The U.S.A. may have lost its stranglehold on the America's Cup, but next year the Yanks could give the Swiss defender and the rest of the field a sail for their money. Can Alinghi, the Swiss defender, outmaneuver 11 of the world's fastest yachts in the 32nd race for the America's Cup? CAD image of mechanical rigging assembly CAD image of BMW Oracle Racing yacht's hull and keel Three years ago, the Swiss Alinghi team sailed to a stunning victory that returned the America's Cup to Europe after an absence of 152 years. For most of those years, the Cup was in the hands of those pesky Americans. But in 2003, Alinghi humbled the defender, Team New Zealand, 5-0, to reclaim yachting's Holy Grail. The Swiss team not only returned the Cup to Europe, but it was the first to win the Cup on a first attempt, and the first winner from a land-locked country. Despite its Swiss identity, Alinghi is a multinational effort. The team is made up of 21 nationalities. And next year, these world-class sailors will defend the Cup against 11 of the world's best racing teams in the 32nd America's Cup in Valencia, Spain. Alinghi captured the 31st America's Cup in , the handiwork of principal designer Rolf Vrolijk. Built at Decisions SA in Switzerland and launched in 2001, the yacht was flown on a Russian Antonov jet to New Zealand where it was raced, tested, and developed against an older racing yacht. was original in that, un-like most America's Cup Class yachts, the boat was made from two longitudinal pieces glued together along the centerline of the hull, from bow to stern. The result was a strong, stiff hull, reinforced to sustain the immense loads of the mast and keel ballast. During the 2002-2003 America's Cup, Alinghi proved itself in key
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