Over the last few weeks, it had seemed that a certain kind of rationalism had come to the Americas Cup fiasco. The team principals were making the right noises, meetings were happening and there were signs that everything was back on track.
Away from the public statements however things were different. Despite the conciliatory murmurings from BMW Oracle, they launched their 90 foot Trimaran in San Diego and refuse to drop their legal action. Despite parts of the Alinghi camp saying that everything would be negotiated with the teams, they have retreated to dictating terms.
From our point of view, we can’t really tell who is being grown up about it, but suspect that over the last couple of days -both sides have fallen back into a position of churlishness. Perhaps we should blame the Australians. After all, the Americas cup just hasn’t been the same since the Aussies broke the unofficial rule – that the Americans never lose. Since then, there has been a pattern of the Americans resorting to legal solutions when things don’t go their way.
That said, Alinghi have done a few things over recent days that make you wonder whether either of them should have any right to the custody of the competition. While Larry Ellison’s letter to the Alinghi chief read with a calm and collected tone, the response, released yesterday is more impassioned, definitely frustrated and a little desperate. Rather than make a comment on Bertarelli’s letter, we’ll let you make your own conclusions. (Full Letter).
Meanwhile a report in New Zealand’s Sunday Star Times says that Alinghi have given Emirates Team New Zealand an ultimatum – drop the lawsuit or be banned from the next competition. If correct, then it may be a sign that BMW are right and Alinghi will use new rules and friendly officials to get what they want.
It certainly won’t win any hearts and minds with other teams. If Alinghi are prepared to kick out Team New Zealand and BMW Oracle, what’s stopping them using similar tactics on other teams later?
So, while all the talking heads nod and smile and say they are willing to come to a solution, the reputation of the cup continues to weaken. Boys, Toys and egos…