Thursday, October 29, 2009

Statement from Russell Coutts, Skipper and CEO of BMW Oracle

[Source: BMW Oracle] Valencia is the best option to get the America’s Cup back on track as soon as possible. This is what sailing fans from around the world are waiting for.

Both BMW ORACLE Racing and Alinghi still have bases in the Port America’s Cup. The infrastructure created to the specification of the Swiss defender is in place, available and ready to recreate the atmosphere of the previous America’s Cup in 2007.

Last week Cristobal Grau, Director of Sport for Valencia City, said it would only take a few weeks to have Valencia back in action. Today the Mayor of Valencia, Rita Barbera, said her city would welcome the Cup back with open arms.

In her ruling at the New York Supreme Court on Tuesday, Justice Shirley Kornreich confirmed the primacy of the governing Deed of Gift document for the America’s Cup. This means that Société Nautique de Geneve (SNG) must choose a Deed-compliant location. Although Valencia is in the Northern Hemisphere, it is possible to hold the 33rd Match there in February because both SNG and Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) had agreed to it by mutual consent.

Were SNG to propose a location in the Southern Hemisphere instead of Valencia, we ask the defender to name it as soon as possible so that we have the maximum opportunity to make an informed assessment. We say this noting that nearly three months of the court-ordered six month minimum notice period for the venue has gone already.

We again confirm our willingness to sit down immediately with SNG/Alinghi for talks to resolve the outstanding issues surrounding the 33rd America’s Cup.

There is no reason why SNG should not ask the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) to appoint an independent, neutral jury with the usual duties and powers of an international sailing jury, and to do this immediately. In that way any future disputes involving sailing rules and related issues could be referred to the jury instead of needing to go back before the court.

GGYC and BMW ORACLE Racing are eager to race in the Match, starting on 8 February 2010. Our BOR 90 is back in the water in San Diego, more refined than ever and there are further technical developments in the pipeline that we are very excited about.

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At 8:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So a Challenger and a law court select the venue for the next Americas Cup, not the Defender ?

At 8:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Russell, if you hadn't screwed around with last two teams you have sailed for you could legitimately shape the Cup to your vision. Now you're just doing it through the back door and destroying something you have made a major contribution to building.

You are a shadow of your former self.

At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Alinghi, come on. think about the rest of us for once and sort this out.
Save our sport and stop being so greedy.
Money isn't everthing EB!!

At 10:29 AM, Anonymous JamieF said...

to 8:47 am anon

No, the Defender broke the DoG rules repeatedly, and by doing so has manoevered its team in a very difficult corner. However, both teams have identified Valencia by mutual agreement earlier this year. In his current letter Mr. Coutts has reconfirmed BMW Oracle's committment to their previous mutual agreement and explains why he thinks Valencia is a reasonable option. Mr. Couttss also points out that, if the Defender decides to choose a venue in the Southern Hemisphere, they should announce it quickly since the teams need time to prepare for the venue. This is also reasonable, considering that it was the Defender's duty to announce a proper venue 6 months before the race date. As we all know, the race is sscheduled February 8 to 10, 2010 wich is a little more than 3 months down the road now. Obviously, Alinghi has not yet delivered in this regard and would be wise to deliver quickly. Otherwise, Alinghi will just give additional ammunition to BMW Oracle in respect to the pending Breach of Fiduciary Duty suit.
The Defender has gambled on the venue issue (as on other issues), has lost and now has very little options in respect to venue selection. But as of now the defender is still the one to select the venue and BMW Oracle does not seem to question this right of the defender.

My personal assesment of the legal situation is a little different: In my opinion, the defender only has the right to unilaterally determine the venue if it announces the venue at least 6 months before the race. Should the defender fail to do so (as is the case with Alinghi now) mutual agreement is required in any case, southern or northern hemisphere (see DoG). So it would be wise for the defender to sit down with BMW Oracle and fairly negotiate the remaining unresolved issues such as venue, rules, jury, measurement and so on. Alinghi has stripped itself of a fair amount of power that normally is in the hands of the defender by pure tactics and startegies during the extended litigation process. But who is to be blamed for that other than they themselfes. In retrospect, the team would have been much better off, had they started to talk and negotiate fairly with the challenger at a significantly earlier timepoint. Imagine, Alinghi had accepted BMW Oracles offer to conduct a convetional AC with all teams interested (18 according Alinghi) and along similar rules as those used sucessfully in AC 32. We would already face AC 34 then and likely would look back at a very sucessfull and exciting AC 33.

At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two things are interesting.
1. Coutts is using the names of city officials. Those who he blames gave incredible advantages to Ernesto to an extend he goes to court over this.

2. He's praising the city he criticised more than any other.

It is time to realise that the only reason Coutts wanted to go to Lisbon is he had there a PERSONAL DEAL with the locals for his OWN benefit.

Russell Shame on you, go home.

At 11:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Concerning Jamie F,S comment concerning a conventional AC. Remember in October 2007 the vast majority of Challengers practicaly begged BMWOR to back down as they felt they had reached a workable solution with Alinghi. BMWOR refused point blank and piled on the demands. Sure Alinghi must accept some of the blame but there is no doubt BMWOR are the ones that have derailed the Cup by using the legal system to great effect. Don't confuse their lofty and sincere intentions to save the Cup with their real goal of stacking the deck for their own good. If you think they spend any time worrying about other teams or the future of the AC, other than if it's sitting on LE'S yacht spend a little time looking back over the events since July 2007 and see who has made the most concessions to get things back on track. That may help you understand where BMWOR are coming from

At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 10:31 AM anon

so what venue would you suggest that is deed legal and capable of hosting AC 33 in February (with three months notice)?
There are not that many out there (Lisbon is certainly not one of them) and I am sure BMW Oracle would be happy to race at any of them.

