Friday, October 24, 2008

An interview with Alinghi

Photo Thierry Martinez
Sailkarma goes one on one with Alinghi.

-What topics are discussed between Mr. Ellison and Mr. Bertarelli during these meetings?
As the conversations are private, what is said between the two remains between them, what we do know however is that discussions between them are similar to ones that Ernesto has been having with other syndicate heads such as Patrizio Bertelli (Luna Rossa), Keith Mills (Team Origin) and Ignacio Sanchez Galan (Iberdrola - Desafio Espanol).
These are about the future and unlocking the current situation; with a longterm view and the better of the America's Cup in mind, Ernesto is ready to relinquish some of the Defender's rights and create a working process with other teams that provides mid-term stability, he has this in common with both Larry and the other team heads.

Discussions have also been about creating a new class for the America's Cup that fits with the current economic situation, and a will to curb the cost of running a campaign, again both elements he has in common with Larry, Bertelli, Mills and Galan. Now that SNG, Alinghi and ACM, along with the challenger of record, CNEV, have re-launched the 33rd America's Cup, these discussions will continue during competitor meetings planned over the coming weeks with all entered challengers.

-Why wasn't there a meeting in Trieste?
Good question, perhaps you could ask Larry and let us know? After agreeing to the meeting in his visit to Larry in California, Ernesto was on stand-by in Geneva that week waiting for Larry to confirm the day and the time in and around his racing the RC44, only to read in a press release that the meeting had been cancelled. Given the positive tone of the first meeting that Ernesto attended in the US, there was hope to continue along this path of finding a solution to the current impasse. Now that the 33rd ACup is re-launched, we hope that GGYC/BOR will drop their law suit and come and join the competitor meetings to create a new class of race yacht.

-Is there an issue between Mr. Bertarelli and Russell Coutts that needs to be cleared up before the event can move forward?
You should ask Russell Coutts this. It's his team that is holding the Cup hostage in the New York courts.

-Would having Russell Coutts and Brad Butterworth in the meeting with Mr.Ellison and Mr. Bertarelli help resolve the issues?
The meetings between Larry Ellison and Ernesto Bertarelli have been positive and could continue to be should Larry return to the table; we hope that he will.

-Is Alinghi interested in stopping the legal battle for the good of the sport?
Alinghi did not start the legal battle, BMW Oracle Racing did, and they have kept it going even after CNEV was ruled the legitimate Challenger of Record by the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court. The Defender is planning the 33rd America's Cup - scheduled for 2009 with a 2010 America's Cup Match in a new class of race yacht - as we speak, along with the Challenger of Record and the entered challengers. Stopping the legal battle is entirely in the hands of Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts.

-At what point to does Alinghi just say, "Let's go and beat them on the water again"?
As above, this power does not lie in the hands of the Defender, but in the hands of BMW Oracle Racing. It is their team that is holding the America's Cup event and community hostage in the Court of Appeals. The defending yacht club, Societe Nautique de Geneve, Alinghi, the Challenger of Record, CNEV and the entered challengers are working on the 33rd America's Cup with pre-regattas in V5s in 2009 and the Match in a new class of race yacht in Valencia in 2010. Several teams are competing on the 8&9 November in the AC Class during the CNEV annual regatta here in Valencia, so we are back on the water. It seems more a case of BMW Oracle not joining us and the challengers on the water.

-When will Alinghi's trimaran be finished?
We are forced to continue work on the DoG boat in case BMW Oracle succeed with their law suit.

- What is the meaning of the last cartoon about Russell Coutts and Tom Ehman pulling Larry Ellison strings? (see post Puppet Show) It's just an humourous summary of the current situation.

-What do you say to the future youth sailor that looks at the America's Cup and shakes their head?
We say, it is going back on the water regardless of what BMW Oracle is trying to do by forcing their way in to the Match through the legal system. Both Ernesto Bertarelli and Brad Butterworth have been in discussions at several levels with the challengers regarding the future of the America's Cup. And now that the event is re-launched, the entered teams will sit with the Defender and the Challenger of Record and craft a new class of racing yacht.

We would like pre-regattas in 2009 in the Version 5 AC Class and a Match in 2010 in the new class of boat. If one thing has been made obvious by BMW Oracle's efforts of the last year to force their way into the Match using a legal strategy instead of winning on the water, then it is the fact that there is a need to bring the Deed of Gift into the 21st century. The event needs mid-term stability, it needs to be governed not by the courts of New York, but by a people who understand the sport, for example those that have been trustees of the America's Cup. - Team Alinghi