XXXIe America's Cup



 Alinghi unveiled its new management team (09/07/04)
 (source :
Team Alinghi made an announcement this morning in Marseille revealing the names of the management team that will lead its America’s Cup 2007 challenge.

Team Tactician and Alinghi team member since the very beginning, Brad Butterworth now joins the Alinghi management team. His enormous experience, determination to win and unique sense of humour will all be important strengths in determining the team’s overall strategy.

Alinghi Team General Manager for the past year, Grant Simmer now welcomes Patrick Magyar to work alongside him as Joint General Manager. Swiss citizen Patrick Magyar is respected for his experience as an administrator and is well-known for having been a director of the famous Weltklasse Zurich athletics meeting for many years.

Patrick is known in the Swiss sports world as President of the Swiss Athletics Federation and has proven his management skills as CEO of FIFA Marketing AG. Patrick will be responsible for team organisation in those areas not concerned with design or team competition preparation.
 Ernesto Bertarelli has decided to speak out (09/06/04)
 (sources :
TSR & L'Hebdo)

On the eve of the first act of the 32nd edition of the America's Cup, Ernesto Bertarelli, the boss of Alinghi, explained in an interview to the Swiss newspaper "l'Hebdo" why he had to separate from Russell Coutts.

Until now, Ernesto Bertarelli has remained silent, swallowing attacks and criticisms because he did not want to engage in a "ping-pong match" with someone who had been his friend.

"If I refrained from explaining myself until now, it is because I know from experience that it is very hard, under these circumstances, to win against a Russell Coutts. I am cast in the role of the evil man, I am financing the team and because of my wealth, in the eyes of the public, I am the one with the upper hand."

Here are short excerpts ...

"It was clear from the beginning that if we were to win the Cup, we would create two operational companies: Team Alinghi that would be in charge of the team, reporting to Russell, and America's Cup Management (ACM) headed by Michel Bonnefous, which would be in charge of managing the event. It was Russell himself who defended this idea, which is why his subsequent about-face puzzles me. When he says he was not allowed to define the design of the boats, that's not true."

"After the victory in Auckland, I gave him all the reins to repeat our success in 2007. But in Newport in late June, when he refused to come aboard, I was obliged to admit that there was a problem and that he was looking for a way to leave us".

"When he returned from his vacation in February, I began to realize that he was no longer committed to Alinghi. He came to my office and told me: "I am not motivated any more, I won the Cup three times, I have other projects, I would like to quit the team. He gave me his resignation, but I refused to accept it.".

"I gave him everything. He had total control on Alinghi. He was the one who decided to forego the operational aspects in order to satisfy his economic needs."

"Russell Coutts's salary ranks among the top 20 in Switzerland. He is as well-paid as the greatest football stars of today. I cannot divulge the terms of the contract, but you'd be shocked. His salary does not lag behind that of the main Swiss CEO's".

"The truth is that with Michel Bonnefous, our interest lies in preparing a beautiful event in 2007, while Russell Coutts wanted to make a lot of money. In November, he already received 75% of the enormous salary we agreed upon for the 2007 Cup."

"Russell Coutts and Alinghi Holding will find themselves in court. I will fight with all my strength to defend principles of integrity and loyalty. If people understand this, great; if not, too bad. But I know that this is the only way to build the future and to protect the team."

 New projects for Russell Coutts (08/18/04)
 (sources :
L'illustré & AFP)
"I'm serene whatever the situation. I can already announce that my project for a new competition with new types of boats will take shape," Russell Coutts told the Swiss weekly L'Illustré, without adding any details.

The New Zealander, who is also a multiple Olympic and world sailing champion, reiterated his concern at the commercial grip on yachting's oldest trophy, which has traditionally been a playground for the rich.

"I think especially that a system to control costs should be set up to allow the syndicates that are less well-off to be really competitive," he told the magazine.

"At the moment, no other team that's lining up has contacted me and that's understandable in view of the situation," he said.

The three-times America's Cup winner received a moral boost in an opinion poll in the Swiss weekly, as both Coutts and Alinghi appeared to be playing down their recent war of words by praising their time spent together.

Despite Bertarelli's popularity in Switzerland, 75 percent of Swiss polled said they disapproved of the rule stopping Coutts moving to another syndicate. However, 68 percent said they thought Alinghi could win the 2007 America's Cup.
 America's Cup challengers sense opportunity (08/03/04)
 (source :
The San Diego Union Tribune)
"I think this makes the Swiss real vulnerable," Bill Trenkle said last week upon hearing that the Alinghi defenders had fired Russell Coutts.

As the manager of Team Dennis Conner, Trenkle is trying to determine if the news of Coutts' departure is a window of opportunity for Conner's San Diego-based team.

"They really don't have a No. 2 at Alinghi," said Trenkle. "Brad Butterworth is second in command and has said he will stay. But when he worked with Dennis on the 1993-1994 Whitbread (around the world) race, we didn't find him to be a great leader.

"Under Coutts, Alinghi was very departmentalized with Coutts the strong leader and bottom line. He knows what to do and when to do it. It's pretty hard to replace a guy like that when you've put so many eggs in his basket."

Up until now, the type of sponsorship Conner needs to enter his ninth America's Cup has not been forthcoming.

"Any sign of vulnerability in this game stirs interest," said Trenkle. "It could be an opening for us. It's certainly a hit for Alinghi and any other team that would want to hire Coutts."