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Next Cup? Maybe? Maybe Knot ?

Aug 25, 2008 3 Comments by

Greetings yachties,

The count down to the next cup has begun, posted below I will publish stories, video and links to this outrageous event.

Enjoy the trip 🙂


Russell Coutts talks to international press here

33rd Americas Cup

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Watch CBS Videos Online

Greetings Yachties,

Thanks for visiting. Below is a pictorial snap shot and a few opinions from those that know the Cup.


Webcam in downtown daygo


15.01.2009 (15:58 CET) – Valencia, Spain – Alinghi
33rd America’s Cup competitors meet in Valencia to continue work ahead of a multi-challenger event in 2010 4th Competitor Meeting at the Alinghi base in Valencia, Spain, day 1.

Representatives from 18 of the 19 entered teams for the 33rd America’s Cup gathered in Valencia over the last two days to continue discussions towards a multi-challenger event in Valencia, Spain in 2010.

After considering various options, talks over the past two days between Alinghi, the Defender of the America’s Cup, Club Náutico Español de Vela (CNEV), the Challenger of Record, and the rest of the challengers have resulted in a firm commitment for the Challenger Selection Series and the 33rd America’s Cup Match to take place in 2010 in the new class of boat currently under development by the group and due to be made public on 31 January.

The group also decided that the two pre-regattas scheduled for 2009 are to be compulsory for all entered teams, regardless of the expected court decision in New York.

The Defender informed the group that negotiations with the Spanish authorities to confirm Valencia as Host City are well advanced and should progress further at an upcoming meeting with the Central Government in Madrid.

Grant Simmer, Alinghi design team coordinator, commented: “The general comment among the teams is that we are progressing well in the working process towards defining the terms and rules for a multi-challenger 33rd America’s Cup. We all think that we should agree as many details as we can on the event in 2010 and on the pre-regattas for 2009 and try to reduce the number of uncertainties. If the existing court decision which ruled CNEV valid is confirmed by the Court of Appeals, the plans are in place and we can quickly move forward.“

The event is still cloaked in the uncertainty caused by the Golden Gate Yacht Club’ and BMW Oracle Racing’s ongoing litigation in New York, but the entered teams have once again demonstrated their will to continue with ongoing preparations.

The next round of 33rd America’s Cup Competitor Meetings will take place in Valencia in March.

The teams present at the meetings were: Alinghi (SUI), Desafío Español (ESP), Shosholoza (RSA), TeamOrigin (GBR), Team New Zealand (NZL), DCYC (GER), Green Comm Challenge (ITA), Ayre Challenge (ESP), Victory Challenge (SWE), Argo Challenge (ITA), Mascalzone Latino (ITA), Team French Spirit (FRA), Luna Rossa (ITA), Russian Challenge (RUS), Italia (ITA), K-Challenge (FRA), Greek Challenge (GRE) and Dabliu Sail Project (ITA).

(Photo credit: Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi)

more here

Valencia Sailing

Friday, January 09, 2009
Glenn Ashby, six times A-Cat World Champion, to join BMW Oracle in San Diego

[Source: The Bendigo Advertizer] Glenn Ashby is about to embark on a one-month trial in the United States that could lead to a role in the world’s most prestigious sailing event – the America’s Cup.

Later this month the Strathfieldsaye sailor will head to the world-famous San Diego Yacht Club where he will begin a four-week stint with the BMW Oracle Racing team.

BMW Oracle was the American challenger in the 2007 America’s Cup, which was won by Swiss boat Alinghi.

“I’m going to do some sailing with the America’s Cup crew on their big trimaran,” Ashby said.

Glenn Ashby, six times A-Cat World Champion. Belmont, Australia, 5 January 2009. Photo copyright Andrea Francolini

“I’ll do some coaching work with them in San Diego, which is a wonderful opportunity for me. BMW Oracle is one of the main contenders for the next America’s Cup in 2010.

“It could lead to a spot on the crew for the next America’s Cup, but that’s a long way down the track at this stage. If the opportunity arose to be part of an America’s Cup team I’d love to be part of it.

“The Olympic level is one end at the elite level of the sport and the America’s Cup is the other ultimate level of sailing and yacht racing that I’d like to experience – not just for the racing side of things, but the design aspects and technology. The technology these guys have access to is pretty much the same as what the formula one teams have.

“They have the same sort of budgets, so it would be a great experience for me from a business point of view as well.” Ashby runs his own sailing business in Strathfieldsaye.

He won his sixth A-class catamaran world championship at Lake Macquarie this week and that, combined with his silver medal in the Tornado class at the Beijing Olympics, has made him hot property in sailing ranks.

“Now that the Olympic stuff is finished for four years, I’m taking the opportunity to try a few things in the next couple of years,” he said.

“There’s quite a lot of doors opening after the Olympics and there’s potentially some offshore opportunities for me on the big boats. The A-class catamarans are a technology base for the bigger boats and there were a lot of people around watching the world titles this week looking for new ideas. I guess that’s helped me to get these opportunities in America and Europe with the big boats.”

Valencia Sailing

The Protocol Governing the Thirty Third America’s Cup

N.Y. court should deny America’s Cup challenge


I’ve known a lot of people who belong to yacht clubs that have defended or challenged for the America’s Cup. Their club members raised funds, helped organize the teams and a few even designed and sailed the boats in the premier event in their sport.

At the end of the day, they could sit at the club bar over a beer and swap sailing yarns or plan their next voyage or discuss new gear.

The members of Club Nautico Espanol de Vela (CNEV), the challenger of record for what may or may not be the next America’s Cup, can’t do that. The four members of CNEV can’t sit at the bar because there is no bar, nor is there a clubhouse. There are no boats, which is good, because there are no docks to tie to them to. There are only legal papers and a telephone number.

A Spanish journalist who tried to find out how people could join CNEV learned that the only members are four officials from Spain’s national sailing federation.

Despite the protests by CNEV and Alinghi, the Swiss defender of the America’s Cup, there’s no way around the fact that the Spanish club is simply a sham designed to keep the event in Valencia and give the Swiss unprecedented and unfair control over the challenger selection series and the finals.

The New York State Supreme Court is expected to decide in the next few weeks whether CNEV is a legitimate challenger under the terms of the 1887 Deed of Gift that governs the oldest continuous team event in sports. If those judges can understand the simple English and clear intent of the sailors who wrote that deed, they’ll have no choice but to toss the Spaniards out and force the Swiss to meet an American challenge in giant multihulls.

But as one of my sailor-lawyer friends says, “The only thing sure about a court case is that someone is going to get the shaft.” You can just never be 100% sure which side it will be.

I’ve been adamant that Alinghi’s plans to hold an America’s Cup in 2010, with CNEV as challenger of record, make a mockery of the Deed. The proposed rules changes give Alinghi almost unbeatable advantages.

That said, some 19 teams — 16 from Europe — have signed up for 2010, assuming the New York court rules for the Swiss. The American BMW-Oracle team is among the few boycotting the event, and if the court rules against Oracle, it will be the first America’s Cup in 160 years without an American team.

After the schooner “America” won the cup in England in 1851 and brought it back to the New York Yacht Club, the rules were simple: A single foreign yacht, British or Irish or Canadian, sent a letter to the NYYC saying, “We challenge you for the Cup. Here’s a brief description of the boat we’ll build, and you have 10 months to get ready.”

The NYYC replied, “OK, here are the dates. But we get to pick the place to sail and choose any boat we like to defend, as long as it meets the size limits.” And those races always were off New York or Newport, R.I.

But eventually there were multiple challenges at the same time, so a system was set up where one foreign club became the challenger of record and ran an elimination series to determine who would meet the American defender.

By using — and sometimes abusing — every loophole in the Deed of Gift and the rules of sailing, the Yanks held on for 132 years until Australia II took the Cup Down Under in 1983. Since then, the Cup’s peripatetic path has taken it to San Diego; Auckland, New Zealand; and latterly Switzerland, whose Alinghi team defended at Valencia because that city offered the best mix of weather, infrastructure and commercial incentives. (The fact that the Swiss don’t have an ocean also was a factor.)

But now Alinghi wants to transform the America’s Cup into a money-maker, combining elements of Formula One car racing and the soccer World Cup. I’m passionate about the America’s Cup because I’ve been covering it for 30 years and sailing since I was 10. I remember the excitement of 1987 when Dennis Conner went to Fremantle, Australia, and retrieved the America’s Cup in a fabulous series on the wild seas of the Indian Ocean.

I spent three months in Fremantle for that event and remember how we American journalists were puzzled by all the calls we were getting from friends back home wanting more information. We didn’t realize that America’s Cup fever had gripped a lot of people at home — sailors and landlubbers alike — who were sitting up until 3 a.m. to watch television images of “Stars and Stripes” defeating “Kookaburra III.”

And that’s why I hope the court will rule for the Americans, and that the next America’s Cup will be a race between two giant multihulls from America and Switzerland, dicing around the marks at 30 knots and ripping downwind at 50. It will show the great mass of people who know nothing about sailing that it can be as exciting as any sport and help get American kids enthused about it.

And all we need for that to happen is judges who understand English.

Contact ERIC SHARP at 313-222-2511 or

The boys are back

We are willing to consider entering the competition by 15 December even though
it is a totally arbitrary deadline. However, inasmuch as we’ve been excluded to
date from the discussions, we need further clarity on fundamental issues (which
you say have been addressed) to meet our concerns, and those of others, about
fair and competitive rules. Specifically, we ask that you arrange to have the
Defender send us by Monday, 8 December the current drafts of the protocol, event
regulations, and competition regulations. This would give us a week to properly
review them against our Ten Point Plan and determine our course of action before
the 15 December deadline. — Read on:

Hell Freezes Over

Finally, our long awaited Innerview with the most famous and one of the most successful sailboat racers of all time. Given the amount of crap we have dished his way over the years, many have said that hell would freeze over before Dennis Conner would ever talk to us. Consider the temperature to now be sufficiently chilly. Conner talked with Mr. Clean about his mentors, PHRF rule beaters, the Star Class, Ernesto Bertarelli, and how the economy is affecting racing.  Enjoy this very long, very interesting conversation with “Mr. America’s Cup” himself – the first he’s done in many years, and a big thanks to you anarchists for contributing some great questions.

