Friday, September 07, 2007

ACM announces Tom Schnackenberg as consultant to develop new class rule

[Source: America's Cup Management] Today, ACM, Event Authority for the 33rd America's Cup, named Tom Schnackenberg as the class rule and competition regulations consultant for the design consultation period due to start on 15 September with current challengers. He will ensure that all views are taken into consideration in the process that will eventually lead to a new class definition to be announced on the 31 October 2007.

Michel Hodara, CEO of ACM, commented: "We are delighted Tom is joining us to contribute actively on the writing of the new class rules. Tom has an unrivaled experience and his ability to resolve conflicts and his credibility are great assets in the process".

Grant Simmer, design team coordinator for Alinghi, also explained Tom's appointment: "Tom started working in the America's Cup in 1977 and has been involved in every Cup cycle since then, winning the Cup 3 times. He is respected as one of the smartest and most experienced technical sailors and designers in our sport. Tom's responsibility will be to consult and consider the input of the entered challengers and to publish the new class rule by 31st October. Tom will also work on other racing regulations related to the 33rd America's Cup. Once he has completed these tasks we look forward to welcoming Tom in the Alinghi design team".

Mike Sanderson, Team Director of TeamOrigin, also was also satisfied with this appointment: "The choice of Tom Schnackenberg to lead this process is fantastic. Having someone of Tom's calibre available and willing to take on this important task is very fortunate for the whole America's Cup community."

The challengers, which include the Challenger of Record, Desafío Español, TeamOrigin, Team Shosholoza, Emirates Team New Zealand and United Internet Team Germany, will join the Defender for a series of open discussions, starting 15 September. This group will consider rule drafts leading to the new class rule which will become public, two months ahead of schedule, ensuring an 18 month period before the first race in the new class.

Schnackenberg describes his pleasure at the new appointment: "It is a huge challenge and for me that is part of the appeal. I have been intrigued by the prospect of the new rule since it was signaled after the Cup and am honoured to have been invited to participate in its inception"

Valencia Sailing Note: Undoubtedly, Tom Schnackenberg is a highly-respected professional whose experience in the America's Cup probably exceeds anybody else's currently involved. Without putting his integrity in doubt, it is difficult to see how he can remain truly impartial and independent, knowing he will join Alinghi's design team in less than 2 months.

Obviously, it all depends on the definition of his role and to up to what point the views of the challengers will influence the design of the new rule. According to what Grant Simmer states "Tom's responsibility will be to consult and consider the input of the entered challengers". Although the wording is not clear, it seems doubtful the challengers will be able to make significant changes. But then, this is the America's Cup. The Defender makes the rules...



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