Monday, December 27, 2010

Vincenzo Onorato replies to Salvatore Sarno

Salvatore Sarno, owner of Team Shosholoza, the first ever America's Cup challenger to come from Africa, stated in a recent interview in the Italian newspaper Quotidiano Nazionale that the 34th America's Cup was very expensive and as a result Shosholoza wouldn't be taking part. Vincenzo Onorato, owner of Mascalzone Latino, Challenger of Record, sent Quotidiano Nazionale a letter, replying to Captain Sarno's claims. [Note: The translation from the original Italian text is mine]:

I take inspiration from the interview by Captain Sarno in your newspaper to provide my testimony on the current state of the America's Cup and the budgets the teams that will require in order to participate. Captain Sarno is obviously not informed about the latest changes in the Protocol, dating from December 12th, among which it is reported that the entry fee was lowered to US$ 100,000 instead of € 1 million. The performance bond instead of US$ 3 million dropped to US$ 1 million (200,000 by April 1, 2011 and 800,000 by December 31, 2011).

Russell Coutts (left) and Vincenzo Onorato. Rome, 6 May 2010. Photo copyright Gilles Martin-Raget / BMW Oracle

The spirit with which we acted Russell and I was to dramatically reduce costs; the proof is that for the first time in the history of the Cup, during the first two years racing will be held on one-design yachts of 45 feet. This decision was also motivated to provide time for the teams to find sponsors and funding. I have never stated the minimum budget would be € 80 million. It is plausible Captain Sarno could do the next America's Cup with Shosholoza by spending € 17 million as he stated his budget was in the 32nd edition. This is certainly not a budget to win but the Captain Sarno has demonstrated he was able to achieve more than flattering results with limited resources.

The heart of the problem is different: the world economic situation is very different from the ebullient financial markets that marked the 32nd edition. It is correct when Captain Sarno refers to "these times" as "crazy". For Russell and me this has resulted in filling, in reduced terms, the event and therefore the value of the sponsors' investments.

I would also like to remind that Mascalzone Latino's position is not different from that of the other teams. We do not have any sponsors to date, although we have some important negotiations in progress, and it is our subjective interest (to be able to participate in the event) and objective as Challenger of Record (to have many teams in the race), to keep costs as low as possible. We at Mascalzone Latino declare in all honesty that we are struggling to survive. With the same clarity I would have preferred that important teams such as Team Origin and Shosholoza, instead of using pathetic excuses related to the event format, the catamaran revolution and the budgets, to name a few examples, they limited themselves with more dignity in declaring that at this moment they had no money and no prospects for a sponsor.


Vincenzo Onorato

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At 6:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few honest words from Mr. Onorato. What a plasure to read them. I wish him all the best for his campaign

At 7:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The BOR spin doctors start to put Onorato in the frame. He's so hopeless and pathetic they need to create some profile for him. Unfortunately, only naives may buy into Onorato. He's proven to be a puppet, he is a puppet and will remain a puppet, even if, maybe, he doesn't know.

At 8:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Onorato, you cannot be serious in your flippant use of words when you make such statements as this. How can it be possible that a man of such affluence can be so stupid as to state that format, type of yacht and budget are pathetic excuses for not entering this event. Are you crazy? These are the bones and structure of this event and the most important issues that need to be addressed before a team may consider whether an entry is feasible. You can only be classed as a fool when you say such things. Read this below and give it some thought.

Team Origin and Shosholoza, instead of using pathetic excuses related to the event format, the catamaran revolution and the budgets, to name a few examples, they limited themselves with more dignity in declaring that at this moment they had no money and no prospects for a sponsor.

At 1:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vincenzo Onorato is a goon. I've been trying to think of the word that bests describes him all morning, and goon is about spot on.

At 8:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Usual Alinghi suspects still lurkin'.
It's over guys,move on to the next chapter of the cup!

At 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't know man, i'm in the not a happy camper camp. This AC is starting to reek of business first, sailing second.
All good for the maxi worlds, but keep it out of the America's Cup

At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:21 AM anon

I am afraid these are a hopeless cases. Those suckers are stuck in the past and it looks as if they will never manage the transition into the present tense not talking about the future...

At 10:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont think Alinghi has anything to do with Russell and VO being devious men! I think anyone who worked for Alinghi has moved on so should you!

At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has got nothing to do with Alinghi anymore which is a pity as they have demonstrated they know how to run an event of this scale.
Concerning Onaratos comments on the economic climate they knew this when they put the protocol together and only now they start discounting entry fees and bonds, switching the first two years to one design etc. This suggests they attempted a money grab and only now realise that the value of the AC is driven by strong teams.
Three days to the venue announcement, cant wait for confirmation of where it's going to be. I also wonder how many firm orders they've got for the 45's and where they'll be racing next year, this is critical info fro teams trying to raise funding.

At 1:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said... ridiculous can this still get? I remember Oracle asking for a real strong COR some time ago. Now it looks like it is not even clear if the current COR has the money to put a campaign together. I'm not back in the past, but this makes me really worry... Negotiating with Oracle and a no money in your pockets... can your position be any worse?


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