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Meanwhile in Valencia… cold front keeps giant multihulls grounded

Posted on 24 January 2010 by Valencia Sailing

Greetings from cold and cloudy Valencia. The same front that pushed USA 17 yesterday to blaze at 22 knots of wind put the two giant multihulls into “hibernation” mode on Saturday afternoon, Sunday and most probably Monday. Strong breezes coupled with big waves forced the shore crews of the two America’s Cup teams to take the yachts out of the water as a precautionary measure.

Despite the apparently harsh conditions on Saturday, it could have very well been a race day. The day started with typical storm conditions, characterized by a strong north-northeasterly breeze that topped 20-22 knots at noon. It then dropped down to 10 knots for a period of 3-4 hours, with a surprising wind consistency both in intensity and direction. There was only a 10-degree shift, from 60 degrees to 70 and back in a considerably expanded area, in which a race diamond could perfectly fit. The breeze then picked up again as the threatening clouds reached Valencia.

The only bummer, for teams, organizers and spectators, is that a northeasterly direction means that the race axis is almost parallel to the coastline. Given the dimensions of the course and taking into consideration the exclusion zones of the commercial ports of Sagunto and Valencia, the starting line must be set 14 nautical miles from the coast!!!

Alinghi 5 out of the water waiting for the cold front to pass. Valencia, 24 January 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Sailing in the world’s sailing capital isn’t only about the America’s Cup. It’s also the TP52′s and the Louis Vuitton Series, even if there isn’t any event held here. Luna Rossa have bought Vasco Vascotto’s TP52 yacht and are already working on her modification to the new TP52 class rule, inside their boatshed, pushing the STP65 out. If my count is correct, there are 7 TP52′s yachts under modification right now in Port America’s Cup.

A few hundred meters from the Italian base, Team Origin have started moving into their new home in Valencia, the former K-Challenge base. The UK team will certainly use the base for the upcoming Louis Vuitton and TP52 seasons.

Out with the old, in with the new. Luna Rossa’s STP65 (right) is out of the boat shed, making room for the TP52 (left) freshly bought from Vasco Vascotto. Valencia, 24 January 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Team Origin are moving into their new home, the former K-Challenge base. Valencia, 24 January 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

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Statement from Tom Ehman, Golden Gate Yacht Club spokesman

Posted on 23 January 2010 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: BMW Oracle] The Deed of Gift requires the competing yachts to be “Constructed in Country.” In the court papers filed last night by Société Nautique de Genève, they admit they are using 3DL sails. Racing sailors the world over know that 3DL sails are American, not Swiss, made.

Instead of demonstrating that their sails have been constructed in Switzerland as required by the Deed of Gift, their court papers attempt to duck the issue with a long list of excuses, and shift the focus away from their own problems with bizarre attacks on our yacht.

In recent months, their excuses have been, literally, all over the map. First, it was, “Sails aren’t part of a sailboat.” Then, “It’s not an issue until we race.” Next, “Our sails were built in the USA but assembled in Switzerland.” Yesterday it was, “If we can’t use our 3DL sails we’ll forfeit.” Now, in their latest court papers, “GGYC’s boat is a French design.”

This is untrue, and there is nothing whatsoever in the Deed of Gift that says where, or by whom, a yacht must be designed — only that it must be constructed in the country of the yacht club it represents.

After claiming repeatedly, and erroneously, that GGYC is trying to win the Cup in court, SNG’s latest filing seeks to disqualify GGYC’s yacht. Moreover, SNG threatens to bring further litigation after the Match if they lose to GGYC on the water.

Making a modern sail is like baking a cake. You gather the ingredients, put it in a mold of a shape and size designated by your design team, and literally cook it. That’s what takes place at the 3DL plant in Minden, Nevada, where Alinghi’s sails were constructed. Shipping that cake to Switzerland and adding some candles does not make it “Swiss-made.”

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America’s Cup Defender submits ‘constructed in country’ opposition papers and a counter motion

Posted on 22 January 2010 by Valencia Sailing

Related documents and court filings:

- Opposition papers
- Notice of Cross Motion
- MOL Cross Motion
- Declaration of John Rousmaniere
- Alinghi Sails Certificate of Origin
- Whidden Affidavit
- Vrolijk Affidavit
- Tournier Affidavit
- Sahli Affidavit
- Pattison Affidavit
- Masmejan Affidavit
- MacLane Affidavit
- Irens Affidavit
- Giuffra Exhibits

[Source: Alinghi] Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), the 33rd America’s Cup defending yacht club, today presented its opposition arguments to the New York Supreme Court in response to Golden Gate Yacht Club’s (GGYC) ninth lawsuit; a misguided interpretation of the ‘constructed in country’ (CIC) requirement of the Deed of Gift, the event’s governing document. SNG’s comprehensive set of papers reaffirms its interpretation that only the ‘yacht or vessel‘ has to be constructed in the country of the club holding the Cup, and that sails do not.

