Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Vincenzo Onorato: Now it's choice: The America's Cup or the "Alinghi's Cup"

[Source: Mascalzone Latino] Now that there is only one last chance left for an appeal, last week's decision by a New York court to re-instate CNEV as Challenger of Record puts the whole future of the America's Cup at risk. For if their decision stands, our sport's premier match will come to an end as a genuine sailing competition. What we will have instead will be a regatta that just pretends to be the Cup.

Predictably, we have heard panicky cries for a multi-challenger event at all costs. It is almost as if the rules don't matter. But what sort of event will it be when a sham COR has already connived at ensuring the defender can't lose?

In case you've forgotten, let's recall the protocol Alinghi now brazenly promotes as its "vision."

Alinghi claims the right to choose, at its sole discretion, the regatta judges, the committee, the umpires and the measurers, even going so far as to state that they must be its employees. Alinghi, again at its sole discretion, claims the right to accept a challenge or to penalize a rival and to change the rules at any time. Little wonder this protocol was immediately opposed by seven syndicates.

Faced with a stacked deck, top-level syndicates will stay away. You can argue it is still better to join and hope for change. But that's how a lamb thinks before it gets into bed with a wolf. We might as well rename it the Alinghi Cup now.

The three judges may have swallowed the bait that any multi-challenger event is better than a Deed of Gift match. But if so why even have rules? For a defender can now collude with anyone to fix the game. Incredibly, this ruling says the America's Cup Challenger of Record doesn't even need to own a boat!

Sure, we will still have an event called the America's Cup. But top sailors will know it's a sham. And it won't take sponsors and fans long to catch on either. Already we have seen Louis Vuitton, who have been a key part of the Cup's whole identity, go. What looks like a race will in fact be a procession. Ernesto Bertarelli's vision turns out to be a cynical marketing ploy that gives his commercial subsidiary, ACM, total control.

Oracle have courageously tried to stop an Alinghi take-over. There is only one round left in the court process. We have to hope Oracle will win. Because if they don't the modern Cup will have just come to a shameful end.

Vincenzo Onorato
Mascalzone Latino

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At 8:21 PM, Blogger j80evelt said...


At 8:25 PM, Anonymous Björn-Erik Svendsen said...

The truly honrable, Vincenzo Onorato just said it all, pure and simple. If this ruling stands the cup is dead!
The only thing the Cup (the old mug) stands for is the honor and the respect of you the sailing community.
Alinghi may have the cup but they vill never have the spirit of the Cup!

Björn-Erik Svendsen
s/y Vigra

At 9:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well think, well said Vincenzo.
Hope the next jugement will change that. What we want is sail not only business.

At 10:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It must be remarkably easy to judge when you are someone who has no idea about the Cup. This man has never competed to any decent level, and has had no say in running such a large event. It must be very simple to to stand on the sideline and hell an opinion, especially when you know no-one is listening.

He is just kissing up to BMW, and if Alinghi wins, which is just as possible as BMW, where will that leave him, looking silly out in the abyss with TNZ?

I have full confidence that the Cup will return to its former self eventually. Alinghi did not set out the ruin the Cup, they set out to enhance it, but got it wrong. Given the chance, I am sure they would like to fix their own wrongs, rather than deal with BMW's shortcomings each day.

At 7:23 AM, Blogger Steve Trollope said...

Well said Vincenzo !!

I believe you have succinctly
summarized what the majority of the AC sailors and community think.
Steve Trollope

At 9:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This reasoning is puzzeling.
Consider this: If the Cup does loose it's saliors, sponsors and fans, how Alinghi would benefit from that? Just holding the cup has no financial value. Only defending it in a relatively open challenge, where the result is not totally predicatable, has an economic value. The cup tradition always favours the defender, but it is not in Bertarelli's interest to make it impossible for somebody else to win. If nobody challenges, Alinghi looses.
Before the legal battle started, several teams challenged the cup and participated to the design of the new class roule. These teams must have had the feeling that the roules were not totally skewed!

At 12:27 PM, Blogger folkenbolt said...

I completely agree with Vincenzo Onorato's view of this shameful situation.
I think that all America's Cup lovers should hope that GGYC wins this "final" appeal against the last Appellate Court decision. Larry Ellison is a undoubtedly not a saint, but his legal fight is the last chance to avoid Bertarelli's attempt to transform the Cup in a gadget for his own use.

At 4:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen.... Onorato, you nail it again.

At 4:27 AM, Anonymous russell p west said...

Well said Mr Onorato, nothing has changed at all in this stoush. Alinghi's attempted scam is an insult to the intelligence of the general yachting public and will be rembered no matter what. I never expected to become a supporter of Mr Ellison, but he's our only chance of a fair outcome given ISAF's lack of testicles in the matter.

At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AC 32 was the most successful cup in History. My hope is to see more of that in Europe. I don't think that a Dynasty of Alinghi will help to keep the Cup exiting and attractive for spectators and sponsors in a long term. I don't think that E. Bertarelli doesn't know that. What if he wants to establish long term holding of the Cup in Europe, no matter who holds the Cup as long it's an European Syndicate?

At 7:55 AM, Blogger Mel said...

Alinghi and Oracle are both as bad as each other! Spoilt little brats who throw their toys out of the cot when its not going their way!
And stop releasing the press releases saying that you want to see the cup back on the water in a traditional competition. Do you think we really buy all your BS! It is quite insulting.


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