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Alinghi during the Americas Cup in New Zealand (in new window)

Alinghi during the Americas Cup in New Zealand© Max Ranchi /

It may seem surprising that Switzerland, a land without a coastline, should be a successful sailing nation.

In 2007 the Alinghi team established by Swiss entrepreneur and sailing enthusiast Ernesto Bertarelli, won the Americas Cup for the second time, beating the challenger Team New Zealand.

It first won the cup, regarded as the top prize in world yacht racing, in 2003.

The successful yacht was partly designed and built by scientists at the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.

As the winner, the Alinghi team had the right to choose the venue for the defence of its title in 2007. It could not choose its landlocked home base, and picked Valencia, in Spain.

Alinghi’s domination of the America’s Cup is now over. On 14 February 2010, Alinghi lost to its rival BMW Oracle on the waters off Valencia.

Switzerland has also produced a number of successful round-the-world and trans-Atlantic sailors, including Steve Ravussin, Bernard Stamm, Dominique Wavre and the Franco-Swiss Laurent Bourgnon.

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