Thursday, November 13, 2008

Oracle reacts positively....

[Excerpt] MADRID - US challenger Oracle reacted positively to the announcement of an agreement on new rules for the next America's Cup that may help resolve its legal battle with Swiss champions Alinghi.

"They were some positive things, we are definitely making progress, we are getting to a point where we agree to most of the points," Oracle's New Zealand skipper Russell Coutts said.
Alinghi representatives met in Geneva yesterday with 10 of the 12 challengers for the 33rd edition of the yachting's most prestigious event.

Alinghi announced afterwards that agreement had been reached on new rules on the nominations for the competition's Arbitration Panel, the Race Committee and for other senior positions.

"A large majority of the teams entered in the 33rd America's Cup today achieved another milestone in the process of getting the event back on the water," Alinghi said.

But both teams say they want to avoid the face-off, and Coutts said Oracle backed Alinghi's proposal last month for a 2010 Cup using a new and faster but cheaper class of yacht than the AC90s which competed in the 2007 competition.

If it wins the court case, Oracle, as the official "challenger of record", will try to negotiate a deal with Alinghi to this effect, said Coutts.

He said Oracle boss Larry Ellison intended to speak to his counterpart at Alinghi, Ernesto Bertarelli, about continuing discussions on a possible compromise solution.

New talks between the two billionaires, who met in late September, is considered essential to finding a solution to the row which has paralyzed the oldest continuously held competition in sport.

Coutts also said he had "good discussion" last weekend with Alinghi skipper and fellow New Zealander Brad Butterworth on how the dispute could be resolved. - AFP