Argo Challenge entered AC33 with a challenge that aimed at showing the world that achieving big goals is possible, notwithstanding disability. Its team of sailors with disabilities was to have been headed by double Olympic Tornado medallist Lars Grael, who lost a leg in a boating accident.
Marian Martin asked Argo CEO, Paolo Scutellaro to give his views on the latest situation.
How did you feel when the Appelate Division ruled in favour of Alinghi and later when GGYC appealed?
Not really surprised, when the discussion becomes lawyers fighting it’s difficult to see an end.
Sir Keith Mills has put forward an idea that has both CNEV & GGYC stepping down and RTYC, or some other Club, taking over as CoR for a multi-challenge AC33. Can you see either/both sides agreeing to this?
As I said above, before taking into consideration any different proposal the two parties should stop their lawyers first.
There has even been talk of the King of Spain getting involved in trying to broker a settlement. Do you think he could bring about some compromise that would get the America’s Cup back on the water?
In my personal opinion, the sincere sailing passion and the great experience in the sailing world demonstrated by the King of Spain, in the last 20 years, could without doubt give an important support to solving this situation.
There seems to be consensus that it will be a very long time before the GGYC appeal is ruled on. Do you think there is anything that anyone could do, or say, that might get Larry Ellison to withdraw that appeal?
A Swiss newspaper quoted Russell Coutts as saying "Despite some minor adjustments, the rules of the 33rd Cup give an advantage that no other Defender has ever granted itself in the Cup. This is unacceptable. Why does Alinghi want to control the event by not giving any chance to others? The imbalance is enormous. We offered reasonable proposals last year. Alinghi has considered them too advantageous for the challengers."
Do you believe that Alinghi doesn’t want other teams to have a chance of winning AC33 and, if so, why did you challenge?
For a new Team like us the rules of the 33rd AC, proposed by the Swiss Team, gave some interesting new opportunities; first of all the new class boat means for us starting the new design in quite equal conditions with the more experienced teams, then the limitation on the two boat speed testing to help the Team to keep the budget low. Of course, for a big Team like BMW Oracle the situation is completely different with different expectations.
Which would be best for the AC33 Challengers, for the Appeal Court to uphold the Appelate Division ruling, or for GGYC to prevail?
At this stage it’s difficult to say, but in any case the important thing for the America’s Cup is to get out from the court room as soon as possible.
Assuming there is a DoG match, how do you see the format of AC34 working out (1) if Alinghi were to win and (2) if BMW Oracle were to win?
In case Alinghi were to win I suppose they will propose the same rules already accepted by more then 12 teams. If BMW were to win, sincerely I have no idea about what they will propose as new rules, but I’m quite sure they will put on the table many interesting new ideas and a multichallenger Cup.
If AC34 were to become a multi-challenger event in massive multihulls would you be able to mount a campaign?
Everything depends on when the AC34 will be organised. It takes a lot of time to arrange a challenge for the America’s Cup and, mostly, to find enough money to compete. We all need assurance regarding the date, the location and, of course, the format and the rules. Without this information it’s very hard to approach potential sponsors and try to start a positive path together.
What is the present status of the Idea Argo syndicate? Is it still in existence and, if so, how long can it continue?
From September 2007, the operative company is Argo Challenge Ltd, which filed the entry for the 33rd AC, last November.
IdeaArgo and Argo Challenge are still working very hard to create a strong consent on this particular challenge. Shortly, the team will take part in the next Maxi Rolex Cup to be held in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, from 1st to 6th September 2008. The team will compete on board "Atalanta II", a maxi yacht owned by Carlo Puri Negri, a well known Italian entrepreneur, who has decided to join in project Argo with a great contribution. The Maxi Rolex Cup will be an incredible opportunity for Argo to go back to sea and achieve again the goal of being able to challenge for the next America’s Cup.