Brad Butterworth, Skipper of Alinghi gave a media conference at the end of the Desafio Trophy in Valencia. The interview covered many topics including the process for creating a new class and the prospects of multihull racing against BMW Oracle.
The meetings between the 12 identified teams are due to continue and Butterworth says:
“The next meeting will be more interesting than the last because they will start talking about sizes, beams and drafts and weight. I think it will be somewhere between the current boat and the AC90 in length but a lot more modern boat, a lot more dynamic, and a lot more dynamic than what we are sailing now. There are no boundaries with the new boat. It’s not chaired by me. Each team sells their belief to the group. When you get them all together without outside input you’d be surprised how well it goes.”
More complicated is the method of controlling a proposed ‘one boat’ rule. Creating a new class that could be raced in other regattas during non-cup years and provide better payback for sponsors would make it difficult to police how many boats a team were building. Nevertheless Butterworth believes it could be done. “It’s an idea that came from the old J-boats, we are not talking about doing a Fastnet or Hobart, but something that we can sail in days races or short coastal races.”
Another idea that needs more thought it the defender competing against challengers to gain experience and learning so they are not put at a disadvantage by not having practise or racing before the defense. Butterworth prefers racing the challengers in a way that does not affect the outcome of their races. When asked why SNG didn’t invite more defenders as happened before the New Zealanders stopped it Butterworth was cagey – saying only that it would be detrimental.
Finally on the court case and BMW Oracle’s absence at the table Butterworth suggested that people who were not in the business of sailing had taken over the process.
“There have been divisive factions in the cup for many years. They are like a virus. Most of them a are lawyers or ex-rules advisors. Getting those guys out of the cup would make things a lot easier. The sport should be stuck in the sport. Guys that make a living out of causing problems haven’t helped anybody and this time its affected a lot of teams.”