Ernesto Bertarelli: America’s Cup Hall of Fame 2016

Published on October 17th, 2016

Ernesto Bertarelli is one of two new members of the America’s Cup Hall of Fame, with the 2016 Class to be inducted at a ceremony in New York City on October 21 at the New York Yacht Club.

As founder, owner, and crew member of the first Cup boats from Switzerland, all named Alinghi, Ernesto Bertarelli won the America’s Cup in Auckland, New Zealand in 2003, and defended it successfully in Valencia, Spain in 2007. In 2010, at Valencia, in the first Cup match between two multihulls, Alinghi’s, winning streak came to end.

Bertarelli sailed aboard his Cup yachts continuing the Cup tradition of owner-sailors that have included Harold Vanderbilt, T.O.M. Sopwith, and Ted Turner. Bertarelli competed in all the races in the 31st, 32nd, and 33rd America’s Cup matches in several roles, including navigator, afterguard member, backstay trimmer, and, in 2010, as helmsman.

As the first Cup winner from continental Europe, he took the Cup back to Europe and produced the 32nd America’s Cup in Valencia, which was among the most successful events in the competition’s post-war history: the event hosted more challengers than any other with the exception of the 1987 Cup and it witnessed exciting races including Alinghi’s, thrilling, one-second victory over Emirates Team New Zealand in the final race.

Bertarelli’s vision for the America’s Cup clearly broke boundaries: he organized the first Louis Vuitton Acts (now called the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series), a series of regattas for the challengers and the defender, which toured venues in Europe. This format allowed Cup crews to sharpen their skills and it also helped raise and maintain the public’s awareness of the America’s Cup during the years leading-up to the challenger selection series.

The 33rd Match in 2010, beset by legal challenges, was eventually decided on the water by gigantic multihulls, the fastest Cup yachts ever built up to that time, with Alinghi losing the Cup to BMW Oracle Racing.

Alongside his achievements in other highly competitive circuits, Ernesto Bertarelli demonstrated a depth of ability to build talented teams and a remarkable determination to win. He has created a new winning tradition in Swiss sailing and has both inspired and invested in the next generation of his nation’s sailors.

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