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America's Cup Principals miss the Boat

by Richard Gladwell, & Stuart Alexander on 9 Oct 2008
Team Alinghi’s Ernesto Bertarelli (left) and Brad Butterworth (right) talks to the media at Key West Race Week 2007 Rick Tomlinson © http://www.rick-tomlinson.com

An expected meeting, the second between the principals of the two estranged America's Cup teams, failed to take place over the weekend, and an out-of-court settlement in the bitter dispute, now seems unlikely.

The non-event was reported on the Golden Gate YC website with a simple statement from GGYC spokesperson Tom Ehman who said, 'Unfortunately, the meeting between Larry Ellison and Ernesto Bertarelli in Trieste did not take place. We remain eager to resolve this issue and return the 33rd America's Cup to the water as a multi-challenger regatta under fair rules. We hope and expect the meeting will be rescheduled to take place in the near future.'

It would now seem inevitable that the long-running dispute will be settled only by the New York Court of Appeal, with three possible outcomes:

(a) that Club Nautico Espanol de Vela is declared the proper Challenger, in which case a multi challenger event will take place in 2010 or 2011 under the first Protocol (which has the Defender sailing in the Challenger trials)
(b) Golden Gate YC is declared to be the first valid challenger in which case a Deed of Gift Match will take place in 90ft mulihulls - probably 10 months after the Court decision - possibly October 2010.
(c) The matter is referred back tio Justice Cahn for more facts in which case more Appeals are likely.


Meanwhile reporting in The Independent (UK), leading yachting writer Stuart Alexander was far more optimistic, aftre the first meeting had taken place in San Francisco:

There has been an all-round softening of attitudes following a face to face meeting in San Francisco between Bertarelli and Oracle boss Larry Ellison.

They plan to repeat it in the next few days in Europe. A second meeting could be held before Ellison leaves Italy on Monday following his participation in an RC44 regatta.

The first talks included a blueprint for a whole new way of running the cup to be put in place not just for next time, America's Cup 33, but for the mid-term with up to two or three events. Both men are thought to accept there will be no return to the 2007 format.

That would include a permanent, event organising, management company with the involvement and participation not just of the defender but also the challengers. Bertarelli would retain a stake but the challengers would also have shareholdings.

In an open letter last December, Bertarelli also indicated he had accepted that the cup holder should be prepared to step back from total control and for the challengers to see some of their rights and influence restored. It would be a cross between Formula 1 and a football league with the cup holder enjoying more of the prize.

He still wishes to see the holder allowed to race in preliminary regattas, possibly including the challenger elimination series, on the grounds that, under a cost-containment rule that would allow only one new boat per team, that would be the only way to be match fit.

Formerly, the defending club would hold elimination trials of its own, but that practice was brought to an end by Team New Zealand for its first defence in 2000 and the commercial benefits of being a sole defender have also dissuaded Alinghi from inviting others to share the pie.

For the whole of this story http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/general/sailing/progress-being-made-in-americas-cup-dispute-955039.html!click_here

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