the upcoming America’s Cup, which will take place in Barcelona in the fall of 2024.
With an average age of 30, 11 years short of the Swiss’s last triumphant participation in Valencia, the team is making way for youngsters.
We will be driving Formula 1 with many people in the cockpit
Pierre-Yves Yurand, Co-Director in charge of Sports Operations
According to the rules of version 37, there will be eight on board the AC75 monocoque, divided into two groups: the power group and the drive group. For the driving group (post-guard), selections began last summer with interviews, followed by physical exams and sailing. “We worked in a very team way: we worked with head coach Nils Frey and the first sailors who were chosen to make decisions together,” explains Pierre-Yves Yurand, Co-Director of Sport Operations. “Character, attitude and development potential were just as important as skills. We will be driving Formula 1 with several people in the cockpit: one on the brakes, one on the steering wheel, one on the throttle, one on the gear lever. The team concept takes on its full meaning.
These sailors have gained their experience in the Olympics, winning the Flying Boats or even the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, and they embody what is known as the Alinghi generation. Among them, the optimistic 2014 World Champion, Nicholas Rollas, is the youngest member selected.
A high-level framework has been put on the water with renowned instructors to guide these guys, who don’t yet have the experience of the super powerful rockets that are AC75s.
Several main roles
On the AC75, sailors are divided into the following roles: tactician, helmsman, chip captain, sail shear and miller. This provides the energy needed to power the boat.
“The class rules require that some systems be manually operated, especially everything related to the clipping of sails,” says design coordinator Adolfo Carrau, who has worked with Botin for fifteen years. “Thanks to the power provided by these athletes, the sailmaker will be able to do his job. The designers determined the positions and forces needed to obtain the maximum strength in relation to the type of effort provided: if the duration of the races is calculated in minutes, then the training sessions are several hours. So it must be The crew is really strong, especially since there will be only four on board compared to eight during the last version.”
With a cyclist and rowers
To build this strength team along with the sailors, recruitment focused on members of the Swiss Cycling and Rowing Federation. “The track record of these athletes has caught our eye; despite their lack of sailing experience, they excel in high-level sport, victories and performance under pressure,” confirms coach Nils Frey. Rowers are versatile athletes in strength, power, and heart. However, it was necessary to explain to them what this event represented; it is a career choice, a life choice.
“I hope to give them what has been my strength in rowing: the motivation and determination to work hard to achieve my goals, with great rigor.”
Barnaby DeLarzi, a double Olympian in rowing.
Cyclist Terry Scherr, rowers Augustin Melfer and Barnaby Dillers join the force group. The latter, a double Olympian and recent winner of the prestigious regatta with Oxford, is delighted with this sporting transformation after spending more than half his life rowing.
“I have always been drawn to the water, gliding and, finally, sailing not far from paddling! However, I’ve never had a project of this magnitude before. I hope to give them what my strength in paddling has been: the drive and determination to work hard to achieve my goals with great rigor. Handle the pressure to perform at the highest level. There, we enter another dimension: these boats are spaceships!” The last member of the team will be introduced soon.
Swiss precision obliges, the team didn’t miss the kick-off of the 2022 championships: at the helm of the 2022 TF35 Trophy and GC32 Racing Tour, Alinghi Red Bull Racing is actively training on these two supports while waiting to be able to navigate the AC75 and then the AC40.