Brad Butterworth in 2003. Photo / Photosport
Alinghi’s return to the America’s Cup appears to be gaining momentum, with former Team New Zealand tactician Brad Butterworth named as the next skipper of the Swiss union.
Alinghi, the former arch nemesis of the New Zealand team that won the Auld Mug in Auckland in 2003 and defended it in 2007, is set to challenge the upcoming America’s Cup after 11 years of ‘absence, after paying the initial registration fee of $ 1.47 million for the 2024 regatta.
Italian sailing site Giornale della Vela reports that Butterworth – who was part of the NZ team’s defense for the 2000 Cup before leaving for Alinghi with Sir Russell Coutts and several other Kiwi crew – could be in line for help lead Alinghi’s latest challenge alongside his Swiss billionaire owner Ernesto Bertarelli.
However, Butterworth’s potential captain role would be out of the water in a “technical management” capacity, similar to how Max Sirena led Luna Rossa earlier this year.
Butterworth, 62, does not have the skills for new foiling monohulls in recent years, nor does he have the passport requirements to be on the boat, but will bring extensive experience as the one of the most talented tacticians in the world. The history of the Cup.
The Hall of Fame recipient has reportedly maintained a relationship with Bertarelli since Alinghi’s America’s Cup loss to Oracle in the Deed of Gift challenge in 2010.
His experience is seen as a crucial factor in what a young Alinghi team could be like.
Butterworth also brought her expertise to Luna Rossa at the America’s Cup in Auckland this year, acting as a facilitator between the hosts and the local authorities.
According to Italian media, Alinghi is also negotiating the purchase of the first generation AC75 from Team NZ.
There has also been speculation that Alinghi’s challenge will come with the renowned backing of the Red Bull Formula 1 team, who just saw their driver Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to win the F1 World Championship on Monday.
Alinghi’s return could rekindle another rivalry with Challenger of Record Ineos Britannia, who worked with Hamilton’s Mercedes team ahead of their America’s Cup challenge in Auckland earlier this year.