|How they did it|
|nzoom Mar 04, 2003
By Fiona McIlroy
|Alinghi's business model is one that many people
will admire for years to come, not just other America's Cup syndicates
but all people striving for success. In winning the America's Cup on
Sunday they wrote themselves into the history books by becoming
the first syndicate to win the Auld Mug on their first attempt.
When pharmaceutical billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli started talking about challenging for the America's Cup Swiss people initially saw it as one rich guy having some fun. [...]
Bertarelli has a wealth of around $9 billion and was happy to shell out several millions for the cause. But knowing that Switzerland is not home to a huge sailing population they had to look elsewhere for crew. In May 2000 it was announced that former Team New Zealand sailor Russell Coutts would helm the Swiss yacht. It was at that stage that people began to take the syndicate seriously... Coutts, however, has told reporters he had his doubts in those early stages of the campaign. [...]
The amazing thing was the ability of the syndicate to gel their 17 different nationalities together in less than three years. That has been the key to Alinghi's success, their ability to recruit the best people in every aspect of the campaign and get them working together - from the sailors, to the design team, the weather team and their shore crew. One of the key people in that bonding process was German-born strategist Jochen Schuemann. [...]
Their boat was not radical but reliable, their sailors were experienced and consistent and they managed to do the job in a tough environment. Alinghi were not the most popular of the challenging syndicates. They had to put up with plenty of public abuse, threatening letters and the Blackheart campaign, created by a group of New Zealand businessmen who considered Coutts and the other six Kiwis traitors. To many New Zealanders they had stolen their experts and now have stolen the Cup. But in reality their ability to recruit the top people in each area and more importantly to get them working flawlessly together has to be admired.
They won the America's Cup fair and square.