America’s Cup: Alinghi Red Bull Racing – Aiming for a Swiss Hat Trick?

Founded in a landlocked country, the Swiss entry in the America’s Cup surprised the sailing world when it not only won in 2003 but repeated the victory in 2007. Team Alinghi’s founder, Ernesto Bertarelli has now partnered with major sports sponsor, Red Bull, to confirm Switzerland’s yachting reputation for a third time.

What is the history of Switzerland’s involvement in the America’s Cup?

The Alinghi syndicate, having only been created in 2000, came to the public’s attention in 2003. That was the memorable year when the team’s founder, Ernesto Bertarelli, won the America’s Cup in Auckland. Alinghi became the first European syndicate to win the America’s Cup since the competition was founded in 1851. It was also the first team ever to win on its debut. Not resting on his laurels, Bertarelli’s team successfully defended the trophyin 2007 in Valencia. It was an event described as one of the most memorable in the Cup’shistory. However, in 2010 prize Cup, affectionately known as the Auld Mug, headed back into American hands.

Who is Ernesto Bertarelli?

The sale of his biotechnology company, which had developed highly successful treatments,made Bertarelli a billionaire. He devoted some of his gains to sailing. It was a skill he had developed in his youth, sailing the family vessel “Alinghi”. Bertarelli caused something of a stir in America’s Cup circles when Alinghi took advantage of a change in the nationality rules. This enabled him to hire many of the world’s top America’s Cup sailors, particularly from New Zealand. Bertarelli was Team Alinghi’s only Swiss national serving in 2003 and 2007. A Swiss flag on the rudder can only be viewed when the foiling monohull is under full sail and out of the water. It may be the only visual sign that Alinghi represents Switzerland. However, this time, the team lineup in Barcelona this autumn is 90% Swiss.

“Team Alinghi was the first team ever to win on its debut”

What makes Alinghi’s challenge different?

In December 2021, Bertarelli announced the launch of a new team, Alinghi Red Bull Racing, aiming to lift the world’s oldest international sports trophy for the third time in the 37th America’s Cup. Bertarelli says he aims to do something different with the new partnership. “While keeping the winning spirit that has always been at the heart of Alinghi, we want this challenge to do something totally different, totally new, and totally fresh.” The co-founder of Red Bull, Dietrich Mateschitz, echoed the sentiment, “Our way is not to get into the sport as sponsors, but to blend into the team, to form a true partnership, to nurture young athletes and turn them into the best in their field.”