Brad Butterworth set for America’s Cup challenge from skipper Alinghi
Brad Butterworth’s in-depth knowledge of the America’s Cup game could still prove to be vital for Swiss challenger Alinghi.
Brad Butterworth is set to return to the America’s Cup as skipper for Alinghi’s return to action.
The Société Nautique de Genève, Alinghi’s support club in Switzerland, is organizing an international press conference scheduled for Tuesday evening (NZT) where some of their plans will be unveiled.
Alinghi, who won the America’s Cup against Team New Zealand in Auckland in 2003 and successfully defended it against the Kiwis in Valencia in 2007, has been reportedly linked with a challenge for 2024.
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Butterworth, who left the New Zealand squad with Sir Russell Coutts and other key crew members in 2000, has maintained a sailing relationship with Alinghi boss Ernesto Bertarelli since their painful loss of l ‘Auld Mug for the benefit of American billionaire Larry Ellison during a Deed of Gift challenge in 2010.
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Italian media believe Butterworth will help organize Alinghi’s final challenge as a skipper out of the water, much like veteran Max Sirena did with Italian Luna Rossa in Auckland earlier this year.
The 62-year-old Butterworth’s vast Cup experience is seen as crucial to their challenge.
Hall of Fame winner Butterworth lacks the skills for the fast-foiling monohulls of the new America’s Cup, but he instinctively knows the ins and outs of the game and is considered a sage to help what might be an inexperienced crew. face the intense pressures of yachting’s most difficult scene.
As always, he will do everything possible to keep Team New Zealand on their toes, given his difficult relationship with Grant Dalton.
The Butterworth’s Cup trick was used by Luna Rossa in Auckland where he was belatedly recruited as “Head of External and Institutional Relations” to try and maximize their position as a record challenger battling the team. New Zealand and the authority of the event.
It has been suggested that Alinghi could sail under a foreign flag to avoid the strict nationality rules governing the next edition of the Cup.
But staying with the Société Nautique de Genève means Alinghi will have to base its crew around its successful Swiss sailing team that has dominated world circuits in smaller foil catamarans, largely with Arnaud Psarofaghis at the helm.
Psarofaghis joined the New Zealand SailGP team when Peter Burling was stationed at the Olympics and helped them register their first racing victory in the harsh environment of 50ft foil catamarans.
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There has also been plenty of speculation linking Alinghi to Formula One team Red Bull Racing, which has just helped star driver Max Verstappen win the world title in a thrilling duel with defending champion Lewis Hamilton in the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
With Sir Ben Ainslie’s new record challenger Britannis having the design power of Hamilton’s Mercedes outfit, the often bitter rivalry will turn from tarmac to water.