Friday, November 21, 2008

BMW Oracle publishes first "GGYC Cup Newsline"

BMW Oracle stepped up its media and PR campaign and published the first issue of the "GGYC Cup Newsline", a newsletter mainly aimed at sailing media where the American team goes over the latest developments in the America's Cup scene and, of course, present and convey their point of view. Here below you can read this very first issue.

An Interesting Perspective

"Mr. America's Cup" himself, Dennis Conner, recently gave an interview to AP in which he said, among other things:
  • BOR 90 "makes my cat[amaran] look like a Volkswagen . This thing is like bigger, faster, better, and they've done a great job in bringing all the technology together in this boat."
  • "The whole sailing world will benefit by having this out on the race course in a lot of different ways."
  • "I applaud Larry Ellison for building this boat. I'd like to see it race and I'd like to see Larry win because Alinghi is trying to shanghai the event."

No Strings Attached?

On Tuesday of last week (Nov. 11), Alinghi hosted a meeting of the Challengers, and despite Brad Butterworth telling the media that we could attend "no strings attached," in fact, he later again extended the invitation but with a string attached - we could attend if we drop our lawsuit which is designed to make sure Alinghi has fair and competitive rules for AC33.

But without a commitment from Alinghi to change the protocol in return for our commitment to drop the suit, this was a non-starter, as Alinghi (and any fair-minded observer) knew. As a result of being "locked out," we issued the following statement. The key take away (as it has been for over a year) is this: "We repeatedly have offered to drop our lawsuit on one simple condition - that Alinghi adopt fair and competitive rules."

Mascalzone Latino went to Geneva for the Challengers' meeting but refused to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) that Alinghi insisted all participants sign. No NDA, no admission! In response to their being locked out, they issued their own statement. Other serious Cup contenders who were conspicuously absent: K-Challenge and Luna Rossa. And Victory Challenge, which attended the meeting, did not sign the Oct. 31 Challenger's "letter" asking us to drop the suit.

The meeting resulted in some welcome changes to the Protocol, but more changes are required, as we expressed in a statement on Wednesday. "[A] major sticking point remains the arbitration panel . In addition, other fundamental fairness issues remain to be addressed, including the fact that the Defender can change any of the rules at any time and can impose any new rule or restriction on the competitors."

Court Watch

On Thursday, Société Nautique de Genève filed its reply brief in the New York State Court of Appeals, with a companion brief filed by CNEV and an amicus brief from the City of Valencia. We were not surprised at the misstatements of fact in the briefs. We were surprised at SNG's and CNEV's differing lists of possible participants in AC33 and astonished to learn from CNEV's brief that the Mercury Bay Yacht Club "won and defended the Cup."

Since others are not following the case as closely as we are, we issued a statement that states our purpose ("We are fighting an attempt by SNG to circumvent the rules of the America's Cup by installing a sham yacht club as Challenger of Record in order to create an unfair protocol that gives it unprecedented and lopsided control of the contest"), corrects the record and underscores "just how unfair and anti-competitive Alinghi's AC33 rules are."

What's at Stake

In an interview with Sail-World on Friday, Tom Ehman highlighted precisely what's at stake if the flawed proposed Protocol becomes the governing document of AC 33. Key quote: "Alinghi and their Challenger of Record can still amend any of these Rules at any time and still impose new Rules. Any serious challenger would not - should not - be comfortable with that."

Tom noted that we had sent a letter to the Spanish team that outlined a 10-point plan for fixing the Protocol. Full text of that plan:


The following is a 10-point plan that articulates simple changes to the proposed Protocol for America's Cup 33 that would address the concerns of many Challengers who want to ensure that the rules of AC33 are fair. With the exception of #10, the plan is based on the points we negotiated with the Challengers in December last year, and reflect further concessions since offered. Agreement to these 10 points by the Challenger community could return AC33 to the water as early as 2010.

1. Once the changes to the Applicable Rules are completed, any further changes to Applicable Rules governing AC33 shall be mutually agreed between Defender and the Challenger of Record (COR) (subject to point #2).

