Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Main points of the Alinghi-ACM teleconference

Alinghi and ACM held a teleconference that ended half an hour ago whose main issue of course was to present the position of the Defender of the America's Cup regarding the 33rd edition. Brad Butterworth, team skipper was accompanied by Hamish Ross, general counsel and Michel Hodara representing America’s Cup Management.

Most of what was said in the brief talk and the Q&A session that followed have already been published in the press release Alinghi sent right before the end of the conference. We will report on the most important issues:

New challengers: As it was stated by Michel Hodara, the German challenge was officially accepted on the 30th of August, bringing the total number of teams (including Alinghi) to 6. The German team had already made it clear they had the intention to be present in the 33rd America's Cup. Indeed, they are currently building the latest Version 5 America's Cup Class boat, GER-101, most probably the last to be built under the previous rule.

Hodara added that there is currently half a dozen potential teams talking to ACM and as a result, it will be highly unlikely there won't be an Italian challenger in the 33rd America's Cup.

New America's Cup class: Brad Butterworth repeatedly stated his vision about a more dynamic, spectacular, boat, especially in fleet races. In his view the 90-foot boat proposed by Alinghi does exactly that. Not only that, starting with a clean sheet, the smaller or newer teams will not be handicapped and probably have a much better chance. According to Butterowrth, "when you have a vision for the future and you want the Cup to go forward, you have to be aware you sometimes have to take a decision that might cause a break with the past", adding that "it is now a great opportunity to change the class."

As far as the time schedule is concerned, Alinghi and the other 5 challengers will start discussing on the new rule from next week. Challengers will be involved in the establishment of the rule whose final version will be made public on the 31st of October. According to Hodara, a number of "regulations" will be "issued" during that 6-week period, although it was not clear whether they will be accessible by the general public or just the 5 challengers involved. A "technical consultant" will be in charge of the consultation between Alinghi and the challengers, although his exact role was not discussed.

Butterworth, also touched the issue of training with the new boats. Unlike the previous edition, teams will be able to only sail one new boat and the only time they can sail against another yacht will be in organized races in Valencia.

GGYC litigation: Alinghi's stance was much more reconciliatory towards BMW Oracle. Obviously, the sine qua non condition for Alinghi is for GGYC to drop their lawsuit in the New York Supreme Court but Hamish Ross stated that the two parties have met a number of times and that they would hold a teleconference tonight. If GGYC dropped their lawsuit then BMW Oracle would be accepted and invited to "rejoin the America's Cup community and discuss the protocol, similar to any other challenger", according to Ross.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home