After the Team New Zealand had successfully defended the AC 2000 with its first class NZL-60, both the LVC 2002/03 and the AC were again held in the Hauraki Gulf of Auckland. A yacht club from a landlocked country (.. "the land-locked Switzerland .... with no arm to the sea ..") challenged for the first time the AC and brought it back to Europe after 152 years. Money was the most important role. The New Zealand team was falling apart. More than 30 crew members have been bought up mainly by Alinghi and OneWorld.From the sail numbers SWE-63 (Örn = eagle) to NZL-82 20 new yachts were built.Ilbruk Challenge, supported by the entrepreneur and off-shore sailor Michael Ilbruk was the first German team ever signing up its challenge.As the challenge was subsequently withdrawn, their GER-68 was launched, but not completed.
As in many previous cases before the LVC showed a lot more candidates interested in a challeng than the 9 remaining teams The New Zealand journalist and photographer Ivor Wilkins described them as "a pack of 9 hungry challengers, many of them supported by the richest men in the world and armed with transplanted New Zealand talents and their ingenuity."
SUI-64, the winner of the AC 2003
NZL-82 the hapless defender of the AC 2003AC 2003
A yacht club from a landlocked country (.. "the land-locked Switzerland .... with no arm to the sea ..") challenged for its first time the AC
SUI-64 Alinghi first European winner of an AC after 152 years
Yacht / Country : “ALINGHI “ / CHSailnumber : SUI 64Syndicate : Team AlinghiCEO : Ernesto BertarelliYacht Club : Societe Nautique de GeneveDesign : Grant Simmer, Rolf VrolijkBoat Builder : Decision SA, CHSkipper : Russel Coutts
This Cup was not running very well for the Team New Zealand. Their organisation was falling apart and more than 30 members joined other syndicates. For example the skipper Russel Coutts and the tactician Brad Butterworth moved to Alinghi, the designer Laurie Davidson to OneWorld.The design team developed a hullappendage, called “Hula”. A shell, - separated by a thin gap- after the fin and around the rudder should increase the volume and the length of the hull. In five races NZL 82 could not finish 2 times. Shortly after the start in race 1 she took plenty of water (estimated 1-2 tons) running over the side into her cockpit. In race 4 her mast was stressed in a couple of short and heavy waves and broke. SUI - 64 won 5 : 0
NZL-82: The dramatic loser of the AC 2003This Cup was not running very well for the Team New Zealand. Their organisation was
The British magazine Yachting World described Alinghis CEO Ernesto Bertarelli as “one of this second generation phenomenon turning his fathers traditional pharmaceutical company into a biotech powerhouse.” (Remark: which he sold later at a very profitable price.) In the same stile he founded and organized his team Alinghi. He collected a top team including Russel Coutts, Brad Butterworth and others who know for example the windsituation in the Hauraki Gulf very well.
Grant Simmer , Rolf Vrolijk and others of the design team constructed a top yacht.After the not very successful team FAST 2000 with SUI-59 “Be Happy”, Alinghi became 3 years later the second Swiss team challenging for the AC, which they won with SUI-64.The first time after 152 years the America’s Cup returned to Europe.
At the "unveiling day" when all its participants must show the substructure of their yachts,theSwiss painted as fun a cow on the keel.