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Golden Gate puts cards on America's Cup table ahead of Meeting

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.Com on 22 Apr 2009
Louis Vuitton Pacific Series - Racing Day 12 - Challenger final BMW Oracle Racing © Photo Gilles Martin-Raget http://www.bmworacleracing.com

Golden Gate Yacht Club, the new Challenger of Record has put its cards, two of them, on the America's Cup negotiating table ahead of the first meeting between the Defender (Societe Nautique de Geneve) and the newly installed Challenger of Record.


A statement just issued by GGYC, reads:

'The Golden Gate Yacht Club and its team, BMW ORACLE Racing, remain committed to a multiple challenger, mutual consent regatta. In preparation for our meeting with Société Nautique de Genève (SNG) this Thursday (23 April) in Geneva, Commodore Marcus Young sent a letter to his counterpart at SNG today reiterating our commitment and outlining two proposals for a multiple-challenger AC33. This letter is posted on our Club website, www.ggyc.com. We believe it is important to be clear and transparent in our respective positions. We are asking SNG to respond with their position in writing to avoid any confusion.'

The letter referred to reads:

START

April 21, 2009

Commodore Pierre-Yves Firmenich
Société Nautique de Genève
Port Noir
CH-1223 Cologny
SWITZERLAND

Dear Commodore Firmenich,

We remain committed to a multiple challenger, mutual consent regatta. To that end, we have ceded full authority to our delegation to negotiate an agreement with your club, and we seek confirmation that your delegation has similar powers.

We also believe that the process can be accelerated by highlighting our position to you in writing ahead of the meeting, thereby giving your team time to discuss the options and prepare. Henceforth, our AC33 proposals will be in writing and we respectfully request your responses be in writing as well.

Our proposal for AC 33 is for a multi-challenger regatta under a Protocol and rules (racing, technical and commercial) agreed by mutual consent, at Valencia in 2011, in your new 'AC33' class based on:

AC 32 rules and format with cost cutting measures; and the Board of ACM agreed by mutual consent.

or, alternatively:

a traditional format of a separate Challenger Selection Series organized at your venue by Louis Vuitton (if they agree to this role); i.e., the Challengers will provide the winner of the LV Cup, and the Challengers will re-assume the financial and organizational responsibilities for this series.

On Thursday our delegation is going to Geneva to discuss the foregoing with your representatives. We look forward to your written response to these proposals within a week of the Geneva meeting.

We suggest there be a neutral observer at the meeting able and willing to brief potential Challengers and the press afterwards. We invite your suggestions on who this might be.

Sincerely,


END

The position adopted by Golden Gate Yacht Club is entirely consistent with their position adopted from the issuance of the Notice of Challenge on 11 July 2007, which set out as a first preference for a 'Protocol comparable in scope, and similar in terms, to that used for the 32nd America's Cup'

Only if that process failed would the the parties resort to a Match in terms stated under the Deed of Gift when it was not possible to reach Mutual Consent.

Given that the negotiations and discussions that will commence on Thursday are vital to the wider America's Cup community, GGYC have proposed that a neutral person be present to present the consensus of the meeting. The intention of this role is believed to be that the sailing world, as a stakeholder, is kept informed, and to avoid the sometimes unedifying process of both parties issuing conflicting and sniping media statements after the meeting.

The Defender, Societe Nautique de Geneve is yet to respond to the invitations in the just released letter, which was posted in the early evening, Geneva time.

A commentary story, in the 'Gladwell's Line' series will be posted on www.Sail-World.com/nz later today.

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