"PUT ASIDE PRIVATE & PERSONAL AGENDAS."
Mike Sanderson is one of the world's most respected sailors; he has proved to be a very talented yachtsman in a host of different sailing disciplines; from America's Cup to Volvo Ocean race.
He is also a man with impressive leadership and organisational skills as well as being one of those rare people that nobody says a bad word about.
Mike is now Team Director, for British Challenger Team Origin, so is able to evaluate the present impasse from both a managerial and a sailor's perspective. Tonight, he responded to questions from BYM News.
BYM News: You have been quoted as saying that Team Origin still hopes for a settlement, is that still the case?
Mike Sanderson: TEAMORIGIN and the other challengers, of course, still hope that common sense prevails and that a settlement between the two parties is found. The last thing the challengers want is for a High Court Judge in New York to determine their fate.
Team Origin was very much at the forefront of getting BMW Oracle to compromise and, in particular, to drop its demand for two boat testing. How do you feel about the Spanish & German teams not signing the final GGYC proposal?.
TEAMORIGIN and the other four challengers have worked as a united group in mediating with both sides for many weeks now.
It is important to explain here that when the majority of challengers suggested to GGYC how to modify their settlement offer to Alinghi and then supported the solutions that were in the document last week this wasn't about taking sides. A majority of challengers signed a document to say that they felt that the list of solutions to the points raised by GGYC was agreeable to them. It doesn't say we are now on this side or that. The Challengers together want this settled out of court so that we can race for the America's Cup in 2009.
TEAMORIGIN would have been happier if all the challengers had signed the document but the two teams that didn't have their reasons for not doing so and that is their business to explain.
Do you think that it would have made a difference to Alinghi’s decision to reject the proposal, if the challengers had been unanimous in asking for it to be accepted?
I can't answer for Alinghi and I don't want to. All we want is for common sense to prevail and that the two parties look at what incredible progress that has been made over the past few weeks and months and that they put aside their private and personal agendas and do what is best for the teams, the event and ultimately themselves.
Do you think Alinghi would have accepted the proposal in any circumstances?
Again, I can’t answer for Alinghi, but it may be that if this list of solutions had been on the table earlier and if BMWORACLE had had a better understanding of one of the fundamental principles of Alinghi’s vision of the 33rd America’s Cup - one of cost containment - and hence the end of the concept of two boat testing and in-house racing, they could have avoided a complete breakdown in their own negotiations.
Is there anything you can now do that might get this show on the road?
We are, as a group, a bit stuck at the moment having effectively run out of ideas to help make these two organisations come to their senses and settle, but believe me we are always here to help discuss and find solutions. We do not want this to be settled by Justice Cahn. We want the parties themselves to find a solution. They both know that we are here to help if they think we can.
What would you like Alinghi/ACM to do now?
Well that’s simple, we’d like them to say: "We will make the adjustments to the rules that GGYC and the majority of the bone fide challengers propose in GGYC’s most recent correspondence to us and also confirm that the 33rd America’s Cup will take place in 2009 as currently scheduled."
What would you like BMW Oracle to do now?