2. All Challenger of Record decisions, including agreeing to the ACC Rules, Event and Competition Regulations, shall be made by majority vote of the Challengers in a Challenger Commission, one vote per team, including the COR who also has one vote, except that material amendments to the Protocol, Event Regulations or Competition Regulations, once agreed and issued, can be made only by unanimous vote of Competitors.

3. The current Arbitration Panel shall be dissolved and a new Arbitration Panel shall be appointed comprised of five members; SNG and the Challenger Commission shall each appoint two members, and the other four shall select the fifth member.

4. The Defender can race in the Challenger Round Robins, Challenger Sail-Off and Challenger Secondary Series. The Defender cannot sail in the Challenger Semi Finals and Final. Larry Ellison's letter of 17 October 2008 to Ernesto Bertarelli offered several options in this regard, which BOR stands by.

5. The "Fair Competition" clause (2.3 of the Protocol) shall be expanded to include the Officials, Sailing Jury and Arbitration Panel.

6. The Defender and Challenger of Record shall jointly appoint a Regatta Director who shall be responsible for ensuring fair races are conducted in accordance with the terms of the Protocol. The Regatta Director shall have the same powers as for the last America's Cup (he or she appoints/manages race committee, appoints measurement committee, umpires, and other officials as needed, prepares and publishes Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions).

7. Entries from AC32 challengers shall be accepted and not thereafter disqualified provided continued compliance with the rules, and then only by the Arbitration Panel.

8. AC33 shall be held in Valencia with AC32 teams retaining their bases if they desire. In addition, the format and Schedule to be published by ACM ahead of time and not to be altered without consent of affected Competitors.

9. Each Challenger and the Defender may be limited to building only one new boat. As a result of this change, and as consideration for allowing the Defender into the Challenger selection series, there can be no Defender selection series.

10. There shall be no restrictions on Competitors' sponsors or any control by the Defender or ACM over Competitors' sponsors beyond the traditional restrictions (e.g., no tobacco sponsors). Moreover, ACM shall not ambush existing team sponsors, and if ACM secures an Event sponsor that conflicts with a major sponsor of a competitor, that Competitor shall be under no obligation to display ACM sponsor logos on its yacht, base or team gear or otherwise promote or associate with such Event sponsor.

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At 11:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BMW Oracle could not win the America's cup on the water (twice), they could not win it in court, now they try to win it by Public Relations?
Their sense of superiority towards everybody, Alinghi, the other challengers, even the courts, makes it increasingly difficult to consider them as the good guys in this story. Maybe it's time for a reality check!

At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

agree. defensive behaviour. one sided argument and propoganda newsletter, trying to justify the mess Tom has gotten them into. this newsletter is probably his idea ? i feel sorry for the people who have to work with him.

At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Steve Lobsinger said...

I think that the 10 points idea is horrible!
To me it sounds like this:
"Here you have our 10 points.
Change your protocol according to them.
Then leave it in the trunk of your car in the parking.
One of our men will pick it up.
Don't call the police.
Don't discuss it with the current challengers.
Do exactly as we say or you will not see an America's Cup race ever again!"

There is a word for that:

At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Masks are being taken off! STOP IT Tom!!!!

At 2:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BOR is trying its last ideas grasping at straws. What a shame! If this is the best they can come up with, go back home, and leave the AC to the teams and countries who want to compete on the water and not in court. BOR should be ashamed of themselves.

At 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this the best their new expensive crisis management team could come up with ? BOR are on the ropes.

At 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very thoughtful for a team that did came 5th in AC 32 and has no yet to enter AC 33 to commit such resource to this publication. What a great contribution to the Americas Cup community this team is. No ? No.

At 1:00 AM, Anonymous POQ said...

It is laughable that you (Alinghi and BOR) think that by using the comment section of this blog anonymously, is a good way to earn the publics approval.
Both of your teams are childish and are doing the sport a disservice. So thank you both for nothing.

At 6:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shut the F*%$# up you spoilt brats, LE, TE y EB and race.

At 3:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ask the general public what they want to see race.... Thats it just ask the spectators and we know what the answer will be. The awsome speed and might of the bor90multihull or the slow and boring monohull


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