Alinghi goes up against Team New Zealand in Race 1 of the 31st America’s Cup, in Auckland in 2003. Their struggle looks set to continue on the Waitemata, in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series.
Sail-World spoke to Emirates Team New Zealand CEO, Grant Dalton, this morning following the announcement they had decided to drop their law suit against Ernesto Bertarelli, and that Alinghi had agreed to enter the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series.
Dalton revealed that negotiations had been underway with Alinghi parties for a while regarding their entry in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series, and presumably regarding the discontinuance of the legal action against Ernesto Bertarelli over undertakings he had given Emirates Team New Zealand. These were backed by penalty clauses, back in July 2007, as to the future dates of the America's Cup competitions.
Grant Dalton speaking at the Emirates Team NZ Media Conference 28 November 2007
Later, Team New Zealand believed that Bertarelli had not been as accommodating as he could have been to get the regattas underway, and sued after it became apparent that the Swiss had no intention of staging the regattas until after 2011.
A key to the agreement was the 31st October 2008 closing date for entries to the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series. The Alinghi entry means that the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series is fully subscribed, and it is expected that (subject to the Australian entry being viable) that all four five countries who have won the Louis Vuitton (and four America's Cup winning countries) will be represented in Auckland.
The entry of Alinghi is subject to their law suit being formally withdrawn by Team New Zealand in New York. However Dalton told Sail-World that the process was well underway, and may have already happened. 'I have seen the papers and see no reason why it should not go ahead, it is just a matter of waiting for the legal process in New York to run its course.'
Valencia Bases - January 2008
The whole deal is, of course still subject to the outcome of the Appeal in New York, between Golden Gate YC and Societe Nautique de Geneve. Dalton said that he still believed that action had a very good chance of success, and didn't know what would happen with the America's Cup schedule if a Deed of Gift challenge was ordered for 2009.
'That would dismantle the Protocol that is currently in place,' Dalton said.
Emirates Team New Zealand's objective was to get Alinghi secured as a competitor for the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series, and they could not really influence other issues in the America's Cup scene. 'We can only deal in what we can control', said Dalton, and clearly he and his advisers have taken a pragmatic view of the America's Cup situation.
'However we applaud the decision of Alinghi to organise an America's Cup for 2010', said Dalton. Team New Zealand was originally led to believe that Alinghi would defend in 2009, however Dalton says that 2010 'is viable for us'.
'We also felt that the economic climate needed a bit of positivity', he added.
Maybe an earlier America's Cup will assist.
Emirates Team NZ the new TP52 under construction at Cookson Boats
At this stage the agreement between Dalton and Alinghi skipper Brad Butterworth, is understood to be verbal only, however with goodwill on both sides there is no reason to believe that matters will not go their full course. Certainly Emirates Team New Zealand have acted with alacrity to fulfill their obligations.
Turning to the beleaguered America's Cup teams, Dalton said that Emirates Team New Zealand was fully funded and ready to go for 2010. 'You're always signing sponsors in the America's Cup', he added, 'but we have Emirates, the NZ Government and Toyota signed and in place.'
'An America's Cup in 2010 fits in perfectly with the sailing program we have planned for 2010.'
Bribon, on which Team New Zealand have been campaigning on the TP52 circuit in 2008
That includes the TP52 that Emirates currently have under construction at the www.cooksonboats.co.nz!Cookson_Boats yard in Glenfield, North Shore City. Spars will be provided by www.southernspars.com!Southern_Spars and sails by www.northsails.co.nz!North_Sails_NZ.
Dalton says he couldn't imagine anyone who was serious about an America's Cup campaign not campaigning a TP52, next year.
From here, Emirates Team New Zealand's Kevin Shoebridge will attend the America's Cup Challenger's Meeting called by Alinghi for the 30th October.
In early November, Dalton will attend a function at the New Zealand Embassy in Paris to announce the 12 entrants in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series.
'Maybe then we can get on with healing the (America's Cup) world', he concludes