Ernesto Bertarelli interview

Mark Lloyd /
During his first Extreme Sailing Series foray as skipper, the Alinghi boss tells us of his sailing plans
Last week Ernesto Bertarelli made his first foray back onto the international yachting stage in two years, taking the helm of his 40ft Alinghi catamaran, for the Extreme Sailing Series in Muscat. As a team Alinghi has been sporadically involved in the Extreme Sailing Series since 2008 when, in preparation for the 33rd America’s Cup, Ed Baird steered the Swiss catamaran to overall victory. Last season Alinghi returned to the circuit, at the same time as Bertarelli personally became one of OC Thirdpole’s shareholders in the circuit, during a refinancing round. While Yann Guichard helmed the Alinghi catamaran last season, this season Bertarelli has himself taken over helming duties. So why this year rather than last year or next? “It is quite demanding,” Bertarelli told “I am not a professional and this is not the only thing I do with my life. I have to run my business and other interests, so it is the time commitment. I have spent a lot of time on the water these last 10-15 years and these last two years I wanted to give it a bit of a break. This year I want to do a bit more. I’m not sure I want to do every event, but this one [in Muscat] is nice because of the conditions. These guys are at it all the time and it is a good challenge for me to try and match them.” While Bertarelli is best known for the success of his Alinghi team winning and then successfully defending the America’s Cup, less well publicised is the fact that Bertarelli has been helming catamarans in his native Switzerland with considerable success for almost 20 years now. His first multihull was originally Stephen Fein’s Full Pelt Formula 40 trimaran, which he acquired in 1993, before trading this in for a Gino