Eleven Teams Tell BMW Oracle: It’s Your Move 4


BMW Oracle seem to have been left out in the cold after a meeting between eleven Americas Cup Teams in Geneva yesterday. Now that Alinghi and Emirates Team New Zealand have settled their differences, the GGYC backed team was conspicuous in its absence from the meeting to get the 33rd Edtion of the Cup on the water. 

Eleven teams met at the Société Nautique de Genève, the first of several Competitor Meetings to discuss returning the competition to the water as soon as possible. The meeting was called for by the Defender’s event organising entity AC Management and chaired by Alinghi skipper Brad Butterworth.

The get-together follows a series of individual discussions between Alinghi and the challengers. At the top of the agenda was the need for a financially sustainable model that includes cost-containment measures, such as a one-boat campaign and the creation of a new class of race yacht; faster and more spectacular than the Version 5.0 used for the 32nd America’s Cup, but cheaper than the AC90 originally intended for the 33rd edition.

The new class would mean affordable participation for all existing teams, including the most recent entries, and will provide motivation for potential new challengers to join the 33rd America’s Cup, expected to take place in 2010.

At the end of the meeting, the eleven challengers present and the Defender signed a joint request addressed to BMW Oracle Racing and the Golden Gate Yacht Club asking them to withdraw their law suit and join the fair and constructive process of reviewing the applicable documents and schedule that will allow the America’s Cup to return to the water as soon as possible.

BMW Oracle’s political mastermind Tom Ehman said in a statment after the meeting:

We have offered repeatedly to drop our lawsuit if Alinghi commits to fair rules, and our offer still stands. We would like nothing better than to have a fully competitive multi-challenger America’s Cup on the water by 2010. We stand ready and willing to meet with Alinghi and all of the other competitors to discuss the future of the Cup, but without unreasonable pre-conditions.

BMW Oracle have done a pretty good job and portraying Ernesto Bertarelli and Alinghi as dictitorial and unfair in their approach to the 33rd Edition rules, but they will have a harder time demonising the UKs Team Origin and Emirates Team New Zealand who are parties to the letter.

  • Colin

    Fantastic news that there are teams who are willing to sit at the table rather than just mouth off the rhetoric. The Cup should be settled on the water. Ehman, Coutts, Ellison and Co. really need to respond in a positive way to these developments.

  • Gybe-0

    One wonders why this meeting couldn’t have happened months and months ago. Seems so petty – yeah its a big deal with tradition and it’s important, but you can’t tell me that these men who are supposed to be business hot-shots can’t sit down and nut it out in a couple of hours. Roll on 2010 with or without BMW Oracle.

  • FairWeather

    Yes – The meeting is encouraging.

    At the same time, Ehman’s point is a good one: Why the pre-conditions? If BMW Oracle enter then they lose all leverage to negotiate the issues they have, by Alinghi’s own rules. It’s essentially suicide – a capitulation to be over ruled going forward. Since it makes no sense for them to do that, it makes a ~lot~ of sense for Alinghi to address their concerns and thereby gain their entry and remove the legal uncertainty. If I were at that meeting yesterday then logically I’d have made that point abundantly clear, maybe even demanded it, before ever signing that letter.

    They are mostly just wasting their time until they get the larger issue resolved about if there even will be a multi-challenger AC to plan for. Including “fair rules” makes sense for all the competitors, I hope the next meeting addresses it.

  • Peter Huston

    Your business is geared towards making a profit by selling sailing events to companies who wish advertise their product or service in that market.

    Clearly, your reporting is skewed to the side of the equation in the America’s Cup that wants to only generate money from staging the event, regardless of whether or not the law which gives license to run the event is complied with.

    Therefore, it is perfectly understandable that your bias is towards Erne$to Bertarelli.

    Will you look very smart to the companies you wish to sell your product and services to by aligning yourself with Bertarelli while he tries to hijack the America’s Cup?

    If the Court rules in favor of GGYC and makes them the Challenger, will prospective sponsors be able to trust your advice, or whose interest you best represent, other than you own?