The 37th Copa America will start in just under two years, and Alinghi Red Bull Racing is already hard at work in Barcelona and Switzerland.
“For now, it’s about creating a work dynamic”, says Pierre-Yves Jorand, co-director and sports manager of the Swiss challenge.
‘Many people work in Barcelona and Switzerland, in our different departments’, he emphasizes. “The +sailing team+ thus includes about fifteen sailors, who are surrounded by a whole staff that deals with mental, physical, physiological, medical preparation, but also with safety”, he lists.
‘The design department includes engineers, designers and architects. He is responsible for performance analysis, simulation, materials analysis. The challenge is very technological for this 37th edition”, recalls Pierre-Yves Jorand in an interview with Keystone-ATS.
“There is also the construction and maintenance team who take care of the boat once it returns to port to get it ready as quickly as possible for departure the next day. In Switzerland, we are assembling the team that will build our future boat in our workshops in Lausanne. There’s still the administrative part, marketing, finances, the media…’, he continues.
‘All these little people have recently settled in Barcelona, where we work daily. Today, one hundred people are working on this project. He is a figure of cruising, which, however, constantly evolves”, says the former speed skier, who also represented Switzerland at the 1992 Albertville Olympics in the discipline.
As we understand, Alinghi and his boss Ernesto Bertarelli want to put all the assets on their side to get the Silver Ewer back in autumn 2024 in Barcelona. ‘The defeat suffered in 2010 (in Valencia, against the American challenge Oracle, with the score of 2 to 0) was difficult to bear. The scar was wide open, it took a few years to disappear’, slips Pierre-Yves Jorand.
“Our owner hoped above all that the Protocol (ed: the rules governing competition) would be attractive. Copa America is often compared to sailing’s Everest. To have a chance to climb it, you need an impeccable weather report. For us, this bulletin dropped last year. When we read it, we understood that it was the right time to come back”, he continues.
‘A magnificent fusion’
Why is the Protocol particularly attractive? “We were afraid that there would be a lot of time before the next World Cup. But 2024 is in our plans. We also wanted the boats (red: monohulls with AC75 foils) to be able to last through the 37th and then the 38th edition. And the nationality rule (red: all crew members must have the same nationality) spoke to us”, explains Pierre-Yves Jorand.
‘The format of the competition also interested us. The introduction of a women’s event and the renewal of a Copa America for youth also attracted Red Bull Racing,” he said. ‘The love of sport, sailing, competition, technology and speed has always inspired us. Alinghi’s DNA is to build fast boats that fly,” he adds.
‘We have a team that has been sailing these multihulls since 2010. It’s very efficient, so it’s even more the right time to launch ourselves on this adventure”, repeats Pierre-Yves Jorand, for whom the nationality rule was not difficult to apply: “Foiling, multihulls and motorboats are part of the Swiss sailing culture. We’ve received the files of 30 candidates, he breathes, while only eight sailors will be on board.
The partnership with the Red Bull Racing Team promises to be promising. ‘It’s a wonderful fusion. We are in start-up mode, but on a large scale, Alinghi has experience in foiling, Red Bull brings its technology via Formula 1. We have a lot of discussions with the team and their engineers. This fusion leads us to bring a lot of creativity’, guarantees Pierre-Yves Jorand.
This creativity is essential to carry out this long-term project. As well as exchanges between different departments. “We talk a lot about the boat, the helmsman, the crew. But above all, we must not forget those who work behind the scenes, as for a Formula 1 team”, he explains.
‘For us, the important thing is to start working very quickly with this new team. For now, it’s about creating a work dynamic”, says Pierre-Yves Jorand. “Our objective is to accumulate as many hours of navigation as possible to get to know the water body in the best possible way. To build our new boat, we will need good ideas. To come up with these ideas, you need good feedback, which you get as you browse,” he says.
‘We have to stimulate exchanges between the sailors and the team of designers to have all the elements to design, I hope, the fastest boat in this 37th Cup’, he proclaims. What can make a difference in September and October 2024: “Having wings that take us even faster and further”, laughs Pierre-Yves Jorand.