At 12:14 PM, Anonymous JamieF said...

to 11:08 AM anon

Well I did not intend to put all the blame on Alinghi. I think both teams have contributed significantly to the current miserable situation. However, in my comment, I was reflecting on the situation for Alinghi as it is at the moment. I still believe, they used a poor strategy in the last two years (or poor consultants) and would be better off, had they done things differently in the beginning.

At 12:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Valencia acogerá en febrero su segunda Copa América

La alcaldesa de Valencia y Camps celebran la adjudicación de la 32 Copa América. | V. Bosch
Las administraciones no tendrán que pagar un sólo euro de canon
El duelo comenzará el 8 de febrero y será al mejor de tres regatas
Héctor Atienza | Cristóbal Toledo | Valencia
Actualizado jueves 29/10/2009 10:05 horasDisminuye el tamaño del textoAumenta el tamaño del textoLa 33ª edición de la Copa América finalmente, y después de dos años y medio de largos juicios en la Corte Suprema de Nueva York, se celebrará en Valencia. Así lo acordaron en la tarde noche del miércoles representantes del equipo Alinghi de Ernesto Bertarelli y la alcaldesa Rita Barberá.
Según publica este jueves EL MUNDO Comunidad Valenciana, el acuerdo, al que sólo le falta la firma, compromete a que el duelo entre catamaranes entre el barco Alinghi, último ganador del trofeo, y el BMW Oracle se dispute en aguas de Valencia en el próximo mes de febrero sin que el consistorio valenciano deba aportar un sólo euro de canon a las arcas de la estructura helvética.
Al parecer, la anulación el pasado martes de la sede de Ras Al-Jaima en Emiratos Árabes Unidos por parte del tribunal americano ha provocado que en las filas del sindicato helvético reconsideraran la opción de regresar a la capital valenciana ya que el fallo de la jueza Kornreich, basado en las escritura fundacional de la regata (Deed of Gift), ofrecía esta posibilidad como una opción definitiva para resolver en el agua el conflicto legal del trofeo.
La alternativa de disputar el trofeo en cualquier otros punto del hemisferio Sur, como también ofrecía la sentencia al ser las regatas en el mes de febrero, quedó descartada en las filas de la estructura de los Alpes tras valorar la cercanía en el calendario del primer duelo frente a los tripulantes del BMW Oracle que lideran Larry Ellison y Russell Coutts.
La prueba comenzará el 8 de febrero y será al mejor de tres regatas. Ambos equipos deberán presentarse a esta cita con embarcaciones multicasco o catamaranes al ser esta la petición que realizó en julio de 2007 el equipo americano al denunciar el caso.

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

To Jamie F

Fair comment.Alinghis early Legal strategy disguised the progress they actualy made with the challengers. BMWOR however didn't make it easy for anyone in those early days including the other challengers and didn't really give Alinghi any place to go. History is history but if they'd backed off when the challegers asked perhaps it could have been a different story.

At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How could BMWOR even consider wanting to sail an event in a country that creates sham yacht clubs and lines billionaires pockets with money. Going to Valencia or anywhere in Spain must be causing them great concern considering their highly ethical and altruistic stance on the AC. They deserve enourmous credit for sacrificing their own values to get the AC back on track.


At 1:11 PM, Anonymous JamieF said...

to 1:00 PM anon

thank you for your enlightening and helpful contribution to this blog. If there were only more commentators with as brilliant arguments as yours, we could have solved the whole AC problem ages ago...

At 2:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BMW is disgrace, It is Alinghi Cup, sail with our rules or go home.
Keep going Ernesto!

At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Carmen Fernández said...

Bingo! Well done...back in the water, in a country easy going... Now, only the winner will be right!
Question: is Alinghi trying to put a motor on the winches?? or is this malicious gossip???
To anonymous: what's your problem with Russell Coutts?
He won the AC Cup for his last 2 teams...
Bravo to Russell, Oracle, GG and Larry! Lets get out on the water...asap!

At 3:50 PM, Anonymous JamieF said...

to 2:18 PM anon

YOU are a disgrace to this blog, idiot

At 5:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to 2:18 Anonymous

"sail with our rules or go home"

Interestingly enough, they are Alinghi and Ernesto's rules, not SNG's rules. The intent of the Deed was to sail under the established rules of the Trustee (SNG), not for the Defender (Alinghi) to make them up as they go. It will be interesting to compare whatever rules SNG & Alinghi roll out for the 33rd America's Cup with the rules used by SNG in their annual regatta.

Both of these teams need to acknowledge that they are both to blame for the current state of affairs in the AC. It's time to shut up, hash out some fair rules (under a neutral 3rd party if necessary) and get these beasts on the waters off Valencia. And whoever loses just needs to suck it up and go on.

At 5:37 AM, Blogger cq70 said...

Why would BO be so eager to race in Valencia in Feb, when their own meteorologist says that winds are gonna be extremely light?
Just like Alinghi says, racing in Feb in Valencia is going to be a nightmare, with endless delays and canceled races. This is not a victory, for anyone. BO wants to be a spoiler, at any cost, even when they'll gain no advantage.


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