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AC36: America's Cup winner John Bertrand offers to help Slingsby

Monday, November 6, 2017

SYDNEY – The above headline appeared in an AP article on Friday after John Bertrand (AUS) was inducted into the new Australian Sailing Hall of Fame. Mr Bertrand was the skipper of AUSTRALIA II representing the Royal Perth Yacht Club when they lifted the Cup from New York Yacht Club in 1983, ending NYYC's 132-year winning streak.

 

Key excerpt from the full AP article:

 

"Tom Slingsby is endeavoring to pull it together. I've said to Tom, 'I'll help in any way I can'," Bertrand told Australian Associated Press on Friday. "But it's up to the people who are willing to underpin something like this to maybe 90 percent of the total budget, so that's always the challenge."

 

Bertrand says there is no doubt that Australia has the technology and sailors to make a successful challenge.

 

"But as we say in the hard-nosed world of the America's Cup, 'no cash, no splash', so you've got to have the bucks to be able to play this game," Bertrand said.

 

It is interesting to note that it is Mr Slingsby (AUS) is reported, yet again, as the spear carrier for a possible Australian challenge not Jimmy Spithill (AUS/USA.) Mr Spithill, of course, was the winning skipper when Larry Ellison's ORACLE TEAM USA representing San Francisco's Golden Gate Yacht Club won the Cup in 2010 and 2013.

 

And in a related note, late last week via a post to his Facebook page Jimmy corrected a media report about his and OTUSA's future AC intentions. Jimmy's post:

 

I’d like to correct an inaccurate report in a recent New Zealand publication. I never said Oracle Team USA would try and win back the next America’s Cup. What I did say in an interview with Red Bull was that as someone who doesn’t like losing, I naturally want to get back out on the field of play for another shot. Whether this will be in the next edition or in the future, I don’t know. Right now I’m keeping my options open until all the facts are known. 

 

In reality, I have not heard from Larry on what his plans may or may not be relating to the future America’s Cup in New Zealand. Presumably Oracle would be waiting to review the AC rules, however I could equally imagine them having other plans.

 

In fairness to Jimmy, he never said Larry Ellison or ORACLE TEAM USA would be back for AC36.

 

But in fairness to the NZL website that originally posted the story (similar stories appeared in a number of publications, including Sailing Illustrated though we pooh-poohed it), twice Jimmy used the word "we" in the Red Bull interview. Apparently it was the "royal" we:

 

We will definitely be chasing this America’s Cup. We want to go and get that Cup back. When you’ve been involved with a great group of people, especially a successful team, it is addictive. It does become an obsession. Once you get the taste of it, you want to taste it again.

 

Read Mr Spithill's full the Red Bull interview here.

 

John Bertrand (AUS, left) congratulates Tom Slingsby (AUS) after he was awarded Yachtsman of the Year in Australia in 2011. Photo courtesy of Sail-World.com.

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