SNG’s affirmations are supported by historical precedent, as reflected in the expert declaration of John Rousmaniere, a leading America’s Cup historian, ‘the donors of the original Deed of Gift never contemplated limits on foreign sails or foreign sail technology. Those donors, in fact, hoisted British sails in first winning the Cup with the schooner America. In fact, in adding the CIC clause to the Deed in 1882, George Schuyler, the last surviving donor, sought to ensure that the Cup remained a genuinely competitive event, while preserving the Cup’s international character. He thus struck that balance by limiting the CIC requirement only to a competing vessel’s hull, but not its sails.’

Additional documents presented to the court confirm that GGYC’s CIC claim is factually wrong: SNG’s sails were constructed in Switzerland and this fact is supported by an affidavit from Tom Whidden, president of North Sails, and an official certificate of Swiss origin from the Swiss Chamber of Commerce.

“SNG is certain of our yacht’s Deed compliance, including the ‘constructed in country’ provision and our interpretation is supported by the language of the Deed, historical precedent, and by the Cup donor’s intentions,” said Fred Meyer, vice-commodore of SNG. “In any event, GGYC’s CIC claim is factually wrong and we have submitted to the court substantial evidence proving that our sails are Swiss made. It is our view that we should go racing on 8 February. GGYC should end their legal strategy to try to delay the Cup and to try to gain competitive advantage over the Defender and should proceed with the competition on the water. If they wish, however, to pursue their latest lawsuit, then the judge should have a close look at BMW Oracle’s yacht, which does not comply with GGYC’s own interpretation of the Deed,” he concluded.

‘Constructed in country’ counter motion

In parallel to the opposition papers, SNG has presented a counter motion stating that, should GGYC’s interpretation of the CIC in the Deed of Gift be validated by the Court, then its own boat would be illegal. Affidavits from a number of leading experts in the field of yacht design, such as Duncan MacLane and Nigel Irens, support the fact that GGYC’s trimaran is in fact a French-designed boat and not American, as supported by photographic exhibits the boat also includes a number of non-American constructed elements. In addition, BMW Oracle’s yacht is not even a sloop, propelled by sails, with a main and a jib, as declared in the American club’s certificate of challenge, but a wing-mast rig.

SNG’s set of documents showcases how this latest motion by GGYC is in contravention of the spirit of the Deed of Gift and how Larry Ellison’s yacht club has forgotten the call for friendly competition between nations.

Excerpts from expert affidavits:

Excerpts from the declaration by John Rousmaniere (USA), America’s Cup historian:
”For more than a century of America’s Cup competition, nationality concerned only yacht clubs and yacht hulls. There were no nationality restrictions on sails in the first race in 1851, when the American donors of the America’s Cup used English sails. The first formal restriction of international exchanges of sail and other technologies was not established until after the nineteenth cup regatta in 1962. That was when the then trustee, the New York Yacht Club, issued what it would call an “interpretive resolution” limiting access to technology across national borders. Subsequently other, sometimes conflicting restrictions were imposed until all interpretive resolutions were rescinded by SNG and GGYC before the most recent cup races in 2007.”

“Unlike hulls, sails were not regarded as subject to nationality restrictions – not by sailors, not by sailmakers, and not by the donors and the trustee New York Yacht Club.”

“Had a stringent “constructed in country” rule – like the one proposed by Golden Gate Yacht Club in this action – been in place and enforced, in most of those nineteen regattas either the challenger or the defender (and sometimes both) might have been disqualified.”

“Since the complaints about Atalanta concerned how identical her “model,” or hull shape, was to U.S. yachts, “constructed” can only have meant “designed and built.” Nothing was said or even implied in the “Second Deed” about sails, scantlings, or other construction standards.”

