Navigation

Victorious Alinghi rewrites America's Cup rules

Alinghi skipper Russell Coutts (left) and director Michel Bonnefous present the new protocol Keystone

As European sailing clubs jostle to host the next America's Cup, this year's winners Switzerland's Team Alinghi has rewritten the prestigious regatta's rules.

This content was published on March 4, 2003 - 16:56

The new document aims to modernise the 152-year-old competition.

Alinghi became the first European team in history to win the cup when it completed a 5-0 whitewash over Team New Zealand on Sunday.

"Our goal is to make this event even better than it was so far," Alinghi executive director Michel Bonnefous told reporters.

Rule changes

Alinghi joined forces with the challenger of record, the United States-based syndicate Oracle, and announced plans to remove some of the traditional advantages enjoyed by the defending team.

The amended protocol calls for a single, independent management organisation to be set up. A regatta director will manage the challenger selection series and the Cup match, and appoint the Cup's technical, legal and administrative bodies.

Since 1870, the defender has been able to make Cup rules to suit itself - a rule that correspondents say enabled the New York Yacht Club to hold the trophy for 132 years.

More open

One key change to the protocol is the removal of rules that require crew to hold residency in the country they are representing.

Teams can now include sailors of different nationalities, while boat designers will be able to work for any, but only one, team during a regatta.

Alinghi said the changes would enable new teams to come in on a much more level platform with existing teams.

The Swiss syndicate hopes that as many as 20 challengers - up from nine at the latest regatta - will contest the next America's Cup, which is due to take place in 2007.

Med ahead?

The Alinghi syndicate - which is backed by the biotechnology billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli - has not yet decided where it will stage the next regatta, but officials said it would be held somewhere in Europe.

Landlocked Switzerland has no coastline of its own and so Alinghi will pick a location, perhaps somewhere along the Mediterranean's coastline.

Among those vying to host the 2007 event is Cowes on England's Isle of Wight, Cascais in Portugal as well as ports in France, Spain, Italy and the principality of Monaco.

The Swiss syndicate said it would make a decision on the venue by December 15.

Stable weather

Russell Coutts, Alinghi's skipper, said consistent weather conditions would be a key factor in deciding where the event would be held. Bad weather was a problem for both teams during the latest regatta off Auckland.

Bertarelli criticised organisers for the long delays between rounds, with races postponed several times due to wind conditions.

Fleet regatta

A series of fleet and match racing regattas will be held around the world to allow preliminary racing between potential challengers and the defender.

The first such race will be held in Team Oracle's home waters, at the Golden Gate Yacht Club off San Francisco later this year.

"The regatta will have a big kick-off. It will be kicked off in the way of a massive fleet regatta with all the participants including the defender," Alinghi said.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

Switzerland's Team Alinghi has amended the America's Cup protocol in a bid to modernise the 152-year-old competition.

It said it had eliminated some of the traditional advantages enjoyed by the defending team.

It also removed rules that require crew to hold residency in the country they are representing.

Alinghi said the changes would enable new teams to come in on a much more level platform with existing teams.

The syndicate has not yet decided where it will stage the next regatta, but officials said it would be held somewhere in Europe.

End of insertion

This article was automatically imported from our old content management system. If you see any display errors, please let us know: community-feedback@swissinfo.ch

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI swissinfo.ch certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at english@swissinfo.ch.

Share this story

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?