Tuesday, 17 July 2007

TEAMORIGIN - GBR75's Maiden Voyage - Report

Saturday July 14th 2007 saw an event of great significance to Great Britain's bid to compete in the 33rd & 34th America's Cup - the maiden voyage (under TEAMORIGIN ownership) of its first vessel. The Afterguard reports.

Inset image: Photo © Carlo Borlenghi/kospictures.com

SUI75 had been built in 2002 by Decision boatyard in Vevey, Switzerland, on behalf of the Swiss America's Cup team Alinghi, to assist in their (ultimately successful) challenge to win the 31st America's Cup in 2003 (which was raced in sister-ship SUI64). Although modified to reflect changes to ACC version 5 regulations in the intervening years, SUI75 never competed for the cup itself, but sailed in pre-regatta Acts in 2005 & 2006, & was used extensively for training & testing purposes.

TEAMORIGIN announced their purchase of SUI75 from Alinghi on Monday May 21st 2007. Identified immediately as the team's first training vessel, its appeal was put down to the standard of design and the fact that the team would be able to utilise the boat almost as soon as the 32nd America's Cup had ended.

And so it was, in the early afternoon of Saturday July 14th 2007, just 11 days after the 32nd America's Cup had been won by its previous owners Alinghi, that SUI75 became TEAMORIGIN's GBR75 and took to the waters off Port America, Valencia, Spain.

In sunny but blustery conditions, she showed off her new TEAMORIGIN livery under full sail - though corporate branding was conspicuous by its absence; sails make a great 'canvas' for a message 'from our sponsors', though there was undeniable impact from the TEAMORIGIN logo.

The operation was ostensibly a shake-down test as part of the formal handover of the vessel, and on board the crew, comprised of technical and shore team support members of both Alinghi & TEAMORIGIN, were overseen by TEAMORIGIN Team Director Mike Sanderson.

The vessel sailed on both Saturday & Sunday, & was joined on the first afternoon by a replica of the yacht America, which represented the New York Yacht Club in a race around the Isle of Wight in 1851, & in doing so won the Royal Yacht Squadron's 'One Hundred Sovereigns' cup - a feat remembered ever since in the renaming of subsequent contests as the America's Cup.

It is now TEAMORIGIN's intention to pack the boat up and transport it to the UK, where its first official engagement will be an appearance at the Southampton Boat Show from 14th-16th September 2007.

Look out also for our forthcoming 'TEAMORIGIN - GBR75's Maiden Voyage - Gallery' post.

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