Monday, April 1, 2024
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HomeUncategorizedFarewell to BoatZero: A Poignant Finale with Dolphins

Farewell to BoatZero: A Poignant Finale with Dolphins

There’s a time to say goodbye to everything. In the case of BoatZero it’s “goodbye” and “thank you!”

© OLAF PIGNATARO

This week marked the final sail for BoatZero in the Alinghi Red Bull Racing AC37 preparation. As the first AC75 to sail on the course that will be used for the upcoming America’s Cup, BoatZero was a pioneer of sorts. The New Zealand-built AC75 began sailing with the team in August 2022 and has been the primary boat used for testing, training and development out of the team base in Barcelona for the past 18-months.

“It’s a bit sad to think that we won’t sail again on BoatZero,” said helmsman Maxime Bachelin on Wednesday after her final session on the water. “At the same time, it means we are moving to the new boat, so it’s mixed emotions. It was critical for the team to have the time on this AC75 to give us a great feel for what we were looking at doing. We saw an incredible improvement from the team while we trained on this boat.”

© Samo Vidic/ Alinghi Red Bull Rac

Aside from the vital experience foiling on the 75-foot monohull, BoatZero has also been crucial in providing Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s analysts, sailors and designers with a baseline of data in preparation for the build and launch of BoatOne this spring.

“BoatZero gave us a lot of experience, some good moments and some tough moments, but we learned a lot from her,” echoed skipper Arnaud Psarofaghis. “I think we were really lucky to have been sailing on her for over a year and a half.”

With 124 total days of sailing on the water, the training boat leaves a lasting memory on everyone at Alinghi Red Bull Racing even with the focus ahead to the start of the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup in August.

“In the end, my best memories are those days when we had 14-18 knots consistently on flat water and we were pushing the numbers higher than others who have raced the boat before,” said Jack Taylor, boat captain. “No question, BoatZero has been a great tool for us here at Alinghi Red Bull Racing to get us familiar with racing the AC75.”

Others point out that the legacy of BoatZero is both what was learned and as an energizing force for the new boat’s debut. “I think having her taken out of service just gets us even more motivated,” Rhys Jones, boat builder. “She was a great boat, didn’t give us much trouble, so it’s sad but we’re ready for our next race boat. For me, BoatZero was a fantastic platform to work on the various skills and repair work that I need to perform.”

© OLAF PIGNATARO

On the last sailing day, it was perhaps a fitting finale to see a pod of curious dolphins checking out BoatZero. “It was an emotional day, knowing it was the last one on BoatZero,” agreed both Nils Theuninck and Théry Schir of the Power Group. They said that seeing the dolphins swimming alongside appeared like farewell wishes from the sea gods. “BoatZero will be missed, but she treated us very well,” they said.

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