America's Cup Defender rejects settlement proposal; refuses to disclose new design rule
[Source: Golden Gate Yacht Club] Negotiations to resolve the next America’s Cup protocol ended today after the defender, Alinghi, rejected a resolution proposed by the Golden Gate Yacht Club. Alinghi also made it clear they would not disclose the new rule governing the size and design of the boats to be used in the next event.
“GGYC is very disappointed by this outcome,” spokesman Tom Ehman said. “On Wednesday we forwarded a settlement proposal to the defender. On Thursday the current challengers confirmed in a letter to Alinghi that they supported our proposal in principle and that a settlement was, to use their words, ‘incredibly close.’
“The other challengers have been very helpful the past few days. We appreciate their support. They, too, clearly felt we had a good basis for an agreement.”
“This is a simple question of transparency. But the defender has refused this. And in their latest letter, rejecting our offer, they have simply ignored our most recent request. In this light it lacks credibility for them to blame anyone other than themselves for the ongoing delay and any decision to postpone the next event.”
Ehman said the American club had repeatedly asked to see the rule. This had been denied without explanation, other than an indication from the challengers that Alinghi head Ernesto Bertarelli was personally opposed to it.
“We cannot understand why the defender insists it will only disclose the rule after we have committed to the next event. This amounts to asking us to buy the rule sight-unseen, which no one in our position would find acceptable.
“In previous America’s Cups the design and other rules have always been agreed by mutual consent well in advance of the event, not dictated by the defender.”
“It’s quite simple,” Ehman said. “Show us the rule and we can get this fixed. But unfortunately all we are getting back is legalistic correspondence that dodges this central point and seeks to shift responsibility.
“Three weeks ago we began to suspect the defender was not serious about settling this when GGYC offered a list of ten prominent people as possible mediators. The defender rejected all, and declined to forward any others – thus ending any possibility of mediation as had been suggested by New York Supreme Court Justice Herman Cahn.
“For several weeks now the defender has been talking about delaying the event. We and the five current challengers remain firm in our belief that the event could and should take place in Valencia in 2009.
“Alinghi’s letter today now makes it perfectly clear to all that Alinghi – not GGYC or the other challengers – has kept this matter in court, with the resulting inevitable uncertainty and delay,” Ehman said.