Saturday, October 06, 2007

Valencia Sailing talks to Mascalzone's Alessandra Pandarese

Vincenzo Onorato certainly stole the spotlight of the America's Cup world by announcing on Saturday that Mascalzone Latino filed an amicus brief in the case between the Golden Gate Yacht Club and Société Nautique de Genève. Mascalzone Latino has presented the New York Supreme Court with documentation that in their view will allow the judge to see the point of view of a potential challenger.

We talked to Alessandra Panadarese, general counsel of Mascalzone Latino, about the amicus brief and the alternative protocol, Mascalzone Latino is preparing together with BMW Oracle.

Valencia Sailing: Two months ago, Vincenzo Onorato made a similar proposal that was ignored by Alinghi. What makes you think this one will not have the same fate?
Alessandra Pandarese: We will insist until they come and sit on the table. Maybe you should better ask them the question why they don't come to talk to us. Listen. You might believe me or not but we honestly think there is a way out of this, a way to find a solution. If Alinghi doesn't want that, we can't force them. Still, we are doing our best.

Valencia Sailing: Why do you think the judge will take the amicus brief into consideration? Does it provide anything new that hasn't been already brought by the Golden Gate Yacht Club?
Alessandra Pandarese: Yes, I think it does provide the fact that there is another challenger that expresses its opinion on the subject. This is exactly the scope of an "amicus curiae brief", so that the judge knows what is around and outside of the two litigating parties. It is absolutely important the judge knows what there is outside. You know, we haven't invented anything here. The amicus curiae brief is a rule of the procedures of the New York judicial system.

Valencia Sailing: Has the amicus brief already been filed or are you going to do it next week?
Alessandra Pandarese: It has already been filed.

Valencia Sailing: Let's get into the details of Onorato's statement. He claims the postponement of the 33rd America's Cup is "probably inevitable". Why?
Alessandra Pandarese: We say maybe it is inevitable but if we can avoid it we are more than happy. We are definitely not in favor of postponing the dates we just want to solve the problem. If it takes place in 2009 then it's fine, but first we have to settle the situation. If we can't settle it, then postponement is inevitable.

Valencia Sailing: You mention in the statement you are preparing together with BMW Oracle a different, "fair" protocol. Why do you consider it fair? In what aspect does it differ from the one Alinghi has proposed and 5 challengers have accepted?
Alessandra Pandarese: I think we have already been very clear why we think the current protocol is unfair. These points, the most contested provisions of the protocol, are listed both in the amicus brief and the letter we sent two months ago. These are for sure unfair. The fair game is to create a good balance between the positions of the challengers and the defender, as it has always been in the history of the America's Cup. This of course doesn't mean the defender doesn't have any privileges. We understand they have privileges due to their position, because they are the defender but there is a mechanism of appointment of race officials or any other party involved in the management of the event that has to be done under mutual consent. Above all, every rule should be decided by mutual consent, including the class rule. This has always been done in the past, especially for the Challenger Selection Series.

Valencia Sailing: Is the protocol you are preparing similar to the one of the 32nd America's Cup? Was that one fair enough in your opinion?
Alessandra Pandarese: There are some points of the 32nd America's Cup protocol that need to be revised but for sure we consider it as the starting point.

Valencia Sailing: When are you going to make this protocol public?
Alessandra Pandarese: We are preparing it right now, we will then meet with the other challengers and make it public when we think it is the right moment. Before that, we would like to have Alinghi study it and come to discuss with us.

Valencia Sailing: So, I suppose that will be before October 22 (date of the trial in New York)?
Alessandra Pandarese: Any time is good if Alinghi comes to discuss with us.

Valencia Sailing: You mentioned the class rule. I suppose in the protocol you are preparing you stick to the yachts used in the 32nd edition?
Alessandra Pandarese: Yes, for the 33rd edition the class will remain the same but at the same time a workgroup will be constituted in order to continue what Alinghi has started for the new class that will be used in the following edition.

Valencia Sailing: I also suppose that in your protocol the defender doesn't have the right to take part in the Challenger Selection Series (CSS).
Alessandra Pandarese: That's correct. Alinghi's participation in the CSS is something we don't accept.

Valencia Sailing: Will you make the amicus brief public?
Alessandra Pandarese: Well, it is a public court document. Nevertheless, we are not going to circulate it because we don't think it's necessary. In our press release you can read the main points of the brief. We have no problem if it is made public by other sources but we will not do that.

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At 3:44 PM, Anonymous Laurie said...

Bravo Onorato!
No defender was never so unsporting and domineering like Alinghi.

At 12:10 AM, Anonymous Mander said...

Good on you Oronato!

I am sure some of the challengers who have accepted Alinghi's protocol had no choice but to do it mainly due to financial reasons as they did not have enough funds to take the fight into the courts.
Larry and Oronato have done the right thing by taking a stand against Ernesto's whims and fancies. Every one knows by now that Ernesto is more in love with himself than this great sport of yachting. Difficult to understand why professionals like Brad are sticking with him.

At 2:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Mascalzone is right by supporting Oracle in this issue. I am saying this despite the fact that I do not have the best opinion of Ellison. But Bertarelli's ruthless protocol is designed to weaken teams and discourage potentially dangerous challengers, such as Oracle from entering. When you look at the 5 official challengers, only TNZ has any chance of winning.

With Russell Coutts in the picture, Bertarelli knows that his holding on to the Cup may come to an abrupt end soon. Thus the radical changes in the protocol to offset the Coutts factor. It was clear that Alinghi could barely keep the Cup against TNZ and the 5-2 was a lot closer than the result would suggest. Alinghi's reaction to the two defeats suffered from TNZ, clearly exposed how vulnerable they were. They accused spectators, TNZ fans, yet contrary to the protocols, they weren't able to remove their mainsail on a couple of occassions without hoisting a guy up the mast...

Alinghi at least had the gloves on during the 32nd by organizing the Ats, which in my opinion took the excitement right out of the entire Louis Vuitton Cup. It was to be expected that TNZ will be the challenger and that Oracle will self distruct due to tension within the syndicate.

Anyhow... for now, Bertarelli's fortune bailed Alinghi out of loosing the Cup, but next time around it will be different...


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