Alinghi has sold its wonderboat of the 2005 Louis Vuitton Act Series, SUI 75, to the new British challenge for the next America's Cup, Team Origin. Although SUI 75 was originally thought to be a bit of a dog in Auckland (with Russell Coutts's team opting to sail the tried and tested SUI 64 to win the 2003 Cup), in its revamped Version 5 mode SUI 75 was a pure thoroughbred.
Alinghi dominated the match racing and fleet racing in 2005 with this boat, and SUI 75 was still a very potent weapon against the challengers' 2006-generation boats such as USA 98 and ITA 86. Only the Kiwis' NZL 84 could possibly claim to be faster.
So Sir Keith Mills's new team has made a very smart purchase. Ian Walker, tactician of +39 Challenge, says that one of the great benefits to the Italian challenge of buying hull no. 59 off Alinghi was that it gave them an insight into the way Alinghi likes to structure the internal workings of its boats, and many of those ideas were subsequently incorporated into +39's new boat ITA 85. Understanding an ACC boat's structure is arguably more important than understanding its hull shape, although in SUI 75 Team Origin will gain a great insight into Alinghi's thinking in both these areas.
New Zealander Mike Sanderson, who passed up the chance to defend his Volvo Ocean Race title to become team director of Origin, commented: “This is a really important step for Team Origin; buying our first training boat of the calibre of SUI 75 means we are tapping into one of the fastest training boats around. We are also able to get hold of it without delay - meaning that we can push forward our planning and be on the water here in Valencia as early as July 2007.
"We are continuing our progress in buying a second top quality training boat and other necessary assets to progress team preparations.”