Ernesto Bertarelli: Can we still call this the America’s Cup?

Published on April 12th, 2015

Ernesto Bertarelli, two-time winner of the America’s Cup, shares his view with LX Sailing on the current conditions for the 2017 edition…

The AC 48 is an interesting boat but registration costs for the AC have become higher than the boats…! It’s just a shame that the organizers can’t establish clear and transparent rules. I don’t know if they mean this, but the way they run things is quite obscure. Today, they want to revert to smaller boats; perhaps tomorrow they will do the opposite.

I am amazed to observe that they managed to upset Patrizio Bertelli, who played such an important role in the modern America’s Cup. It proves that Alinghi was right to pull out. Bertelli spent several tens of millions of Euros to develop a new boat and suddenly he is being told he did it for nothing.

I love the America’s Cup, I have won it, and it will be part of me forever, so of course I follow what’s happening. But it is disappointing to see what’s happening. Just think about the fact that they decided not to respect the rules of ISAF! This is an open door to any sort of trouble. It’s very disappointing.

There needs to be a proper Defender and a proper Challenger. That’s the base of the America’s Cup: two yacht clubs challenge each other and decide – together – the rules of the event. However, in the last two editions, the Defender chose a challenger that withdrew soon after, leaving full control to the Defender. I therefore ask a question: can we still call this the America’s Cup when it doesn’t follow the basic rules of the event?

If I was the Defender, I would call the strongest teams – Emirates Team New Zealand or Luna Rossa Challenge – and ask them to become the Challenger of Record. Today, people like Bruno Troublé say it’s a beach event that smells of french fries… It’s his opinion but when someone like him makes such comments, it means there is a problem.

I am happy I don’t find myself in Patrizio Bertelli’s place. I’ve had my share of frustrations, but now I have turned this page. My history with the America’s Cup ended in 2010. It might start again one day, for example if the Kiwis win the Cup and put fair rules in place. But not today!

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