Excerpt from the affidavit by Tom Whidden (USA), president of North Sails:
“In Switzerland, I understand that the Alinghi team constructed the sails for Alinghi 5 by (1) joining the 3DL pieces/sections to construct the body of the sails; (2) finishing the sails by traditional sail-making methods; and (3) transporting the constructed sails to the location of Alinghi’s yacht.”

Excerpt from the affidavit by Nigel Irens (GBR), multihull designer at Irens-Cabaret:
“In my view, the BOR yacht represents an extrapolation and adaptation of other current racing designs of the French firm, VPLP.”

Excerpt from the affidavit by Duncan MacLane (USA), multihull designer:
“Over the last ten years, there has been very little development of large performance multihulls in the United States. The larger racing multihulls have been concentrated in Europe, with European designers. The BOR 90 foot trimaran is clearly the offspring of European racing trimarans, particularly the ORMA 60′s and their development programs.”

Notes:

- Rousmaniere quote: SNG MOL in opposition to GGYC improper motion to ‘enforce’ the April 7, 2009 order and judgment, page 3.
- Rousmaniere excerpt 1: Rousmaniere affidavit, pages 2 & 3
- Rousmaniere excerpt 2: Rousmaniere affidavit, page 6
- Rousmaniere excerpt 3: Rousmaniere affidavit, page 7
- Rousmaniere excerpt 4: Rousmaniere affidavit, page 15
- Whidden excerpt: Whidden affidavit, page 4
- Irens excerpt: Irens affidavit, page 2
- MacLane excerpt: MacLane affidavit: page 2

Comments (22)

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America’s Cup Defender submits ‘constructed in country’ opposition papers and a counter motion

Posted on 22 January 2010 by Valencia Sailing

Related documents and court filings:

- Opposition papers
- Notice of Cross Motion
- MOL Cross Motion
- Declaration of John Rousmaniere
- Alinghi Sails Certificate of Origin
- Whidden Affidavit
- Vrolijk Affidavit
- Tournier Affidavit
- Sahli Affidavit
- Pattison Affidavit
- Masmejan Affidavit
- MacLane Affidavit
- Irens Affidavit
- Giuffra Exhibits

[Source: Alinghi] Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), the 33rd America’s Cup defending yacht club, today presented its opposition arguments to the New York Supreme Court in response to Golden Gate Yacht Club’s (GGYC) ninth lawsuit; a misguided interpretation of the ‘constructed in country’ (CIC) requirement of the Deed of Gift, the event’s governing document. SNG’s comprehensive set of papers reaffirms its interpretation that only the ‘yacht or vessel‘ has to be constructed in the country of the club holding the Cup, and that sails do not.

SNG’s affirmations are supported by historical precedent, as reflected in the expert declaration of John Rousmaniere, a leading America’s Cup historian, ‘the donors of the original Deed of Gift never contemplated limits on foreign sails or foreign sail technology. Those donors, in fact, hoisted British sails in first winning the Cup with the schooner America. In fact, in adding the CIC clause to the Deed in 1882, George Schuyler, the last surviving donor, sought to ensure that the Cup remained a genuinely competitive event, while preserving the Cup’s international character. He thus struck that balance by limiting the CIC requirement only to a competing vessel’s hull, but not its sails.’

Additional documents presented to the court confirm that GGYC’s CIC claim is factually wrong: SNG’s sails were constructed in Switzerland and this fact is supported by an affidavit from Tom Whidden, president of North Sails, and an official certificate of Swiss origin from the Swiss Chamber of Commerce.

“SNG is certain of our yacht’s Deed compliance, including the ‘constructed in country’ provision and our interpretation is supported by the language of the Deed, historical precedent, and by the Cup donor’s intentions,” said Fred Meyer, vice-commodore of SNG. “In any event, GGYC’s CIC claim is factually wrong and we have submitted to the court substantial evidence proving that our sails are Swiss made. It is our view that we should go racing on 8 February. GGYC should end their legal strategy to try to delay the Cup and to try to gain competitive advantage over the Defender and should proceed with the competition on the water. If they wish, however, to pursue their latest lawsuit, then the judge should have a close look at BMW Oracle’s yacht, which does not comply with GGYC’s own interpretation of the Deed,” he concluded.