SA:  You’ve had a rocky relationship with Sailing Anarchy over the years.  Has the site been fair to you?

DC:  I don’t read it every day, but the overall gist of my portrayal on SA has been negative.  No one likes reading negative things about themselves, especially when they’re not true, but I think the Editor just thinks I’m a good topic to pick on and stir up the shit with.  Fair game to him – he can say whatever he wants about me and I never bite back.  Some people like it and some don’t, but obviously it sells newspapers and gets lots of comments in the forums.

SA:  But you do check out the site, which is undeniably the most popular sailing site in the world.  Do you think SA is positive or negative for the sport?

DC:  It’s definitely good for the sport.  People are looking for as much to read about sailing as they can, and it helps fill a void that otherwise isn’t available.  There is a huge volume of information on the site.  The articles are good and the interviews are interesting.

SA:  Here’s a question from one of our Anarchists:  “You’re raced against three generations of my family.  How would you describe the overall change in the fun factor and mindset of the average racer between then and now?”

DC: Let’s see – that’s 50 years ago.  50 years ago, people raced for the fun and enjoyment of being out there – whether for social or competitive reasons, or a combination of both.  But no one was paid, no one twisted your arm, it was generally conceived of as being fun and enjoyable.

Once in a while your sailmaker would come out with you if you begged them.  Usually, to help figure out what kind of new sail to make, but it wasn’t part of the deal that if you bought a new sail you expected him to come out with you for five races or whatever.  That slowly started changing, but it was still that way when the SORC was the pinnacle of the sport. Back then, around 150 boats went from Tampa to Cuba every winter, then to Ft. Lauderdale,  then across the gulf to Nassau.  There was very seldom any pay for anyone except the guy who delivered the boat down there – it was strictly amateur.

All the way through the sixties, when competition to get picked for the Admiral’s Cup team became the big deal, it was still all amateur.  There’d be ten, twelve, fifteen countries that sent three teams each, and the countries tried really hard – Germany, France, England and the US – a lot of time and effort went into it, and profit had zero to do with it.

In the mid-seventies things started changing.  Sailmakers and their friends started coming aboard big boats to try and make a difference in the competition. This was when North and Hood had it all their own way, but slowly the smaller guys started making a difference.  Tom Whidden, with Love Machine and maybe another boat – he’d bring his local Finn sailors like Peter Conrad – and they’d usually win their class.  It was the best form of advertising for sailmakers, and that was the maybe the genesis of what we see today.   I still won with Stinger with an all-amateur crew, the kind of crew that today, people might call a professional crew – but still they weren’t getting paid.  I just always thought an excellent crew was a big part of the equation.  For some of your older readers, these were the days of what I call the ‘old guard’ – Jack Sutphen, Bob Bavier, Al Van Metre, Ted Turner, Halsey Herreshoff – all great sailors.

In the late seventies and early eighties, I had a lot of success, primarily by putting more effort into racing than my competition.   People watching us learned that time and dedication really paid off, so they started emulating me.  There’s no lock on brains, and when they tried harder, they did better.  When others saw it, they did the same, and the whole thing escalated – not necessarily by hiring ‘professionals’ but by injecting  more time, money, and effort into their racing programs. In 1979-80, I had a multiple-boat, two-year program in the America’s Cup – and it worked.  On an international level, I think a bell really went off in the heads of sailors around the world that effort, sail testing, crew work, and preparation make all the difference.  With that change came more and more paid people in all areas of the sport:  Sailmaking, spar building, boat building, preparation, and crew work.  This happened on a worldwide scale – the whole bar went up throughout the upper levels of the sport.

For reference, when we lost the Cup in ’83, there was basically one competitor – the Australians.  Four years later in Perth there were 20.  In 1983 we spent about four million on the entire 2 year, 3 boat campaign.  In 1987 we didn’t have the highest budget by a long shot, yet our seventeen million was  quadruple the budget of our previous campaign.  This level of commitment meant that crews had to leave their jobs for a long time to sail with us, but they still had house payments and kids at college.  They had to earn something that would justify the campaign to themselves and their families.  So, in just a few years we went from all-amateur teams at the very top echelon of the sport, to teams of paid professionals earning something comparable to what they might be making at home as a plumber or carpenter or painter or whatever.

SA:  And since then?

DC: Nothing really has changed except that everything is more so – it’s all about the money now at the top levels.

SA:  The second part of the question asked about the “fun factor” and how that’s changed for the average racer. Can you answer that?

DC: That’s really hard to answer unless you tell me what the ‘average racer’ is.  For anyone making a living as a sailor, it’s all about the money.  The guy making $1000/day hiking on a Farr 40 cares about his next paycheck.  For the average guy who’s frostbiting his Lehman 12 at Larchmont, it’s all about the fun.  There’s no such thing as an average racer – the sport is too diverse.

SA:  Between your 3 boat program in ’83, and then your effort to win it all back in Perth and subsequent campaigns, many would say that you were the single most important force in the Cup becoming the pro showcase that it is.

DC: The bottom line is that our efforts did change the sport, but that was never our goal. I wanted to win, and to the best job possible –  to have “No Excuse To Lose.”   And certainly the bar was raised in ever way – but realize that even in 1987, the Stars & Stripes team subsisted on room, board, clothing, healthcare, and $300 a month.  Tom Whidden didn’t make a dime from the program – he only earned the profit on the sails he sold.

SA:  But they realized they’d be in big demand from other teams if you won, right?

DC: That’s how it turned out, but I don’t think they knew it at the time.  They were just there for the sport of it, but knowing how to win and how the Stars & Stripes program worked became a big benefit down the road.

SA:  Fast forward to today, when there seem to be a lot of ‘America’s Cup Sailors’ floating around now.

DC: That might just be my own personal pet peeve, but there really do seem to be a lot of people claiming to be AC sailors solely because of their involvement in the boats on some basis.  But very, very few have sailed in the America’s Cup itself.  We used to only have 11 crew per boat – that means only 22 people every four years were actually America’s Cup sailors.  Even with a few more crew added to the boats over the past cycles, where do these hundreds if not thousands of ‘AC sailors’ come from?   It’s like showing up at an Olympic trial, and forever afterwards claiming to be an ‘Olympic sailor.’ It just isn’t true.

SA:  What do you think of the current America’s Cup mess?  Will it get back on track?

DC: Of course it will.  The reality is that at some point the legal part of the current competition will end.  It’s certainly not the first time the AC has been adjudicated or fought in the court of public opinion.  Lord Dunraven accused the NYYC of cheating at the end of the 19th century – he left, quit and went home.  Alan Bond was accused of cheating in 1983 and never signed the consent agreement that said that he wasn’t.  What happened in ’88 was even closer to what we’re seeing today, with a Deed of Gift match, a multi-year court battle, and acrimony across the board.

Arguing about the interpretation of the Deed of Gift has ALWAYS been part of the Cup – after all, these are rich, powerful, strong, egocentric people trying to win a competition.  It’s no different from big business, and now it’s gone back to its roots – two billionaires duking it out like Sir Thomas Lipton and Vanderbuilt – nothing new here, and sooner or later it will be over, and someone will go racing.

SA:  Any thoughts on who is right?

DC:  Bertarelli just looks pretty desperate to me.  He’s trying to control the whole event, he wants to tell everybody what kind of boats to race, and how they’re going to race them.  He wants both sides of the deal. This is a big change from the way it was always done. The Challengers used to work together to beat the Defender.  Now he wants to be the Challenger and the Defender by sailing in both sets of trials.   It’s no surprise that Oracle has a problem with the 33rd protocol, and this time Bertarelli wasn’t even subtle – his “Challenger” holds their annual regatta in Optimists.  Optimists!

Part two Monday.


Hell Feezes Over, Part II

Part two of our long awaited Innerview with the most famous and one of the most successful sailboat racers of all time, Dennis Conner. We pick up with discussion on the America’s Cup. This Innerview is brought to you by loyal SA advertiser the Sailing Pro Shop.Enjoy!

SA:  What do you think of the current America’s Cup mess?  Will it get back on track?

DC: Of course it will.  The reality is that at some point the legal part of the current competition will end.  It’s certainly not the first time the AC has been adjudicated or fought in the court of public opinion.  Lord Dunraven accused the NYYC of cheating at the end of the 19th century – he left, quit and went home.  Alan Bond was accused of cheating in 1983 and never signed the consent agreement that said that he wasn’t.  What happened in ’88 was even closer to what we’re seeing today, with a Deed of Gift match, a multi-year court battle, and acrimony across the board.

Arguing about the interpretation of the Deed of Gift has ALWAYS been part of the Cup – after all, these are rich, powerful, strong, egocentric people trying to win a competition.  It’s no different from big business, and now it’s gone back to its roots – two billionaires duking it out like Sir Thomas Lipton and Vanderbuilt – nothing new here, and sooner or later it will be over, and someone will go racing.

SA:  Any thoughts on who is right?

DC: Bertarelli just looks pretty desperate to me.  He’s trying to control the whole event, he wants to tell everybody what kind of boats to race, and how they’re going to race them.  He wants both sides of the deal. This is a big change from the way it was always done. The Challengers used to work together to beat the Defender.  Now he wants to be the Challenger and the Defender by sailing in both sets of trials.   It’s no surprise that Oracle has a problem with the 33rd protocol, and this time Bertarelli wasn’t even subtle – his “Challenger” holds their annual regatta in Optimists.  Optimists!

