Scuttlebutt reports today that in an interview with CNN’s Mainsail, Larry Ellison, owner of the BMW ORACLE team has some interesting plans for the future of the America’s Cup. The conversation reveals what many have thought for some time, that the court battles are not about sailing and tradition, but about commercial rights. While BMW ORACLE have accused Alinghi of trying to hijack the America’s Cup, comments by Mr Ellison suggest that the precious Deed of Gift might be thrown out the window if the American syndicate gain control.
Ellison is quoted as saying:
“If we win the 33rd America’s Cup, we are going to race these America’s Cup boats not once every four years, we are going to race these America’s Cup boats a half a dozen times a year. We will have a race in Newport, we will have a race in Italy, we will have a race in France. The America’s Cup class of racing will go on year round, and some of those races will certainly be in the United States, I think both Newport, Rhode Island and also maybe San Francisco.”
It doesn’t sound like the America’s Cup at all. In fact it sounds a lot like the Louis Vuitton Trophy. It’s also reminiscent of Ernesto Bertarelli talking about racing the AC33 design in non-America’s Cup events. But rather than have us remember what each man said, Ellison is keen to put words in the Swiss billionaire’s mouth. He goes on to say:
“After this Match, Ernesto said that if he wins, he is going to keep these giant multihulls (for the next America’s Cup). We are not going to do that. If we win, and I think we are going to win, we are going to go back to traditional monohulls and traditional match racing, where all of the teams can participate in a traditional multi-challenger event. Probably in boats that are a little more modern and faster than the Class 5 America’s Cup boats that we raced in the 32nd Match (in 2007). This (multihull event) is going to be a one-time only extreme sailing event for the America’s Cup.”
So – It seems that BMW ORACLE – if they win – will rewrite the notice of race and create a new, commercial event that sounds a lot like the plan proposed by Alinghi and 18 or so other teams. Naturally BMW ORACLE would appoint a deed compliant Challenger of Record, not some paper yacht-club and of course the changes to venues would have to be agreed by mutual consent.