‘Constructed in country’ counter motion

In parallel to the opposition papers, SNG has presented a counter motion stating that, should GGYC’s interpretation of the CIC in the Deed of Gift be validated by the Court, then its own boat would be illegal. Affidavits from a number of leading experts in the field of yacht design, such as Duncan MacLane and Nigel Irens, support the fact that GGYC’s trimaran is in fact a French-designed boat and not American, as supported by photographic exhibits the boat also includes a number of non-American constructed elements. In addition, BMW Oracle’s yacht is not even a sloop, propelled by sails, with a main and a jib, as declared in the American club’s certificate of challenge, but a wing-mast rig.

SNG’s set of documents showcases how this latest motion by GGYC is in contravention of the spirit of the Deed of Gift and how Larry Ellison’s yacht club has forgotten the call for friendly competition between nations.

Excerpts from expert affidavits:

Excerpts from the declaration by John Rousmaniere (USA), America’s Cup historian:
”For more than a century of America’s Cup competition, nationality concerned only yacht clubs and yacht hulls. There were no nationality restrictions on sails in the first race in 1851, when the American donors of the America’s Cup used English sails. The first formal restriction of international exchanges of sail and other technologies was not established until after the nineteenth cup regatta in 1962. That was when the then trustee, the New York Yacht Club, issued what it would call an “interpretive resolution” limiting access to technology across national borders. Subsequently other, sometimes conflicting restrictions were imposed until all interpretive resolutions were rescinded by SNG and GGYC before the most recent cup races in 2007.”

“Unlike hulls, sails were not regarded as subject to nationality restrictions – not by sailors, not by sailmakers, and not by the donors and the trustee New York Yacht Club.”

“Had a stringent “constructed in country” rule – like the one proposed by Golden Gate Yacht Club in this action – been in place and enforced, in most of those nineteen regattas either the challenger or the defender (and sometimes both) might have been disqualified.”

“Since the complaints about Atalanta concerned how identical her “model,” or hull shape, was to U.S. yachts, “constructed” can only have meant “designed and built.” Nothing was said or even implied in the “Second Deed” about sails, scantlings, or other construction standards.”

Excerpt from the affidavit by Tom Whidden (USA), president of North Sails:
“In Switzerland, I understand that the Alinghi team constructed the sails for Alinghi 5 by (1) joining the 3DL pieces/sections to construct the body of the sails; (2) finishing the sails by traditional sail-making methods; and (3) transporting the constructed sails to the location of Alinghi’s yacht.”

Excerpt from the affidavit by Nigel Irens (GBR), multihull designer at Irens-Cabaret:
“In my view, the BOR yacht represents an extrapolation and adaptation of other current racing designs of the French firm, VPLP.”

Excerpt from the affidavit by Duncan MacLane (USA), multihull designer:
“Over the last ten years, there has been very little development of large performance multihulls in the United States. The larger racing multihulls have been concentrated in Europe, with European designers. The BOR 90 foot trimaran is clearly the offspring of European racing trimarans, particularly the ORMA 60′s and their development programs.”

Notes:

- Rousmaniere quote: SNG MOL in opposition to GGYC improper motion to ‘enforce’ the April 7, 2009 order and judgment, page 3.
- Rousmaniere excerpt 1: Rousmaniere affidavit, pages 2 & 3
- Rousmaniere excerpt 2: Rousmaniere affidavit, page 6
- Rousmaniere excerpt 3: Rousmaniere affidavit, page 7
- Rousmaniere excerpt 4: Rousmaniere affidavit, page 15
- Whidden excerpt: Whidden affidavit, page 4
- Irens excerpt: Irens affidavit, page 2
- MacLane excerpt: MacLane affidavit: page 2

Comments (22)

GGYC sends SNG letter, renewing commitment to last week’s failed agreement

Posted on 18 January 2010 by Valencia Sailing

Related PDF File

- GGYC letter to SNG, renewing commitment to the Singapore Agreement (negotiated in Singapore last week
by SNG and GGYC but signed only by GGYC), dated 17 January 2010

January 17, 2010

M. Pierre-Yves Firmenich
Société Nautique de Genève
Port Noir
CH-1223 Cologny
Switzerland

Dear Commodore Firmenich,

I note that any apology or even regret is absent from your Club’s response today to my letter of January 15, 2010.

To set the record straight, of the three parties who drew-up the Singapore Agreement only SNG/Alinghi did not sign it. Since then, David Tillett, chairman of International Jury for 33rd America’s Cup and present at the meeting, has confirmed publically that one side “balked” at signing the Singapore Agreement at the “11th hour.”

Your negotiators knew that we had delayed serving the “constructed-in-country” legal paperwork for a week pending the Singapore meeting.

