Alinghi back in America’s Cup as entries officially open

Hamish Ross worked for Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi team, after this 2003 Cup victory in Auckland


Hamish Ross worked for Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi team, after this 2003 Cup victory in Auckland

The highly-anticipated return of former champion syndicate Alinghi to the America’s Cup appears to be a reality.

Entries for the next America’s Cup regatta officially opened on Wednesday and Stuff understands Alinghi have jumped at the chance to get involved again in yachting’s biggest spectacle.

Team New Zealand confirmed “several challenges” had been received though said it was up to the individual teams to announce their intentions publicly.


Grant Dalton talks to Stuff after the protocol for the 37th America’s Cup was announced

“The Defender (RNZYS & Emirates Team New Zealand) have had very positive initial interest and already received a number of entries,” Team New Zealand told Stuff in a statement.

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“However, in terms of the identities of the challengers, it is up to the teams themselves to announce their individual challenge when they are ready as some do wish to remain confidential for now.”

There has been much speculation around a return by the Alinghi team, with suggestions they could be backed by Formula One giant Red Bull racing, bringing them into line with challenger of record Britannia who have significantly boosted their powerful partnership with F1 champions Mercedes.

Alinghi’s presence seriously lifts the intensity for the 37th edition of the Cup to be sailed at a venue yet to be announced, with Cork in Ireland, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and a multi-city bid from Spain on the international short-list alongside Auckland’s fading hopes.

Ernesto Bertarelli had Kiwi yachting stars like Russell Coutts and Brad Butterworth to thank for his 2003 America's Cup success in Auckland.

John Selkirk/Stuff

Ernesto Bertarelli had Kiwi yachting stars like Russell Coutts and Brad Butterworth to thank for his 2003 America’s Cup success in Auckland.

Backed by Swiss billionaire Erenesto Bertarelli, Alinghi won the America’s Cup at their first attempt in 2003 in Auckland.

Bertarelli had plundered the champion Team New Zealand crew and saw off the Kiwis 5-0 in The Match.

They then went on to defend the Auld Mug in Valencia in Spain in 23007, again beating Team New Zealand in the final, this time 5-2.

Alinghi eventually lost the Cup to Larry Ellison’s Oracle syndicate in 2010 in a Deed of Gift challenge in Valencia featuring massive multihulls.

Bertarelli has kept his team together, proving to be a force in fast catamaran sailing, winning several world titles in foiling boats. This will help him with an America’s Cup sailing squad that must fit into much stricter nationality rules this time.

Alinghi have been in the market for a first generation AC75, the impressive foiling monohull design introduced at Auckland 2021 and retained for the next two editions of the Cup.

Teams who contested Auckland are able to sell their old boats which can be sailed early by new syndicates looking to catch up on the technology which has taken another step forward in the protocol and class rule delivered for 2024.

Getting entries in early helps. The order of entry determines the allocation of the new AC40 yachts to be used for testing and the youth and women’s America’s Cups, as well as team bases at the venue of the 37th America’s Cup.

Just three challengers turned up in Auckland and the early interest is a promising sign of a bigger fleet for the next edition.

American Magic have confirmed they are staying in the game and Italian challenger Luna Rossa have also indicated they will be involved.

Sir Ben Ainslie’s British syndicate are in the thick of the planning in their new role as the challenger of record.


Emirates Team New Zealand COO, Kevin Shoebridge talks to Stuff after the announcement of protocols for the 37th America’s Cup

Signing up is one thing – turning up is another matter entirely as the financial and technical pressures mount in a hugely expensive and competitive game.

Last time touted challenges from Malta and the United States never tuned into reality.

But Stars + Stripes, which failed to get to Auckland, are eager to be in the mix this time.

Teams have until July 31 next year to enter, though late entries will be accepted up until May 341, 2023 – at an added cost.

Kevin Shoebridge, chief operating officer at Team New Zealand, said there had been “very positive initial interest” since the release of the protocol on November 17.

“Feedback and interest from prospective teams, both existing and new has been very encouraging,” he said.

Aaron Young, commodore of the RNZYS, added: “Certainly this is a really positive indication and start to the 37th America’s Cup, which I think is a reflection on all of the incredible work that has been going on over the past eight months.”

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