In the Cup’s long history, no other afterguard member has won so many races in succession as Butterworth. As tactician aboard three winning boats (New Zealand’s Black Magic in 1995 and 2000, and Switzerland’s Alinghi in 2003), and as skipper of Alinghi in 2007, Butterworth set a new Cup record with 16 consecutive America’s Cup race victories.
Born in Te Awamutu, New Zealand, Butterworth performed with distinction in junior sailing before graduating to big boats. He was tactician for both Chris Dickson in New Zealand’s first America’s Cup challenge in 1986-87, and for Russell Coutts aboard New Zealand’s successful trial horse in 1992, into the Louis Vuitton finals. After that, they were always in the number one boats while also winning world championships in match racing. Butterworth, watch captain for Sir Peter Blake on Steinlager II when she won the 1989-90 Whitbread ‘Round the World Race, was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) after New Zealand won the Cup in 1995.
Butterworth is a grandmaster in the game of maritime chess. On his role as tactician, Butterworth reflected: “My job is to observe the other boats when racing…I have to decide where we ought to be, in which direction we ought to go, given the wind and the adversary’s position.”
As skipper of ALINGHI, he successfully defended the Cup against TEAM NEW ZEALAND in 2007, but lost the Cup to BMW ORACLE RACING in 2010.