Moreover, after SNG/Alinghi refused to sign the deal that had been negotiated in Singapore on Tuesday, your representatives were advised Tuesday night that we would proceed with the CIC motion at 1000 Wednesday morning if SNG/Alinghi had not agreed by then to the deal negotiated on Tuesday, or something substantially similar.

When SNG/Alinghi made no such agreement by 1000 Wednesday morning, we proceeded with the CIC motion. Thereafter, we note the talks continued with renewed vigor, and that soon your negotiators did agree a deal similar to Tuesday’s. No doubt they were and are fully aware of the “constructed-in-country” problem your team faces.

You will be aware that the Singapore Agreement included a provision that all legal actions by both sides – including Wednesday’s CIC motion – would be dropped. Be advised we will not rescind that motion unless and until your Club signs the Singapore Agreement.

We hereby renew our commitment to Draft 8 of the Singapore Agreement, but this offer ends at 1900 CET tomorrow, Monday, January 17, 2010.

SNG/Alinghi’s continued unwillingness to sign the Singapore Agreement, which would settle all the remaining issues before the 33rd Match commences, will be a heavy burden for your Club, as Trustee, to bear.

Yours sincerely,

GOLDEN GATE YACHT CLUB

Marcus Young
Commodore

cc: Ernesto Bertarelli, Team Alinghi
Brad Butterworth, Team Alinghi
Russell Coutts, BMW ORACLE Racing
Tom Ehman, BMW ORACLE Racing
Larry Ellison, BMW ORACLE Racing
Fred Meyer, Vice-Commodore SNG
David Kellett, Treasurer, ISAF
Göran Petersson, President, ISAF
David Tillett, Chairman, International Jury

Comments (20)

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GGYC sends SNG letter, renewing commitment to last week’s failed agreement

Posted on 18 January 2010 by Valencia Sailing

Related PDF File

- GGYC letter to SNG, renewing commitment to the Singapore Agreement (negotiated in Singapore last week
by SNG and GGYC but signed only by GGYC), dated 17 January 2010

January 17, 2010

M. Pierre-Yves Firmenich
Société Nautique de Genève
Port Noir
CH-1223 Cologny
Switzerland

Dear Commodore Firmenich,

I note that any apology or even regret is absent from your Club’s response today to my letter of January 15, 2010.

To set the record straight, of the three parties who drew-up the Singapore Agreement only SNG/Alinghi did not sign it. Since then, David Tillett, chairman of International Jury for 33rd America’s Cup and present at the meeting, has confirmed publically that one side “balked” at signing the Singapore Agreement at the “11th hour.”

Your negotiators knew that we had delayed serving the “constructed-in-country” legal paperwork for a week pending the Singapore meeting.

Moreover, after SNG/Alinghi refused to sign the deal that had been negotiated in Singapore on Tuesday, your representatives were advised Tuesday night that we would proceed with the CIC motion at 1000 Wednesday morning if SNG/Alinghi had not agreed by then to the deal negotiated on Tuesday, or something substantially similar.

When SNG/Alinghi made no such agreement by 1000 Wednesday morning, we proceeded with the CIC motion. Thereafter, we note the talks continued with renewed vigor, and that soon your negotiators did agree a deal similar to Tuesday’s. No doubt they were and are fully aware of the “constructed-in-country” problem your team faces.

You will be aware that the Singapore Agreement included a provision that all legal actions by both sides – including Wednesday’s CIC motion – would be dropped. Be advised we will not rescind that motion unless and until your Club signs the Singapore Agreement.

We hereby renew our commitment to Draft 8 of the Singapore Agreement, but this offer ends at 1900 CET tomorrow, Monday, January 17, 2010.

SNG/Alinghi’s continued unwillingness to sign the Singapore Agreement, which would settle all the remaining issues before the 33rd Match commences, will be a heavy burden for your Club, as Trustee, to bear.

Yours sincerely,

GOLDEN GATE YACHT CLUB

Marcus Young
Commodore

cc: Ernesto Bertarelli, Team Alinghi
Brad Butterworth, Team Alinghi
Russell Coutts, BMW ORACLE Racing
Tom Ehman, BMW ORACLE Racing
Larry Ellison, BMW ORACLE Racing
Fred Meyer, Vice-Commodore SNG
David Kellett, Treasurer, ISAF
Göran Petersson, President, ISAF
David Tillett, Chairman, International Jury

Comments (20)

Russell Coutts talks to Valencia Sailing

Posted on 18 January 2010 by Valencia Sailing

The 33rd America’s Cup match is right around the corner and Valencia Sailing had the opportunity to briefly catch up with Russell Coutts, CEO of BMW Oracle. Here is what the legendary kiwi sailor told us.

