Some Push on and Some Dig In

It’s been an interesting and frustrating week in Americas Cup land. On Wednesday, Alinghi’s Brad Butterworth and Tom Ehman, representing the GGYC, were separated on the stage of the World Yacht Racing Forum in Monaco by Sir Keith Mills, Paul Cayard and Alessandra Pandarese. The mood was one of hostility and frustration with several of the panel refusing to answer questions from the moderator or the floor directly. 

The situation then, to everyones frustration, but clearly weighing heavily upon Keith Mills, is that even though the differences between the two parties are tiny. Neither side will move. Not for the sake of the sailing world’s most recognisable media property, not for the sake of those investing in the sport of sailing, not for the fans of the cup and certainly not for each other. 

K-Challenge’s CEO Stéphane Kandler, who was also on the panel said:

The America’s Cup has a huge value and is more and more attractive for sponsors; this could explain the current litigation. What we really need is to support a sustainable model for the teams, but we also want to help new stars to rise in the sport of sailing, and especially in the America’s Cup so that they get known by the general public.

Paul Cayard, who was the only participant to really put forward any ideas for the future said later:

We obviously have to get the pinnacle event of our sport back on the water and unfortunately, logic is not prevailing on those who have the “ball”. So it is clear that, for the long term, we have to get the “ball” out of the hands of self interested individuals and into the hands of someone, or some group, who puts the event first. I think I have heard that somewhere before!

Meanwhile, Alinghi today (Friday) have released a statement claiming that 16 teams have entered the 33rd edition and have agreed a protocol to be released next week. The teams also vowed to push on with the process irrespective of BMW ORACLE’s lawsuit. The statement also included the annoucement of guaranteed racing next year with three America’s Cup Class Version 5.0 regattas confirmed: one in July and another in October organised by AC Management, followed by the Club Náutico Español de Vela annual regatta organised by the Spanish Challenger of Record.