SA: You say ‘this time’ – what happened last time?

DC: Last time Ernesto wanted to race with the Challenger in some of the Acts so he knew the competition.  It was never like that – as I said, the Challenger’s were like a coalition against the defender.  When I was defending the Cup, not one of the Challengers ever came near me!  They’d be shot!  Imagine if I got to take Freedom and go and race in the Louis Vuitton and use my 20th best sails to see how I stand while the Challengers didn’t have a clue – that’s what they’re doing – that’s what Bertarelli wants to do.  It’s all about the money, now, and it used to be all about the competition.  For instance, no one ever would have dreamed of selling the event to the highest bidder like Alinghi did with Valencia.  When we won and it came to San Diego – think of how much we could have sold the event for.

SA: Sure, New York or San Francisco might have paid a fortune…

DC: Or Dubai in this modern era. If it was worth 600 million to the Spanish, imagine what it would be worth to someone with real money like Dubai.   So you’re getting the idea – it’s ALL about the money.  The sport is not part of it – the Cup is hardly a sport anymore.  Show me a real sport where the defending champion gets to control both sides of an event; who gets to race, what they race in, how much they can spend, what the rules are…come on!

SA:  Do you have any desire to get back into it?  Could you form another syndicate or take the wheel for another crack?

DC: No way!  As much as I’d like to, where am I going to come up with 100 million a year? We’re in a worldwide recession, and raising that kind of money just isn’t reality in the US – or the rest of the world, for that matter.

SA:  But with all these teams claiming they’re ready to challenge Alinghi….

DC: Most of them are paper teams.  They don’t have the wherewithal to mount a serious challenge.  The clubs are doing it for the fun of participating in what could end up being the America’s Cup, and the people doing it, by and large, are doing it for a paycheck.  They don’t need to show their budget to sign up for a challenge in Switzerland.  There are no entry fees.  Given the worldwide economy we’re seeing, I have to wonder about their sources of funding.  Even during the last Cup, Bertarelli needed to partially fund TNZ just so that some decent competition would show up – and that was when the global economy was in great shape.

SA: Back to money for a second.  There’s a perception that you were always able to raise money better than anyone else.  Has the search for sponsors been a big part of your America’s Cup career?

DC: It was the biggest part, other than the crew.  Without the money I couldn’t have had a program.  Without the sponsors there was no team.  How does the best sailor in the world with the best crew win the America’s Cup without a boat?

SA: He’s not going to.  So did you like the sponsor hunt?  Were you good at it?

DC:  I was good at it – I was the only one that raised the money from corporate sponsors.  Everyone else had rich benefactors.

SA:  What made you so good at it?

DC:  For one thing, I had no other choice.  It was either raise the money or not go.  I had a reputation for giving value for the sponsors’ investment – it wasn’t just slapping the name on the sail.  I had to sell more product for my customer – whether it was watches or airline seats. For each sponsor,  I came up with an individual marketing plan that went a long way towards satisfying that need.

SA:  Do you want to give some tips to young sailors looking for help on getting sponsors involved in their campaigns?

DC: The first bit of advice is this – out of a PR budget you might get something for putting a company’s name on your sail or trailer – but the real money has to come not from PR but from the marketing budgets.  Companies work on these during the 3rd and early 4th quarter when the budgets are submitted for the next year.  If you’re not included in that budget, there’s no real money for you.  The second tip is that you have to have a plan that will really add bottom line to the company – whatever the product is that they’re selling.  How, at the end of the day, is their investment in you going to return a profit?  Devise a marketing plan that will answer these questions and you’re far along toward getting a deal.  You can’t just go in with your hands out – you might get some go-away money from petty cash or a PR contingency budget, but not much.  They just don’t have much to give, especially now.

SA: What’s your favorite boat?

DC: It’s the Star boat! The best sailors in the world raced Stars, they were the most technologically advanced, the best sailmakers and the most clever, talented boat builders and sailors were all in them.  If you wanted to see how you stacked up against the best in the world, you’d race a Star.

SA: What else?

DC: I will say that I enjoyed racing with Buddy Melges in the E-Scow a great deal.

SA: The E-Scow fleet has an invitational regatta every year for the best teams in the country – the Blue Chip.  You won the Blue Chip, right?

DC: I actually won in ’77 as the Mystery Guest – a neat tradition in the E-fleet.  I found the E-boat to be challenging and rewarding, similar to a Star boat in many ways, though I could just never get comfortable sitting to leeward and heeling the boat downwind.  And I have to give all the credit in the world for those victories to Buddy Melges, who has always been one of my heroes, and one of the best sailors in history.

SA: When was the Star Class the best?

DC:  In the fifties and sixties and seventies, all the best sailors in the world ALL had star boats.  In the seventies too, actually up until about 1980.

SA: Are they still one of the most competitive fleets in your opinion?

DC: Definitely.  Probably the best sailors still, but it’s hard to say now because of the optimum weights in so many classes.  A 170 lb. guy can’t compete in a Snipe or a 470, a 150 lb. guy can’t compete in an Optimist with a 120 lb. guy, so who knows?

SA:  What was your least favorite boat?

DC:  The J/24 is my answer, and that goes to show how smart the Johnstone brothers are.   Bob Johnstone is one of the best marketing guys to ever live.  Certainly number one in sailing – by far.  Imagine, he takes a horrible racing boat and makes it the most successful one-design keelboat ever.  The guy’s a genius.

SA: You’ve had so much experience at every level of sailing – do you think there is a way to make it work on TV, or should we just stop trying to pretend it ever will?

DC: Other than the America’s Cup, I don’t think that sailing on TV will ever work.  I think we should put TV out of our minds and stop letting it run the sport like it does so many others.  It’s changed what sailing is all about, even the America’s Cup, which used to have a 4 ½  hour time limit, and reduced it to something that will fit in a two hour TV slot.  They changed Olympic sailing forever, instead of a true competition of the world’s best sailors, now we have a trophy dash that can fit in a five minute TV show with a Gary Jobson voiceover.  People watching TV aren’t paying the bills – it’s not like they’re paying to watch.

SA:  Here’s another good question from an Anarchist:  “I followed much of your career since the AC, and you’ve always done an outstanding job of selecting and racing PHRF killers.  It seems as thought you’re not only a great sailor with a great time, but you’re always ahead of the curve in selecting and optimizing.  Your latest purchase, Numbers, seems to be something of a disappointment so far – has it been?”

DC: Your reader is right – I did spend a lot of time in buying the right boat.  A big part of winning in PHRF is having a boat with a good rating. I had to buy a boat that had a number of boats already rated.  I had to buy a NY40 or Soverel 33, where there was a strong national or local rating so I couldn’t be singled out by the committee for a ratings change when I won.

As far as Numbers goes, I bought the boat for another reason, not just to win.  In the twilight of my sailing, I really enjoy sailing with my friends.  This boat can have 15 or 20 people, doesn’t matter which, and it doesn’t change the performance of the boat, it doesn’t matter.  Ten of our races are beer can races – the most fun and best attended race of the year, with a limit of 100 boats.  This boat lets me race without worrying if one or two too many show up.

SA: Anything else sell you on the boat?

DC: A lot of my friends had already sailed on the boat – Tom Whidden, Drew Fredeis, Brad Butterworth.  The previous owner, Dan Meyers, made sure the boat was very well taken care of.  Having four new mainsails and enough racing sails for the rest of my life is great for me – I can’t afford to spend $25,000 on a new mainsail for every regatta.

It’s all about the rating anyway.  If I do well, they’ll raise it a little higher, and if I don’t they’ll give me time.  It’ll all catch up with itself, so I’m not too concerned that I can’t win every regatta with it.  The important thing is that it’s a sweet boat to sail, it has mast jacks, it has every control known to man, it’s got a really sweet helm, the sails are beautiful – the finest North can make.  That’s why I bought the boat, as opposed to in the old days, looking for a rule-beater.

SA:  Another from the peanut gallery:  “After you’d won the LV Cup with Stars and Stripes but before the AC started with Koukaburra, you sailed one day against Steak & Kidney.  Many Australians believe this was the fastest 12 Metre ever built and could have made a real race for the Cup had the Royal Perth not been so against an East Coast boat representing them.  Was S&K faster than S&S?”

DC:  It wasn’t the fastest 12 ever built, but it was really good – certainly as good as the other Australian boats.  But they didn’t have the money or proper backing in the program, and some of their sailors were not as good, but it was a very fine boat.  Very quick, quicker than anyone knows, except for your questioner there.  That’s the most astute question of the bunch.  I’m surprised your guy would’ve know that – he must have been Australian.  The guy that wrote that was switched on – very good question.

SA: We do occasionally have smart folks on SA.  So what was the fastest 12 ever built?

DC: In light air, all around, as they originally came out, it would have been KZ-7 or KZ-3. In over 20 knots, unquestionably Stars and Stripes.

SA: Here’s another good one:  How did guys like Ash Boun, Lowell North, Carl Eichenlaub, and any others provide specific mentoring to you when you were young?

DC: Without the good fortune of growing up in San Diego when I did I would have been a different guy with a different outcome in my life, and a different result on the race course.  Having those sailors as my mentors here was a tremendous advantage to me.

