We take a video tour around the 108ft catamaran as Ernesto Bertarelli declares, ‘We’re ready to go’

“They’ve taken us to court and the Jury ten times,” said Alinghi’s head Ernesto Bertarelli as he expressed his frustration at the build up to the 33rd America’s Cup. “I’m in it for the sailing not the legal stuff. Let’s get away from the squabbles and see who has the fastest boat.”

With just over two weeks to go until the 33rd America’s Cup, Bertarelli’s defending team opened its doors to the media this week. We took the opportunity to take a stroll around the 108ft catamaran as she sat on the dock.

The open day kicked off with a questions and answers session and quickly the topic of conversation moved to the question over the legality of the Swiss team’s sails that, according to BMW Oracle Racing, are in breach of the terms set out by the Deed of Gift which stipulates that the boat has to be constructed in the country of the competing yacht club.

Given the short time frame left before the racing kicks off, the issue is a hot one.

“The sails technology that has been used in America’s Cups for over 15 years is Swiss technology, intellectual property developed by two Swiss individuals one of which is on our team,” explained Bertarelli.
“The funny thing about this latest law suit is that the American team is arguing over our sails and our technology and if you look at the reality, our boat is one that comes truly from the heritage of Lake Geneva sailing. Whereas BMW Oracle is really a copycat of a French boat, to the point that when they launched the boat they had to call Groupama’s sailing team to go and sail the boat as they had no idea how to get it started.”

As the New York court prepares to receive the papers on this issue, the Cup circus is starting to consider what might happen in the meantime.

“We take the view that after nine court cases, what really matters for us is who will be going around the course the fastest,” he continued.

But would the team be competitive without 3DL sails?

“No, I don’t think so,” said Alinghi’s skipper Brad Butterworth. “They’ve got a wing in their boat so they’ve taken it to another stage which is something we didn’t have the time to do. They’ve had a year longer sailing their boat.”

“They declared a sloop,” added Bertarelli. “When they finally declared their boat it had a mast, a mainsail and a jib. Right now their boat doesn’t look like a sloop, it looks more like a cat [rig] especially when it goes upwind. Where’s the main and where’s the jib?”

So is there a possibility that the racing will be delayed?

“No, I don’t think it’s possible. It has been mandated by the New York Supreme Court. There is no reason to delay,” he continued. “We have to go racing now. The America’s Cup is like a long marathon. You race for two and half years and this race is now the final sprint.

“We go racing every day now, we don’t hide anything and the finish line is the 8th February.

“I’m not afraid of losing the America’s Cup. If you start being afraid you will not win the America’s Cup as we have done twice.”

SHORETALK: Tomorrow’s podcast features interviews with Butterworth and Coutts, plus we hear from multihull guru Cam Lewis, one of the few people in the world to have sailed with a solid wing in the America’s Cup. In 1988 he was aboard Dennis Conner’s winning Stars and Stripes. How dos he think the current two will shape up? Don’t miss it!