America’s Cup victor presented special award

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Despite legal hassles and controversies still swirling around the America’s Cup, Ernesto Bertarelli, head of reigning Cup holder Team Alinghi, was honored in Rome, Italy, on Tuesday at Audi’s annual Sailor of the Year gala, according to a report in Scuttlebutt Europe.

Bertarelli was given a special award in honor of Paolo Venanzangeli, an Italian America’s Cup journalist who passed away a year ago.

“I was born in Rome and started sailing in Civitavecchia [in Rome] with my father, a sailing fan, so I am particularly honored and very happy to receive this prize here in Italy for what we achieved during the 32nd America’s Cup with Alinghi and AC Management,” said Bertarelli in the report. “We very much hope to return to the water soon. Thanks you again for the award – I am proud of it.”

Alinghi has won two consecutive America’s Cups since its formation in 2000. Their first win, in 2003, brought the Cup to Europe for the first time in its 152-year history, according to the race’s Web Site (www.americascup.com).

Also honored that night was Giovanni Soldini and Pietro D’Ali, winners of the 2007 Transat Jaques Vabre, who won the Audi Sailor of the Year Award.

- Elizabeth Ellis