I had a bit of common sense, and was good at copying other sailors’ good ideas, and ferreting out the good ideas from the bad ones.  Carl Eichenlaub was a brilliant builder/sailor.  I’ll give you an example – he and Lowell North came up with the idea of having a cedar-cored spruce mast on a Star boat to save weight aloft – no one else had that kind of thinking anywhere in the world.  Lowell North was perhaps the best sailor that ever lived – bar none.  He was a brilliant engineer who developed so much in sailing.  North was the one that came up with the idea of broad seams to put draft in the sails.  He refined the boom vang.  He figured out that moving jib leads in and out would make a big difference, and that taking weight out of the ends of the boats and off the tip weight of the mast was a huge breakthrough.  Malin Burnham also was part of this group.  He was an intuitive sailor, a natural sailor – he could win with sheer talent.  If he worked as hard as these others, he would’ve won everything.  What I learned from those great sailors was there are a lot of different ways to win:  Intelligence, natural ability, hard work, and a combination of all of them.  I feel very fortunate to have been part of this group.

Because I couldn’t afford my own boat at the time, I had to crew for these guys – which turned out to be a godsend!  The very first boat I got was a Star boat, and it took it to my first ever Star Worlds in 1970.  It was the oldest boat in the fleet.  Guess what happened?

SA: You won?

DC:  I won.  Lowell North came second.  I had two seconds and three fifths.  People started saying, “Who’s Dennis?”  Then I won two Congressional Cups, and Turner asked me to come crew for him in the America’s Cup trials in 1974.  But beating North, one of my true idols, and winning the Star Worlds – that was the turning point of my life.

SA:  And what do you think is more valuable for young (11-16 years old) sailors – to sail in Sabots and Optimists or to sail as part of a program on a bigger boat?

DC: For sure, kids should be in smaller one-design boats like Optimists, Lightnings, 420s, 29ers, Lasers, that sort of thing.  Certainly not sabots.

SA: So what boats do you have now?

DC: I’ve got the Farr 60 Numbers, the beautiful 51′ Sparkman & Stephens classic sloop Brushfire, four Etchells, two identical 53′ Formula Ones berthed at North Cove in downtown Manhattan – we do sails for the public and corporate team-building events with those boats.  We have a similar program here in San Diego with the IACC boats Abracadabra and Stars & Stripes.  I also own a few power boats, but maybe my coolest boat is the 140′ replica of the boat that started it all – the schooner yacht America.

SA:  And what do you do with her?

DC:  We take tourists out for sunset sails, weddings, whale watching trips, that kind of thing. She’s really fast!

SA: Why haven’t you been sailing in the Etchells lately?

DC: I have a blood clot in my leg that keeps me from hiking, which means no Etchells sailing for the time being.   I look forward to regaining my health to sail in the Etchells Worlds in San Diego in 2010.

SA:  Well, we certainly hope that you get over your injury, and that we see you back in the Etchells fleet soon.  Sailing isn’t the same without you.

DC: Injury or not, I’m still sailing, and life is good.  As the son of a fisherman, I really appreciate everything I have and everything I’ve had the opportunity to do.  I’ve been Commodore of the San Diego Yacht Club, Yachtsman of the Year 7 times, I’ve won an Olympic Medal, Star Worlds twice [once with five bullets -ed], three Etchells World Championships, four America’s Cups…I’ve been on the cover of Sports Illustrated with President Reagan, on the cover of Time Magazine – how can you beat that?  And after all of it, I can still see the house I grew up in from where I’m talking to you on the phone.  I really don’t have much to complain about.

SA:  Well, Dennis, you’ve been great, and everyone here really appreciates your time, and especially your honesty.  Thanks for letting us do this.

DC: Thank you, too – for doing this interview, and for the great site.

more here

Yachting: Teams start writing America’s Cup rules
9:16AM Wednesday Nov 12, 2008
Alinghi skipper Brad Butterworth says they are trying make preparations for the next America’s Cup more transparent. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Alinghi skipper Brad Butterworth says they are trying make preparations for the next America’s Cup more transparent. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Your Views
Has the America’s Cup become all about legal action, not yachting action?

GENEVA – America’s Cup holder Alinghi and 10 of its challengers started creating rules for the next race series today and again invited rival team BMW Oracle Racing to drop its lawsuit and join them.

The teams agreed to work together writing rules for a 33rd America’s Cup they hope will happen in 2010, and to elect two new members to an arbitration panel tasked with ensuring fair play.

Mike Sanderson, skipper of the British entry Team Origin, told The Associated Press he could not have asked for more from the competitors’ meeting.

“As challengers we’ve never had the luxury of this much involvement,” Sanderson said in a telephone interview. “Everything is up for discussion and there’s no sacred ground.”

The meeting at Alinghi’s home yacht club in Geneva came two weeks after 12 teams met in an attempt to get the America’s Cup back on the water after a year of bitter legal wrangling.

Alinghi defended its title against Team New Zealand in a thrilling 32nd Cup raced off the coast of Valencia, Spain, in July 2007.

San Francisco-based BMW Oracle Racing has been in a bitter court fight for more than a year trying to become the Challenger of Record, which would give it the right to help Alinghi set the rules for the next multichallenger America’s Cup.

A decision in that drawn-out case is expected from the New York State Court of Appeals next year and BMW Oracle has not been involved in the relaunch meetings.

Sanderson repeated the request today for BMW Oracle to drop the suit and join the Geneva talks.

“There is still a lawsuit out there that is potentially ruining America’s Cup sailing,” Sanderson said. “Apart from the lawsuit everything has been laid out beautifully.”

In a statement issued earlier, GGYC spokesman Tom Ehman said it would drop legal action when Alinghi adopted fair and competitive rules.

“While it is unfortunate that we won’t be part of the process, we are hopeful that the other challengers can still achieve the goal of establishing fair rules with (Alinghi),” Ehman said.

After the Geneva meeting, Alinghi skipper Brad Butterworth said the process of preparing for the Cup was “as fair as it has ever been.”

“It is above reproach,” Butterworth told The AP by telephone. “We are trying to make teams like Oracle feel like there is a fair and democratic process.”

Teams from Belgium, Britain, France, Italy, New Zealand, Sweden and South Africa joined their Swiss host to agree on selecting a race committee and choosing regatta officials from sailing’s governing body, the ISAF.

Butterworth said the promise to add two members to form a five-strong arbitration panel was a positive step.

“That should go a long way to making (BMW Oracle) feel more comfortable, and to see that things are transparent,” he said.

The teams are scheduled to meet again in Geneva early next month, before a December 15 deadline to enter the 33rd Cup.

– AP

20.10.2008 CET
First two weeks of sea trials in San Diego successfully completed.
Following two weeks of productive testing and scheduled maintenance, BMW ORACLE Racing continues the San Diego testing session this week. The Pacific Ocean session with the new BMW ORACLE Racing 90 will go through the end of November.

The 90-foot multihull yacht is still in the sea trials phase, with sensors and cameras collecting data from across all areas of the boat – sails, mast, keels, and rudders.

Last week, the BMW ORACLE Racing sailing team – led by French multihull expert Franck Cammas and team helmsman James Spithill (AUS) as the primary helmsmen – flew the hulls the first time (not just the windward float) downwind. At times, the boat speed topped 30 knots.

“However, we still have to be very careful,” Spithill said. “We continue pushing things a little bit harder and harder every day and we’re taking it gently and carefully. When you are flying both hulls you are a long way up from the water, so safety is very important. We will gradually increase the sailing range as we build up more experience with the BOR 90.”

The team completed the first phase of the trimaran’s sea trials in Anacortes on September 12. The warmer climate of Southern California will allow the team the opportunity to test the boat longer.

BMW ORACLE Racing is operating from a temporary base in downtown San Diego, at the site of Dennis Conner’s former team compound when the America’s Cup was in San Diego.

Valencia Sailing

Monday, October 06, 2008
Ernesto Bertarelli talks to French newspaper Le Figaro

Ernesto Bertarelli, owner of America’s Cup defender Alinghi, talked to the French newspaper Le Figaro last week, when he was racing in the Voiles de Saint-Tropez on Numbers. The interview was published today and we provide the English translation for our non-French speakers.

Le Figaro: How did your meeting with Larry Ellison go?

Ernesto Bertarelli: In my opinion very well. We share the same passion for sailing and our points of view are not very distanced. But as we say “the devil is in the detail”. Between two visions that are quite close, interpretation can some times be a little bit different. But I’m still hopeful we’ll get along. We talked about what could be done and we’ll keep discussing. And not only with Larry. I was this weekend in Saint-Tropez to listen to all those interested in the America’s Cup and try to see whether a compromise is possible.

Le Figaro: BMW Oracle has offered to withdraw their legal action if we went back to a traditional Cup on the same basis as the last edition…

Ernesto Bertarelli: It doesn’t make any sense playing the same tune over and over. Everybody wants the next Cup to be raced with one boat per team in order to avoid spending staggering sums. We have to find a solution that will allow us to race with budgets within reach of more teams.

Le Figaro: The ideal Cup for you ?

Ernesto Bertarelli: It’s thus a cheaper Cup, multi challenger, and a Cup that generates the maximum interest among the public, sponsors and the media.

Le Figaro: What do the Americans want?

Ernesto Bertarelli: Very honestly, I’m perplexed. When negotiations were interrupted last year, I thought I had made a very important step towards the direction of the challengers, in particular BMW Oracle, with the 13 versions and rectifications of the protocol (rules). We gave them the liberty to choose the new boat rule and we agreed upon the format that everybody accepted, except the Americans. They were asking us not to participate in the challenger races. By definition, with only one boat this would exclude for us any possibility of training and development. It’s as if we were catapulted to the Roland-Garros final without even hitting one ball against anyone in training and without playing a single match.

Le Figaro: The Deed of Gift (founding document that sets the fundamental rules of the Cup) gives the defender a certain advantage…

Ernesto Bertarelli: Absolutely, but it’s not me who wrote it. It’s as if Rafael Nadal, after winning in Wimbledon, said “from now on we will only play on clay”. This document gives the winner the possibility to choose the site and rules of the regatta. It has been like that for 150 years. Nevertheless, I try to introduce some equity. And it’s essential, in the current financial context to reduce costs, if we want the Cup to exist beyond a few billionaires. It’s my principal objective.

