Société Nautique de Genève invitation
Today, Wednesday September 5, the Société Nautique de Genève invited BYM News to join Brad Butterworth, skipper of the America's Cup winning Alinghi yacht, Hamish Ross, Alinghi General Counsel and Michel Hodara, Chief Operating Officer of America's Cup Management in a telephone media briefing and discussion from Geneva. It was an opportunity for the Defender to make several announcements, concerning the 33rd America's Cup, and to offer some clarity and information with regards to the current litigation. Journalists were able to put questions after the announcements.
Brad Butterworth opened by saying this was a time of coming to grips with 'today', after all the focus and hard work, over a long period, that had gone into successfully defending the America's Cup and in making the event a success. He said that, in some ways, much of the success hadn't really registered with him, during the racing, as he spent so much of it standing behind Ed Baird. "It was afterwards, when so many people kept coming up to me and saying 'What a great game it was.' that I realised just how much of a great thing it was." he said
Coming back from holiday, Brad said he now saw the last Cup as a milestone; "New Zealand sailed well and really showed how good Alinghi is and how good the designers are; Graham, Rolf and the boys behind the sails and the mast are fantastic. Now it's time to push all that to the back, because the 33rd is looming; a new vision, new dream and the big thing that's different is the change of class."
That change was inspired several years ago, Brad explained. "It started in 2001, being in Cowes for the Jubilee regatta. The weather was nice and added to the beauty of big boats sailing up and down Solent. We were on a 12 metre and the Js and big boats were sailing and it was so inspiring; we felt we could do the same thing.
A lot of people were getting tired of these present boats, there's been talk since Auckland about the need for a change, but the inspiration to make these boats bigger and bigger really is going back in time."
He continued "To see those old boats sailing, takes you back to thinking about the characters who've been involved; Sopwith, Vanderbilt, the titans of the US industry. The J class was state of the art at the time and we want to go from there to the modern era. Carbon fibre boats, with unlimited sail area and big bowsprits out the front; they are going to be dynamic to sail and, with no motorised gadgets on them, it's going to be very athletic. Imagine seeing all those lined up and sailing around in a fleet race; it will be a very unusual spectacle that will go down in the history of the Cup. For me it's just inspiring."
Butterworth went on to explain that, by having a nice, tight design, box rule and having these new boats, real opportunity would be created for the newer teams, because they would be able to come in and design a boat on equal terms. Also, by limiting the teams to sailing the boats one at a time and only competing in the races, costs would be limited and it would create a real spectacle. To that end, he said, meetings had been held, over the last few days, with the registered entrants and other partners and the formal design consultation period, will start in mid September. "We'll hire a guy who has been around, but independently, to oversee the process so we can move forward on that and have something out by 31 October."