Valencia Sailing: We have a mere 3 weeks left until the starting gun is fired for the 1st race of the 33rd AC. Do you feel confident?
Russell Coutts: We are ready to race on February 8th. We remain committed to trying to get any rules questions resolved prior to the start of racing so that the winner on the water is the undisputed winner of the America’s Cup.

Valencia Sailing: You launched BOR 90 on Saturday but you stepped a conventional mast and not the hard wing. What is the reason?
Russell Coutts: We are using the conventional rig for our structural load testing prior to the commencement of sailing.

Valencia Sailing: When do you expect to sail her for the first time in Valencia?
Russell Coutts: We plan to sail Tuesday.

Valencia Sailing: Have you made a decision on the crew that will race the Cup?
Russell Coutts: James Spithill is the Skipper and helmsman. Come race day, he will put the best crew on board for the job.

Valencia Sailing: As far as tactics are concerned do you think James Spithill’s exceptional match racing skills will make a difference in prestart or is it going to be a long drag race?
Russell Coutts: Jimmy has done an amazing job with this boat. Unlike traditional Cup programs, we haven’t had two-boat testing so it will be really interesting once we line-up against the competition. I have no doubt Jimmy’s match racing skills will come into play. There is incredible anticipation for that first race. That’s part of the excitement. Neither team knows what’s going to happen. But I think this race will be more about boatspeed than match racing skill. The fastest boat will almost certainly win.

Valencia Sailing: What do you make of Alinghi 5, now that you have seen her sailing 2 days in Valencia? In the following days, when you also train with BOR90 will you try to get close to her and potentially try to assess any differences in performance?
Russell Coutts: Alinghi has some great people on both the design and sailing teams. From what we know, it seems they are well suited to light air conditions. We will assess what we can but our focus is on getting our own boat and team race-ready and to put our best package on the start line on the 8th of February.

Valencia Sailing: Tom Ehman, in the press conference in Zurich, stated that one of your team’s proposals was to postpone the regatta for a month or so and hold it in March. Why?
Russell Coutts: Alinghi has taken a big risk in building its sails in the USA and GGYC has flagged up the issue of CIC for over a year. Constructed in country (CIC) is the DNA of the America’s Cup. It is fundamental to the Deed of Gift – ‘competition between foreign countries’. We have no wish to DSQ Alinghi. If they need more time to build legal sails, we would offer it. It would also make for a better AC33, moving it from a direct clash with the Winter Olympics.

Valencia Sailing: Do you have any explanation to why Alinghi left the negotiation table in Singapore, despite the fact your team had signed an agreement drafted by them?
Russell Coutts: Their representatives telephoned back to Alinghi. They were not given permission to sign the Singapore Agreement.

Valencia Sailing: Ernesto Bertarelli said on Friday that “if Russell Coutts wants to win the America’s Cup in the NY Courts all he has to do is call me and I’ll send it to him”. Have you called him?
Russell Coutts: This is pure nonsense. It is ridiculous. We want to win on the water and win under fair rules. We’ve got to sort these rules our before we get going February 8th. We’re not going to allow them to break the rules. Ernesto is allergic to fair rules despite the New York Court telling 13 times out of 14, ‘No. Stop. You are wrong.” The latest and arguably Ernesto Bertarelli’s most blatant attempt to circumvent the rules is his view on sails. He claimed that “Should the American justice system outlaw their use (of sails), it would be like asking Roger Federer to defend his title without using his tennis racket.” However, Federer doesn’t play Wimbledon with an illegal racket. Why should Ernesto be allowed to compete in the America’s Cup with illegal sails?

Valencia Sailing: I always wanted to ask you this question but I don’t know whether you’ll answer. Is there any truth to the rumor Larry Ellison pays you 10 million dollars a year and offered you a 50-million dollar bonus if you win the 33rd AC?
Russell Coutts: No. There is no truth to those rumours. We prefer not to discuss personal salaries but I can confirm your estimates are completely wrong. What I can definitely confirm is that the overall budget at BMW ORACLE Racing is not dissimilar to other top teams’ budgets for the 2007 Cup.