Le Figaro: Do the Americans agree?

Ernesto Bertarelli: In principle yes. In fact, I’m waiting for them to stop their legal action.

Le Figaro: The have just filed their appeal papers…

Ernesto Bertarelli: I don’t see what it will bring them, if only a victory that would guarantee a multihull duel against us. This is the reason we continue building ours. And we are far from finishing it. I had a positive meeting with Larry Ellison, we have the impression we are getting along marvellously and agree on practically everything. But then, during execution, I have the impression we are lost on translation. Tom Ehman’s press release (spokesman of Golden Gate Yacht club) issued afterwards was not clear. And then Russell Coutts (Alinghi’s former skipper during their first victory in 2003) hasn’t helped the discussion so far.

Le Figaro: All that is a great waste..

Ernesto Bertarelli: Yes. The day after our victory, people rushed to criticize us, while the success of our management was shown by the success of the 32nd edition in Valencia. I do nothing but try hard to reproduce that success. We proposed a Cup with one boat in 2009 in order to secure sponsors. A year later, due to the legal actions, we haven’t advanced…

Le Figaro: Is there anything you regret?

Ernesto Bertarelli: Yes. We committed a fundamental error: we should have let a few weeks pass after the end of a really incredible 32nd America’s Cup, let pressure subside, before putting the documents on the table without explaining them. The communication of our vision was very bad. And we paid the price. But a year later, we realize our vision was probably a good one. I’m confident and it’s my duty to do all I can in order to find an equitable deal. But we also need good will from the other side as well.

Le Figaro: Will you participate in the event organized by Louis Vuitton and the New Zealanders in Auckland ?

Ernesto Bertarelli: There again, I’m perplexed. Team New Zealand proposes us to participate yet at the same time they are engaged in a legal action against us. Louis Vuitton says «the Cup, we are not interested anymore» and then sponsors that event… We would like to go but that could create antecedents with potential sponsors of the next Cup.

Le Figaro: When do you think the next Cup will take place ?

Ernesto Bertarelli: I think you have to count on 2010. With Valencia on the first row. The infrastructure is already available. We already have enough problems and we don’t need to add more. You don’t organize an America’s Cup by snapping your fingers.

more here

Both floats have curved foils that are designed to give lift, but they saw limited use on this day, and it is unclear how they will be used in a tack. There is also a trim tab on the main hull daggerboard, which is contolled by the center wheel at the helm station. The team was clearly sailing the boat carefully, but they finally pushed a little harder during the end of the day. While sailing upwind in no more than 9 knots of breeze, they heeled the boat enough to sail on only the leeward float, making even speed with our media boat at roughly 26 knots.

Is that a lot of twist?

Valencia Sailing

Alinghi statement in response to BMW Oracle Racing’s comments on the 33rd America’s Cup Protocol

[Source: Alinghi] Following yesterday’s ‘Myth and Reality’ statement issued by BMW Oracle, Alinghi can only say that the team’s interpretation of the facts is perverse, partial and outdated.

Since the end of the 32nd America’s Cup in July 2007, BMW Oracle has repeatedly proclaimed an unfair Protocol as justification for its destructive legal strategy. In its single-minded pursuit of a Deed of Gift Match against Alinghi, BMW Oracle has drastically weakened all 33rd America’s Cup challengers and when given the opportunity to get the America’s Cup back on the water the team refused Alinghi’s offer of a one-to-one multihull race in 2009 instead hoping for victory through forfeit.

The reality is that by the end of 2007, 12 challengers were ready to participate along with the Defender in a conventional multi-challenge event but BMW Oracle held the America’s Cup community hostage with its New York law suit. In August 2008, following the Appellate Division decision in favour of the Société Nautique de Genève (SNG) and Alinghi, BMW Oracle once again chose to continue with its self-serving pursuit of a Deed of Gift Match by extending its legal strategy despite delaying proceedings and keeping the challengers out of business.

Anyone interested in the 33rd America’s Cup Protocol might find Alinghi team skipper Brad Butterworth’s interview in this month’s Seahorse magazine insightful. BMW Oracle’s accusations are false and outdated; they do not take into consideration the many concessions that the SNG/Alinghi and the Challenger of Record, Club Náutico Español de Vela (CNEV), have made in order to achieve a resolution to this dispute nor do they consider the number of amendments to the original Protocol that were introduced in collaboration with the entered challengers. Since launching its legal attack, what has BMW Oracle ever brought to the table other than demanding every point in discussion be resolved to its advantage?

BMW Oracle should not forget that it is the right and duty of the Defender of the America’s Cup, together with the Challenger of Record, to set the terms of the competition and to organise the next event. Alinghi has won the America’s Cup twice ‘fair and square’ on the water. The 32nd America’s Cup organised by AC Management was recognised by many to be the most successful America’s Cup ever. Alinghi strongly suggests to BMW Oracle to drop its law suit and enter the 33rd America’s Cup as a challenger – like the majority of teams have done – and to improve its track record on the water.

Despite BMW Oracle’s continued PR and legal strategy Alinghi will continue to work towards a conventional multi-challenger America’s Cup and is organising meetings for all challengers to gather and discuss the terms of the next event.

12.09.2008 CET
Interview with Franck Cammas.
Franck Cammas (FRA) is skipper of the “Groupama” program and BMW ORACLE Racing multihull consultant. In an interview for the Groupama website, Cammas shares his thoughts about the new BMW ORACLE Racing 90.

Franck, what is your feeling after the first sailing session on board BMW ORACLE Racing 90?

“It is the first ever boat of this size designed and built for in-port racing and match racing only. She is very impressive, and the size of the mast is just amazing. She’s a no-compromise boat, aimed exclusively at performing. She is extreme and provides extreme sensations too!”

How do you rate the performance you have reached so far?

“We haven’t gone full on yet. We need to build up our confidence and then we will be able to sail more aggressively. The boat is designed for light winds. She reaches Groupama’s top speeds easily, however much quicker than G3. Now it would be different with 25 knots of wind, and Groupama 3 would be quicker. But this boat is exceptional under 15 kts. We are still very careful. It’s extreme, we must not take risks. There is a lot of pressure when bearing away, we could feel the pressure amongst the crewmembers when we did it for the first time.”

Is it a difficult boat to sail for the crewmembers?

“Well, the sail size is huge, which will make it difficult for the crew when the wind starts blowing. We will have to reduce our sail size very quickly. There is space for a lot of people on board, but we will have to restrict the number of crewmembers. Everything is so big that it will be difficult to make good maneuvers, like we do on a 60’ or Groupama 3. At this stage, we are still discovering a lot. Luckily, we have time.”

Tell us about your Groupama team members that are also involved with BMW ORACLE Racing 90.

“Jean-Marc Normand has been here since 2 months; he was part of the construction team and got involved with specific parts such as the foils. Bruno Laurent is the boat captain; he manages the little daily jobs and makes the link with the BOR team. Finally, Thierry Fouchier is also part of the BOR team as front sails trimmer. Obviously, some other French people are also in the design team, including VPLP.”

What’s the general feeling amongst you?

“It’s great; we are all excited and we learn a lot. We discover a method. I think it is the same for the other guys: some of the sailors who come from the America’s Cup discover multihulls for the first time and they immediately get to sail on the fastest one in the world; it’s impressive for them. The level of construction of the boat is very high, which is new on this type of boats. It makes it an expensive boat; lots of people have been involved in the construction. It’s a Stradivarius, perfectly built and finished. It’s great for our confidence in the boat.”

What about your other projects, are they suffering from your absence?

“Groupama 3 is currently being repaired in France. We learn a lot here, and the entire team will benefit from this experience.”
Related Box

Saturday, September 13, 2008
BMW Oracle replies to Ernesto Bertarelli’s interview

Note: below is published the English translation of an interview Ernesto Bertarelli, Alinghi’s owner, gave the Italian press in Porto Cervo, Italy, during the Rolex Maxi Yacht Cup. BMW Oracle sent the following statement, addressing the claims made by Bertarelli that in their view needed correction.

[Source: BMW Oracle] Myth and reality: what’s really at stake with the America’s Cup

A recent interview published on Valencia Sailing with Ernesto Bertarelli reported several claims that we believe need correction. The following summary addresses the key points raised in that interview and summarizes the relevant factual background to them.

Myth 1: The only real problem with the original protocol was that Alinghi should have done a better PR job and taken more time to present its vision for the future. Apart from that it was a fundamentally good document.

Reality: The protocol was unacceptable for the following reasons:
• Defender able to change the rules at any time
• Defender able to exclude or disqualify any challenger at the discretion of its management company, ACM
• Defender elected the race officials and the arbitration panel
• Defender allowed to race in the challenger series. As they are already guaranteed a place in the America’s Cup they can therefore eliminate a team or influence the outcome of the series at no risk to themselves.
• Defender deciding a new design rule that it had a potential head start in developing
• Defender eliminated the Common Declaration that requires both sides to declare their race boat at the same time. The challenger was required to use the boat they qualified in, but Alinghi remained free to select its race boat just before the start of the match. This was a huge advantage as the new design rule created boats whose performance varied considerably with wind conditions: in light wind a boat designed for nine knots would beat one designed for 13 knots by five meters per minute. Unlike the challenger, the defender could select its preferred boat for the forecast at the time of the race.
• Defender set the challengers’ practice race schedule – Alinghi would decide when challengers could practice and who they were allowed practice against. (see Myth 3)

For these reasons, seven syndicates (Luna Rossa, Mascalzone Latino, Areva Challenge, United Internet Team Germany, Emirates Team New Zealand, BMW ORACLE Racing, Victory Challenge) all wrote calling it the worst protocol in the history of the event.

