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Alinghi legends- The ‘famous five’

by Alinghi Media on 1 Sep 2005
From left to right: Murray Jones, Dean Phipps, Brad Butterworth, Warwick Fleury and Simon Daubney - the Kiwi Five Th.Martinez http://www.thmartinez.com
Practice, perfection, professionalism and passion: all key elements of the Alinghi success. But the primary factor behind the Alinghi record is sheer talent.

The team is peppered with sailing ability of all nationalities (19 to be precise), but one nation stands out, at least at the back of the boat. It is made up of, what has been dubbed as the ‘famous five’: Brad Butterworth, Warwick Fleury, Simon Daubney, Murray Jones, Dean Phipps… names familiar to every young sailor, names that inspire.

This group of veterans has what is possibly the strongest alliance sailing in the 32nd America’s Cup. Tactician and Alinghi Vice President, Brad Butterworth; Mainsail trimmer, Warwick Fleury; Strategist, Murray Jones; Genoa trimmer, Simon Daubney and Runner/Pit, Dean Phipps, have sailed together since the mid 1980s. Among them, they have Olympic medals, Whitbread round-the-worlds and World Championships.

The ‘famous five’ came together in 1995 during the successful Team New Zealand challenge and have won every America’s Cup since. At 46 years old, Brad has the experience of seven Cups to his name and three wins plus a couple of round-the-worlds, one as watch captain for Sir Peter Blake on Steinlager II when she won the 1989-90 Whitbread Round The World Race. These boys have put in the miles.

Simon Daubney holds a similar record with six campaigns. Murray’s first Cup was in 1995 – he has four to his name – and Warwick, as did Brad, started the Cup game on the Kiwi’s12-M KZ-7. Dean Phipps, bowman extraordinaire and now runner/pit for Alinghi started at the age of 19 and is also on his seventh campaign, he raced on Steinlager II with Brad.

Dean is the only one of the group that has been part of non kiwi teams, (excluding Alinghi), the British challenge Victory ’83 and Australia IV.

We asked Brad Butterworth how it feels to be sailing with your best mates for over 20 years and still winning?

‘There are a lot of differences made in a team and having these guys around is fantastic because they make the boat faster and the job easier. It’s not rocket science to them. They’ve been doing it for a long time and have been coming up with the goods for a long time. We’ve got a great relationship and they are life long friends. It’s just great to be in a team with them’.

Is this strength of relationship what makes you so good?

‘Well, I would say that is a big part of it but now Alinghi has a bit of longevity in terms of its team and we’ve got some great characters on board, a great bunch of guys with whom the relationship is really strong and we can sail well together no matter what’.
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