Shortly after crossing the finishing line to secure the successful defence, Alinghi President and afterguard member Ernesto BERTARELLI (SUI) hoisted the America's Cup trophy over his head, his team at his side, in front of a crowd of nearly 40,000 who had gathered in Port America's Cup to share in the excitement.
The Commodore of the Société Nautique de Genève, Pierre-Yves FIRMENICH, and Michel BONNEFOUS, the CEO of the organizers of the 32nd America's Cup, were on hand at the prizegiving to see the team members of Alinghi pass the trophy from hand to hand, one to the other.
'This is definitely bigger and better than last time. It has been much, much harder than I ever thought it would be,'
BERTARELLI said after the prizegiving. 'I think I was a bit naive in 2003 when I won. I have learned more about the America's Cup over the last ten days than I have learned over the last seven years. It has really been an unbelievable experience in team building - to work with unbelievable people, through highs and lows and we have had a lot of them. I want to thank and mention the whole team. It's been a real lesson in life. One of the hardest things I've ever done and today is probably, beside the birth of my kids, the best day of my life.'
'This is a fantastic day forAlinghi,' agreed skipper Brad BUTTERWORTH (NZL). 'To win the America's Cup again after four years of hard work. The crew, the designers and the shore team have done an incredible job throughout the series; we have fought hard against a strong challenger and have won. We'll be celebrating tonight!'
The challenger, Emirates Team New Zealand, just fell short of its goal to bring the America's Cup to Auckland. The Kiwi team made this the closest America's Cup in living memory. Although the 1983 scoreline was closer, the races in that contest were one-sided. Here, nearly every race was a battle where the outcome was not clear until the winning boat crossed the finishing line.
Grant DALTON (NZL), the Managing Director and leader of Emirates Team New Zealand, said it was a disappointing loss, but Alinghi was the better team, 'Our guys have done an amazing job and right now the guys aren't feeling that sharp - it's been a long four years. I'm of course enormously proud of them but Alinghi did a better job than us,' he said. 'We enjoyed the Louis Vuitton Cup but knew it was a just a step along the rung to the ultimate prize of the America's Cup. We didn't come here to take part. We just came here to win it and we haven't done that. So now we have to re-group and see what the future holds.'
The Société Nautique de Genève has identified and signed a Challenger of Record for the 33rd America's Cup. The Protocol for the next America's Cup will be revealed on Thursday.
America's Cup Match
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The America's Cup Match and Challenger/Defender Series are designated as ISAF Special Events. For more information on the America's Cup, the Louis Vuttion Acts and the teams competing, visit the official America's Cup website - www.americascup.com.
For a complete list of all the news about the America's Cup 2007 CLICK HERE.