Mascalzone Latino and Emirates Team New Zealand have continued to publicly strongly oppose the protocol. ETNZ is suing Alinghi for exercising anti-competitive control over the event.

Myth 2: It is agreed that the protocol did have some problems but that it was only intended as a first draft and Alinghi fixed all serious concerns.

Reality: It is fair to note that the revised protocol removed some of the defender’s earlier rights to remove Arbitration Panel members. But otherwise it retains a whole new level of control over the event. Under the “new” protocol the following conditions still apply:
• The defender can change the protocol back at any time it wishes to the previous document
• Challengers gain no input on the appointment of neutral officials
• The defender and ACM are pointedly excluded from any binding obligation to act in a manner that complies with fair dealing, good sportsmanship or fair play
• The defender can still disqualify any competitor who disputes the protocol.

Myth 3: Each team would have only one boat, and the defender setting the sailing schedule would make the event fairer and more affordable.

Reality: The rules allowed each team to build two boats and doing so was part of Alinghi’s development strategy from the outset.

Additionally, Alinghi gained the new power to organize the challengers’ practice schedule. This could be done to suit its training preferences and needs at the expense of rivals. No other sport permits a defending champion to do this. The schedule should be set by an independent body.

Myth 4: While Alinghi attempted to negotiate a reasonable way forward “the Americans wouldn’t even come to the meetings.”

Reality: There were in fact close ongoing negotiations involving all parties. As a result of these discussions, on 15 November 2007 Emirates Team New Zealand, Team Origin, and Team Shosholoza joined with GGYC in formally putting a compromise proposal to the defender. Alinghi rejected this. The defender was offered the choice of ten mediators. But it also rejected these.

Myth 5: Alinghi attempted to negotiate a genuine multihull race but GGYC refused to enter into these negotiations in order to maximize an unfair advantage it had in build time.

Reality: GGYC requested meetings with Alinghi to negotiate a mutual consent regatta involving all teams. The defender declined to enter into these discussions. It also insisted as a prerequisite to negotiating a Deed of Gift race that it not only have the right to name the venue but also the challenger’s right to name the date. The build time requirements were clear to both teams from the outset. Alinghi’s later claims to have been “surprised” by the timing were inconsistent with Ernesto Bertarelli’s earlier statements in late 2007 that he was already preparing for a multihull race in 2008.

Myth 6: Alinghi continued to offer new changes to the protocol but GGYC always demanded more.

Reality: In support of the above compromise proposal, on 15 November 2007, GGYC in fact formally committed to putting a letter to discharge its court case in the hands of a third party for action when Alinghi settled (thus ensuring any agreement was binding and would not be subject to any further negotiation.)

Myth 7: There is no reason to re-open the protocol

Reality: This dogged refusal to re-examine the protocol suggests Alinghi wants to retain the very serious imbalances in its favor as set out in Myth 2 for obvious reasons.

Myth 8: Alinghi’s power to refuse any entry is not a real problem

Reality: This raises the question as to why they insist on retaining it. In fact this right confers a huge power on the defender. It is hard to think of any sport where a defender gets to pick and choose between who can challenge it.

Myth 9: Concerns about CNEV were only technical, so it has been perfectly reasonable for Alinghi to also respond by challenging technical details

Reality: CNEV was not, nor ever has been a genuine yacht club. CNEV has itself essentially admitted this fact. And while the rules may have been bent in the past for new entrants this has never been done for a Challenger of Record, let alone one acting in collusion with the defender.

No one has ever seriously disputed the proposition that in return for securing the event in Spain CNEV agreed to whatever conditions the defender wanted. The generous terms it was prepared to give the defender as part of this deal are reflected in the protocol. (See Myth 1)

Myth 10: While is it unusual for Alinghi to be “judge organization and participant at the same time” this is acceptable as part of implementing a better vision for the future.

Reality: It is revealing that Alinghi do not dispute this description of the protocol. They merely argue that they can be trusted with such a disproportionate level of power. The fact is no major credible sporting organization has ever agreed to such an imbalanced proposition.

Myth 11: The issues are stake are not really worth all this delay and upset and we should all move on to an event along the lines that Alinghi is suggesting.

Reality: Having a regatta that is called the “America’s Cup” does not mean it really is the America’s Cup. Take away the prospect of genuine competition between equal teams and you end the event. Protecting a genuine America’s Cup is definitely worth fighting for.

Myth 12: GGYC just don’t want to settle this.

Reality: GGYC’s offer to return to the successful rules of the last event is still on the table. Alinghi could agree to this and we could all go sailing tomorrow. We believe most syndicates would welcome this as a sensible solution, but Alinghi have never explained just why it remains so deeply unattractive to them.

