Last week, we were at the Autosport International Show at the UK’s National Exhibition Centre. It’s an interesting event, one that has no parallel in sailing. The show focuses on the sport of motor-racing. Rather than just being a car show where manufacturers release new models for consumers, the exhibitors at Autosport are race teams and providers of high end equipment.
Meanwhile, in Excel, a couple of hours south – the marine industry were running a traditional boat show. Despite the presence of many of the UK’s top professional sailors, the leisure market and the performance market are still on different planets.
Which is how things are with the America’s Cup. The more things change, the more they stay the same. We leave the story with both teams complaining that the other side is wrong and we come back five days later to find that both teams are complaining that the other side is wrong.
They can’t even agree on the same version of events in a locked room. So we are back in court. Again.
Meanwhile, we found this interview in the very informative Valencia Sailing that brings a new voice to the discussion. Harold Bennett, Regatta Director and Principal Race Officer of the 33rd America’s Cup says that in his (considerable) experience, there is not a lot wrong with the PRO working for the Defender. In an interview he says:
I’m not absolutely sure and you will have to check that, but I’m pretty confident this is the first time ever that the PRO of a Deed-of-Gift race is NOT a member of the defending club.
One of the well paid legal teams will no doubt find a precedent to contradict this statement. Harold also says:
We have to remind the world that this is a Deed-of-Gift America’s Cup. All Deed-of-Gift races up to this one have been organized by the defending yacht club and the entire Race Committee consisted of members of the defending yacht club. Even when I ran the event in New Zealand, both times, in 2000 and 2003, all officers of the race committee were members of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. We all were members of it and it was obviously not a Deed-of-Gift event. So, I think it’s a fair statement to say that this event will have the most independent body of officials of all Deed-of-Gift races.
So in case you were asleep, or doing something more important – nothing to report except that the teams still disagree.