After a few weeks of clandestine meetings and rumours, powerplays, conflicting public statements and the usual Americas Cup stuff – Alinghi released a statement yesterday declaring the 33rd Edition of the Cup ‘Back on track’. The partner for this relaunch, the disputed (though currently valid) Challenger of Record – Club Nautico Espanol de Vela.
Watch this space for the other teams’ reaction, especially BMW Oracle!
America’s Cup defending yacht club, Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), the Defender Alinghi and their event organising body AC Management (ACM) are taking the necessary steps to get the 33rd America’s Cup back on track in partnership with the Challenger of Record – Club Náutico Español de Vela (CNEV) – and all challengers keen to join the competition.
Over the past weeks, Alinghi team president Ernesto Bertarelli and skipper Brad Butterworth have met with challengers to discuss the future and, to this end, the Defender is re-launching the process of the 33rd America’s Cup with the aim of having it back on the water as soon as possible under terms to be discussed and accepted by all those joining the competition.
“We feel that there is an opportunity to move ahead with the competition,” says Brad Butterworth. “Teams, sailors and the whole America’s Cup community are keen to return to sailing. We want to get this competition going and get the entered challengers to participate in a constructive process. Both GGYC and RNZYS are invited to abandon their respective legal proceedings and join the competition.”
ACM is re-opening entries for a multi-challenger 33rd America’s Cup from now until 15 December 2008 with the intention of having a Match in 2010 in a new and modern class of race yacht and with pre-regattas in 2009 on the existing Version 5 ACC yachts. Teams already entered under the 33rd Protocol along with any new entries will participate in the consultation process to take place in the coming weeks. Subject to a final agreement with the Spanish authorities, the 33rd America’s Cup will take place in Valencia.
Cost containment remains a priority to everyone – all the more significant in today’s economic climate – and the 33rd America’s Cup should be a one-boat campaign for all teams, including the Defender. Alinghi should therefore participate in the Challenger Selection Series to achieve equal opportunity to test its competitiveness.
The new class rule – to be drafted by entered teams – anticipates a fast and powerful monohull with excellent upwind performance and generous sail area for exciting downwind speed. It should be suitable for both match and fleet racing and would be designed for use at other racing events. “The concept for discussion with entered challengers is to design a boat that is faster and more spectacular than the old V5 ACC but significantly cheaper than the AC90 defined in 2007 under very different economic circumstances,” says Butterworth.
If, next year, the New York Court of Appeals ultimately decides CNEV is not the valid Challenger of Record, SNG may be forced to meet Golden Gate Yacht Club in a Match governed by the terms of the Deed of Gift. In this event, ACM intends to continue with a series of regattas in Valencia scheduled for 2009 and 2010; these will be independent of the Deed of Gift Match.