Labels: Alinghi, BMW Oracle

posted by Valencia Sailing @ 10:11 PM

For non-italian readers
We publish anew version of exclusive video interview with Ernesto Bertarelli, Alinghi’s owner, regarding the America’s Cup.
The Swiss yachtsman was in Porto Cervo, Sardinia where he won Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in the Mini Maxi division with a comfortable margin, scoring four bullets in six races. Bertarelli has chartered the 66ft yacht Numbers and raced with a crew almost entirely of Alinghi team members.
Bertarelli talked to the Italian media present in the regatta for about half an hour, covering most aspects of the America’s Cup. The interview was in Italian for the convenience of our non-Italian readers we publish the translation here.
This new version has the same content but the audio is better and the video editing is different.
We thanks Pierre Orphanidis of Valencia Sailing for the translation.
di vela, specialmente
Skype: zerogradinord
Ernesto Bertarelli
Press conference
Porto Cervo – 6 settembre 2008
Copyright video:
Question: Given the latest court decision in favor of Alinghi, are you thinking about a multichallenger
America’s Cup?
Ernesto Bertarelli: You could think about organizing an America’s Cup next year with
multiple challengers but even if you consider there is a very small percentage the court might
rule and decide that Cup doesn’t count it is not feasible. We are currently in the same situation
we have been for some time now, waiting.
Question: Is there still room for diplomacy in the duel between Alinghi and BMW Oracle?
Ernesto Bertarelli: We have been using diplomacy for a year now. I think we committed an
error in July 2007. We should have taken the scheduled 3-week holidays immediately after
winning the America’s Cup. The other big error we made was that instead of putting the
documents on the table, we should have first presented our vision, the reason of existence of
the new Protocol. We made a mistake and didn’t do these two things.
Yet, what we did from July until November was to sit with the Challengers, always inviting
BMW Oracle, and made 13 modifications to the Protocol. We also let the Challengers, without
our presence, take a decision on the new boat rule. We then agreed on the regatta format.
During these 3-4 meetings the Americans always refused to attend and instead decided to go
ahead with their litigation to Justice Cahn.
After they won the case with Justice Cahn we once again sat with them and told them, “very
well, you won, let’s now work this out and find a solution to go out of the court and on the
water for a multihull race”. They refused a solution that would have given us the time to build
a boat. We couldn’t accept a regatta where they would have ready a 90ft catamaran while we
only had a Version 5 ACC yacht or a 40ft catamaran. This is why we appealed because we had
made an offer.
Can we talk about diplomacy when one party doesn’t want to give in, or better said when one
party takes a step ahead but the other party always takes a step back? This took place from
July until November. In fact they always tried to justify their actions with the idea of fairness
but when they are given the opportunity to race on multihulls on an equal foot, they refuse it.
I can’t understand this concept!!
Question: Given the latest modifications on the Protocol, do you think it still needs further
Ernesto Bertarelli: The Protocol has been modified 13 times. The Challengers approved it
and I don’t think there is any reason to restart a process that has matured. In fact, the
Protocol wasn’t a problem anymore. We are back again discussing the Protocol, it seems
Oracle is playing the same record again and again. That issue was behind us already last
Then the argument about the boat came up, claiming that Alinghi had designed the boat
before winning the America’s Cup. At that point we gave the Challengers the opportunity to
choose the rule and they accepted it by changing from 25 to 23 tonnes.
Then, after the protocol and the rule were settled, they came up with the issue of the regatta
format, the defender’s participation, semifinals, the training sessions, etc. We also discussed
that with the challengers and after reaching an agreement we went back to BMW Oracle and
waited for their reply. They showed they had absolutely no intention to adjust. All these things
have been done.
Still today, we have been organized many times in order to reopen a conversation with the
challengers on some issues but a lot has already been done. There is no reason to reopen the
protocol, maybe we should reconsider the issue of the boat. We know that the AC90 has been
thoroughly studied by BMW Oracle that had the means to go ahead with a double design team.
They have a design team for the monohull and another one for the multihull. We cannot afford
it and obviously no other team can afford it either. As a result, keeping the AC90 would give
them an advantage.
Question: Does that mean that Alinghi would accept BMW Oracle in a multi-challenger
America’s Cup?
Ernesto Bertarelli: Of course. As I said earlier, they have to clearly show they have the
intention to participate in a common vision of the America’s Cup. If they demonstrate it there
is no reason not to accept them. We never wanted to refuse any entry.
Question: But the Protocol signed with CNEV gives you exactly that power, to refuse an entry.
Ernesto Bertarelli: We never refused any entry. Still, before even refusing anyone they
would have to file an entry. I would like to become a member of the Yacht Club Costa
Smeralda but the first thing they would ask me would be, “Have you filed an application? File it
Question: Were you surprised by the favorable decision of the appellate court?
Ernesto Bertarelli: Yes, I was surprised. First of all, I was surprised by the total and
complete way we won, I wasn’t expecting that. I think that if you scrutinize the Spanish, then I
thought it would be fair to also scrutinize the Americans. The certificate they presented, where
they mention a 90ft by 90ft boat with a keel and then they show us a trimaran with no keel
and whose official certificate we are still waiting to see, as written in the Deed of Gift, was an
issue at least as relevant as the annual regatta.
The problem is that with a document 150 years old that depends on the NY court system,
especially the one we are in, in charge of Trusts, one could make up any lawsuit. This is what I
told Larry last December; “You won the first set but not yet the match”. I see things that could
be done in order to guarantee the long-term success of the America’s Cup. We wrote that open
letter that mentioned the introduction of a way to avoid the civil courts and organize a sports
arbitration. What other sport ends up in a civil court? Other things as well could be done.
Once again, I think that Larry has been convinced about a strategy that today doesn’t exist
any longer.
Question: What struck you the most about the trimaran BMW Oracle has launched?
Ernesto Bertarelli: I would say it’s a light version of Groupama 3. [Note: At that point, Max
Procopio, Alinghi’s Italian press officer comments the yacht doesn’t have a keel]. Maybe they
will add the keel next year. Maybe that’s the reason we still haven’t received the yacht’s
certificate. Maybe they are still looking for a way to attach the bulb.
I understand they go out and test it but I find quite unpleasant the fact they issue a press
release every two days about a trimaran that has disqualified 13 teams with at least 50 people
each (sailors, designers, boat builders). We are talking about a lot of families that because of
that trimaran are jobless.
These are very beautiful boats. If we also build ours they will undoubtedly be exceptional.
Now, if Larry wanted to build a trimaran he could have come and told me. We could have used
the catamarans without stopping the whole process. In fact, I have invited him a couple of
times to come on the Geneva lake and try the catamarans. The D35’s are beautiful boats. It
wasn’t necessary to stop the America’s Cup to build the catamarans.
Question: You stated that you thought Larry Ellison was convinced to follow the legal action.
Ernesto Bertarelli: I’m sure Russell Coutts’ hand is behind this whole affair. The last time I
saw Ellison was two weeks before their match against Luna Rossa. Since then I haven’t seen
him again. I have talked to him but I don’t know how this strategy was built. I have talked to
Larry over the phone many times, especially after the protocol modifications, he used to say
“you have fixed the protocol but you have already started designing the boat”. I frankly told
him that we didn’t.
I think that he’s not alone in deciding the strategy. I know better Russell and he lives the way
he races. He doesn’t leave anything but when you are not in a leadership position the issue is
not to go all the way to the layline. In business and in project management at times it’s better
to tack a little bit before the layline to give your opponent space. Maybe he’s very good in
match race or even the best but in real life you always have to leave space.
Question: Did you have fun aboard Numbers in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup?
Ernesto Bertarelli: A lot! Numbers is a very beautiful boat but unfortunately Dan wants to
sell it. I think I have enough yachts, don’t forget I’m building a small carbon fiber multi hull.
Numbers is a spectacular boat, fast upwind and very exciting downwind.
Question: Without getting into details about your legal bills what could have one achieved in
sailing with that money?
Ernesto Bertarelli: I could have participated in all the classes and all the regattas. Just in
lawyers you spend as much as a season of regattas, including the purchase of Numbers.
Question: Let’s return to diplomacy. Is it true that there was a tentative mediation by Grant
Ernesto Bertarelli: [Laughs] This is a good one. Grant Dalton has acted in a very bad way,
very bad way. When he took over Team New Zealand and needed help to find money, to get
bridge financing in order to pay the contracts, I lent him. When they had to train they did it
with us. Michel Bonnefous helped him in an incredible way when their boat was damaged in
Marseilles. Then he started playing that game, one day I’m with Alinghi, the next I’m with
BMW Oracle.
His lawsuit lacks any fundamental. You can’t sign an agreement for a protocol where it is
clearly stated that there is an arbitration panel to resolve all disputes and then forget it and file
a lawsuit claiming damages because of the same contract. In fact, our first argument, before
entering into the core of the issue, is that. It is clearly stated in the contract he signed that
there is an arbitration panel.
In my view Dalton’s policy is similar to a sailor that sees wind shifts. Shift right, shift left, then
at the end he tacks so many times that he finds himself stopped.
Question: Dalton apart, could there exist a mediator?
Ernesto Bertarelli: Mediation.. Russell Coutts and Brad Butterowrth know each other since 25
years now. If we want to talk we can talk. If we want to get together, like we did in the past,
we can do it. If I want to talk to Larry Ellison I can talk. Mediation is needed when there is a
reason, not because we can’t talk. Or, it is needed when a decision needs to be taken.
Somebody external will ask, “today why do I have to mediate? what decision do we have to
Question: Are you still in love with the America’s Cup?
Ernesto Bertarelli: I’m still in love with Alinghi, the team, the designers, in fact Numbers is a
part of team Alinghi. Dan is a friend of Brad’s, supporting us in New Zealand each time we
won, a fan of our team. The team, these things are beautiful, when you see the results, the
achievements of the team.
Question: Regardless of its final outcome, your victory in the appellate division gave you
more time. How are you going to use it?
Ernesto Bertarelli: We will maintain both programs, not as far as development is concerned
because I’ve told my people we can’t have the twin-team strategy. We worked on he AC90 till
the end of last year and since the beginning of this year on the multihull. The multihull hasn’t
been finished yet, we are in fact in the midst of its development as as a result we aren’t in a
position to begin the development of a monohull today.
We will wait for the meetings with the challengers in order to have an idea of what we want to
do. Probably, by year’s end we will have the human resources to start again. If we now have
more time than we did before, we will have more space to organize ourselves.
Question: Some challengers complained that the profit split from the last Cup was too slow
and tedious.
Ernesto Bertarelli: Before they complain they should remember that for the first time in
America’s Cup history there was a profit to split. That was the result of 4 years of work, or
better said 7, because we first had to win it, then take it to Valencia, then react to all criticism
against Valencia, then manage it and make a profit. From 2003 onwards, twice a year, we
presented results audited by Ernst & Young. At the end we made a profit and the way it was
split was in the Protocol, signed by the Challengers.
Then the challengers agreed on how they would split it among them and things couldn’t get
done in a clearer and more transparent way. What I don’t like is that without any doubt, I’m
sure about that, the profit we achieved in 2007 will not be repeated. We launched ourselves
but got stopped. Relaunching everything will be very difficult.
Question: You have a vision about the future of the America’s Cup. Have you thought about
taking care of the organization without participating?
Ernesto Bertarelli: For the moment no, but maybe some day. It’s not my ambition to repeat
NYYC’s results. As I often said, I wanted to win the first time. Then I hoped to win a second
time and that time my ambition was to leave it better than what it was when first won it. This
is still my aim.
Question: Do you like the idea of becoming sailing’s Bernie Ecclestone?
Ernesto Bertarelli: I don’t think that the F1 model is the correct one for the America’s Cup.
Formula 1 is controlled by a single person, a single company. I think it would be more
appropriate a model of a federation of yacht clubs. Not all yacht clubs of the world, like an
athletic federation, but the yacht clubs that have participated in or maybe that have won the
America’s Cup.
Question: The accusation you most often receive is your desire to be judge, organization and
participant at the same time.
Ernesto Bertarelli: I mentioned the reasons earlier. Our targets were the following. First,
reduce the America’s Cup cycle to two years instead of four. It was not a question of euphoria
but of urgency to relaunch, to remain on the successful wave, immediately sign the host city
agreement and keep the public interested by giving a date. The second issue was to introduce
a new boat. All you have to do is walk around Porto Cervo and listen to people talking about
Numbers. The AC90 is very different from Numbers but a boat that is faster downwind, bigger,
more spectacular would have been the best option. The third issue was that although we
showed it was possible to make a profit, by creating sponsor and TV interest, costs were still
too high.
For these reasons we wanted to carry out a 2-year project, with the teams having only one
boat, including the defender. But when the Defender has only one boat, it can’t train when the
rest of the teams are racing, unless it participates in the Selection Series. This fact, our
participation in the selection series, was used against us in order to say the Protocol was
unfair. It was easy because clearly some people had that idea of the Defender being left out of
the selection, training alone with two boats. They didn’t understand that the fundamental
reason was cost reduction and if one stops training 4 months before the Cup they will
obviously lose it. Yet, we never even proposed that we should have 2 boats.
Those were the three main targets: Two years, a new boat and cost reduction.
Question: Do you still defend the choice of Club Náutico Español de Vela (CNEV) as
Challenger of Record?
Ernesto Bertarelli: One kicks the CNEV, then another one gives it another kick and when it
falls down, everybody starts kicking. Desafío did better than BMW Oracle. It wasn’t a team of
losers. They did better, much better than Vincenzo Onorato. The fact the Spanish remained
honorable and didn’t react to what they received doesn’t mean they are losers.
Question: Shouldn’t have been better to name as Challenger of Record a yacht club that has a
certain tradition, like the English syndicate?
Ernesto Bertarelli: The English back in July 2007 and still now are an unknown entity. We all
talk now about the English but have you seen an English team? In the iShares Cup they just
have a 5-strong team. Can you tell me what they have more than the Spanish? These are
personal opinions regarding the relation between a yacht club and the team that represents it
and I will not enter into such a discussion.

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At the helm, Franck Cammas is discovering “a very pleasant boat which slips along nicely. During our first beat the crew were very tense”.

“This trimaran is the only one of its kind. She is fairly extreme and has enormous potential. We’re gradually taming her”. Designated as helmsman by Russell Coutts, the triple winner of the America’s Cup, during these initial outings, the skipper of Groupama has been collaborating with the American Team as a coach and consultant for over a year.