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Russell Coutts talks to Valencia Sailing

Posted on 18 January 2010 by Valencia Sailing

The 33rd America’s Cup match is right around the corner and Valencia Sailing had the opportunity to briefly catch up with Russell Coutts, CEO of BMW Oracle. Here is what the legendary kiwi sailor told us.

Valencia Sailing: We have a mere 3 weeks left until the starting gun is fired for the 1st race of the 33rd AC. Do you feel confident?
Russell Coutts: We are ready to race on February 8th. We remain committed to trying to get any rules questions resolved prior to the start of racing so that the winner on the water is the undisputed winner of the America’s Cup.

Valencia Sailing: You launched BOR 90 on Saturday but you stepped a conventional mast and not the hard wing. What is the reason?
Russell Coutts: We are using the conventional rig for our structural load testing prior to the commencement of sailing.

Valencia Sailing: When do you expect to sail her for the first time in Valencia?
Russell Coutts: We plan to sail Tuesday.

Valencia Sailing: Have you made a decision on the crew that will race the Cup?
Russell Coutts: James Spithill is the Skipper and helmsman. Come race day, he will put the best crew on board for the job.

Valencia Sailing: As far as tactics are concerned do you think James Spithill’s exceptional match racing skills will make a difference in prestart or is it going to be a long drag race?
Russell Coutts: Jimmy has done an amazing job with this boat. Unlike traditional Cup programs, we haven’t had two-boat testing so it will be really interesting once we line-up against the competition. I have no doubt Jimmy’s match racing skills will come into play. There is incredible anticipation for that first race. That’s part of the excitement. Neither team knows what’s going to happen. But I think this race will be more about boatspeed than match racing skill. The fastest boat will almost certainly win.

Valencia Sailing: What do you make of Alinghi 5, now that you have seen her sailing 2 days in Valencia? In the following days, when you also train with BOR90 will you try to get close to her and potentially try to assess any differences in performance?
Russell Coutts: Alinghi has some great people on both the design and sailing teams. From what we know, it seems they are well suited to light air conditions. We will assess what we can but our focus is on getting our own boat and team race-ready and to put our best package on the start line on the 8th of February.

Valencia Sailing: Tom Ehman, in the press conference in Zurich, stated that one of your team’s proposals was to postpone the regatta for a month or so and hold it in March. Why?
Russell Coutts: Alinghi has taken a big risk in building its sails in the USA and GGYC has flagged up the issue of CIC for over a year. Constructed in country (CIC) is the DNA of the America’s Cup. It is fundamental to the Deed of Gift – ‘competition between foreign countries’. We have no wish to DSQ Alinghi. If they need more time to build legal sails, we would offer it. It would also make for a better AC33, moving it from a direct clash with the Winter Olympics.

Valencia Sailing: Do you have any explanation to why Alinghi left the negotiation table in Singapore, despite the fact your team had signed an agreement drafted by them?
Russell Coutts: Their representatives telephoned back to Alinghi. They were not given permission to sign the Singapore Agreement.

Valencia Sailing: Ernesto Bertarelli said on Friday that “if Russell Coutts wants to win the America’s Cup in the NY Courts all he has to do is call me and I’ll send it to him”. Have you called him?
Russell Coutts: This is pure nonsense. It is ridiculous. We want to win on the water and win under fair rules. We’ve got to sort these rules our before we get going February 8th. We’re not going to allow them to break the rules. Ernesto is allergic to fair rules despite the New York Court telling 13 times out of 14, ‘No. Stop. You are wrong.” The latest and arguably Ernesto Bertarelli’s most blatant attempt to circumvent the rules is his view on sails. He claimed that “Should the American justice system outlaw their use (of sails), it would be like asking Roger Federer to defend his title without using his tennis racket.” However, Federer doesn’t play Wimbledon with an illegal racket. Why should Ernesto be allowed to compete in the America’s Cup with illegal sails?

Valencia Sailing: I always wanted to ask you this question but I don’t know whether you’ll answer. Is there any truth to the rumor Larry Ellison pays you 10 million dollars a year and offered you a 50-million dollar bonus if you win the 33rd AC?
Russell Coutts: No. There is no truth to those rumours. We prefer not to discuss personal salaries but I can confirm your estimates are completely wrong. What I can definitely confirm is that the overall budget at BMW ORACLE Racing is not dissimilar to other top teams’ budgets for the 2007 Cup.

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