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.