On the water, the power emitted by this trimaran which is over one and a half times the size of Groupama 2 is impressive. As wide as it is long at 27.5 metres, equipped with a mast which culminates at 50 metres high, a 500 m2 mainsail and a 700 m2 gennaker, she is designed to sail close to the shore in mild conditions.
On deck, the twenty or so crew are kitted out with helmets. At the helm, Franck Cammas is discovering “a very pleasant boat which slips along nicely. During our first beat the crew were very tense”.
As the hours went by though, in a very light breeze, the cosmopolitan crew familarised themselves with the monster: “There are three French sailors aboard including Bruno Laurent who, as is the case aboard Groupama 2, is the boat captain, and also Thierry Fouchier, the headsail trimmer, who has been sailing in our team since 1998”.

“Though some of the crew are only just discovering multihull sailing during these initial trials, it’s a bit different for us. My discovery is centred more on being a team and learning another way of working. It’s a very enriching experience” adds the skipper of the Groupama trimarans, who continues: “This experience is very beneficial for our team as we’re going to be able to transpose part of this knowledge onto Groupama 3, which is in the process of being reconstructed at the Multiplast yard in Vannes”.

Another member of the Groupama team present in the United States for the past two months, Jean-Marc Normant has been following the end of the construction of the BMW Oracle trimaran: “It has been manufactured to a remarkably high standard. There has been great attention to detail despite the very tight timing; the work taking just nine months.” The project is something that the head of Groupama’s design office, Loïc Dorez, has had a great deal of involvement in, particularly during the design phase; thus enabling the BMW Oracle Team to save precious time.

It now remains for the discovery to continue: “We’re going about it very progressively. Everyone is highly concentrated and rigorous as they’re aware of the risks linked to the power of the boat and the sail surface.”

With a surface area equivalent to that of two basketball courts, the black and white trimaran is continuing to fill the crew with wonder. All they have to do now is to get the very best out of their steed in view of the duels which may take place if the New York Court of Appeal decides the trimaran event will go ahead in 2009.

Sea trials continue in Anacortes

It’s early days with the new BMW ORACLE Racing 90 but first impressions are positive from the sailors who have been sea-trialing the new trimaran on Puget Sound in Anacortes, WA.

“We’re not even at 50 percent yet and it’s already pretty impressive,” said James Spithill (AUS), one of the team’s helmsmen. Franck Cammas (FRA), long-time crew from the Groupama multihull program, is the helmsman for the Anacortes testing session. “The important part is to take it slow as we continue to learn about the boat. Most of us have not done anything like it. It’s a huge credit to the designers and boat builders that everything is working so well at this early stage.”

The sea trials are a progression as the team slowly ramps up the boat and its systems. On Monday, the team sailed the massive multihull for the first time ever. The first day, the boat was sailed with two reefs in the mainsail to reduce the sail area and the power. On Tuesday, the boat sailed without any reefs and with a Solent headsail. Progressively the loads on the boat will be increased.

“Today is another step forward and we will continue refining the systems,“ Spithill said before dock out for Day Two of the Anacortes shakedown.

“Each day we will push things a little bit harder and harder,” said team tactician John Kostecki (USA). “This boat is testing the limits. We are like test pilots and we’re taking it gently and carefully so we don’t have any majors. We’re quite happy with the initial performance of the boat.”

Wednesday the team plans another testing session on the Rosario Strait of Puget Sound.story. We are a young family and cruise the gulf and beyond year round.

01.09.2008 CET
New boat starts shakedown.
BMW ORACLE Racing starts shakedown of new boat in Anacortes.

One week after being launched, BMW ORACLE Racing’s new 90-foot multihull yacht hoisted sail here for the first time today and began its shakedown in 6-8 knots of breeze over four hours of testing on the Rosario Strait.

“This boat is incredibly challenging,” said team CEO and Skipper Russell Coutts. “We will take it conservatively in this testing session as we learn more about the boat and its potential.”

After leaving the dock at 11am, the team first hoisted the 5,000 square foot (500 meters square) mainsail up the 158-foot (48-meter) carbon fiber mast towering above the trimaran. Along with 14 sailing team crew on board today were eight members of the design and build team who continued structural and systems reviews.

The team partnered with Van Peteghem and Lauriot Prévost (VPLP) of France to design the innovative trimaran. One of the most successful skippers in multihull racing, Franck Cammas, has also consulted to the team and is the boat’s helmsman for the Anacortes shakedown.

Led by Mark Turner and Tim Smyth, the BMW ORACLE Racing construction team built the carbon composite boat over a nine month period. With engineers on the team, BMW provides its unique technological competence in intelligent lightweight design, and specialist expertise in finite element analysis and EfficientDynamics technology.

The new yacht is a key element of the team’s preparation for the next America’s Cup, representing San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC), on which a ruling is expected from the New York State Court of Appeals in the next six months.

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The initial on-the-water testing session will continue in Anacortes until the middle of September.

Billionaires’ Yacht Rivalry Spills Into Courtroom

Published: August 30, 2008

Poised to skate across the waves off Anacortes, Wash., is a 90-foot, three-hulled wonder-yacht designed to crush its competitors in the next America’s Cup. With a price tag of more than $10 million, it was built for the racing team of Lawrence J. Ellison, the billionaire who runs the software company Oracle.
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Isaac Brekken for The New York Times

The billionaires Ernesto Bertarelli, top, and Lawrence Ellison are fighting in court over a technicality.

But Mr. Ellison’s yacht, which launched last week with the swing of a bottle of Moët & Chandon Champagne, may not get a shot at the prestigious trophy this time around.

A bruising yearlong legal battle has so far blocked his effort to challenge for the cup. Mr. Ellison’s nemesis at sea and in court is a fellow member of the billionaires’ club, Ernesto Bertarelli, the former head of a Swiss company whose team, Alinghi, won the last two cup races.

Of course, the America’s Cup has long attracted those with outsize egos, competitive streaks and fortunes big enough to splurge on expensive toys — like Craig McCaw, the cellphone entrepreneur, and Ted Turner, who as skipper of Courageous won the cup in 1977.

But preparations for the next race have been particularly contentious, as lawyers for the two sides squabble over the 1887 “deed of gift” that set up the race. The idea 120 years ago was for the America’s Cup to create “friendly competition between foreign countries,” but in this case, it has led to enough billable hours for lawyers to buy boats of their own. The outcome of their battle will decide whether Mr. Ellison’s yacht can compete.

The lawsuit by the club behind Mr. Ellison contends that, among other things, the rules to govern the next cup are unfair.

After a ruling for Mr. Ellison and a reversal, the case rests with New York State’s highest court, and the date of the next cup hinges on its decision.

“We’ve wasted a lot of time, a lot of money,” Mr. Bertarelli said in a phone interview last week. But “winning the America’s Cup, in my view, is not only about money and numbers.”

If it were, the cost might have deterred even him, said Mr. Bertarelli, whose net worth was estimated by Forbes magazine to exceed $7 billion. (Mr. Ellison was worth three times that amount, according to the magazine.)

“Unfortunately,” he said, “I’m addicted to the team and the sport and the cup, which inspires. You just get addicted to it.” But, he added, “the rational me” should have said this was nonsense.

The race has taken detours through the court system before. In the late 1980s, the New Zealand team filed a legal challenge against the San Diego Yacht Club, defender of the cup, for racing a catamaran against a single-hulled boat. San Diego won on the water and in court.

This dispute is different. “This is nastier,” said John Rousmaniere, who is writing a history of the New York Yacht Club. “There is an element of distrust here.”

Passion for sailing runs high on both sides of the Ellison-Bertarelli dispute.

Mr. Ellison, whose spokeswoman said he was not available to be interviewed, fought weather to win the Sydney Hobart race off the coast of Australia in 1998; six sailors on other boats died in the storm. He is strong-willed, so much so that the skipper for his team, BMW Oracle Racing, ordered him off his yacht in the run-up to the 2003 cup.

Mr. Bertarelli, often the navigator on the boat his team races, has sailed competitively since his 20s. He said he “basically learned to walk on a sailboat” with his father near the family’s summer house in Italy. (His father was chief of the biotech company Serono until the junior Mr. Bertarelli took over in 1996; Merck bought the company last year.)

To help win the cup in 2003, he hired Russell Coutts away from New Zealand’s team. Bodyguards were hired after the team received threats from angry New Zealanders during the cup finals.

Mr. Coutts was then hired away by Mr. Ellison’s team. He is now in Anacortes, training on the newly launched trimaran. “I would love to get back into the racing,” he said, lamenting the litigation. “This is obviously the last thing we wanted, but having said that, I think these are really important issues.”

Mr. Bertarelli says Mr. Ellison is trying to win in court what he has not been able to win, in two attempts so far, on the water.

“It’s like winning no matter what. It’s almost, ‘I don’t care how I win.’ And that I can’t respect,” Mr. Bertarelli said. “I can respect someone who works really hard on the water, who works really hard in getting there, but keeps the sense of what it’s all about. It’s about a good regatta. It’s a yacht race, for God’s sake.”

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01.08.2008 (23:55 CET) – New York (USA) – Alinghi

BMW Oracle heads back to court to force its way as America’s Cup Challenger of Record
Sailing community disappointed by further delays in getting the race back on the water
Earlier this week the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Société Nautique de Genève (SNG) declaring Club Náutico Español de Vela (CNEV) the rightful Challenger of Record for the 33rd America’s Cup and denying the Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) this status.

After wasting more than a year in litigation and losing arguments, BMW Oracle has gone to court for the second time to force its strategy of eliminating numerous America’s Cup teams entered as legitimate challengers.

Brad Butterworth, team skipper of Alinghi and four-time America’s Cup winner, comments: “I’m disappointed that given the opportunity for a multi-challenger competition as a result of the Appellate Court decision, BMW Oracle has chosen to further delay the 33rd America’s Cup.”

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Who let them in here? Logan!!

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3 Responses to “Next Cup? Maybe? Maybe Knot ?”

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