Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
Tom Ehman says in his affidavit (See previous story Affidavit), "Using its unfettered powers under the Protocol, SNG has devised two schemes to escape adjudication of this dispute by the New York courts. Its first scheme, I have heard, relies upon a provision in the Deed of Gift which states that if a "Club holding the Cup be for any cause dissolved, the Cup shall be transferred to some Club of the same nationality, but, in the event of the failure of such transfer within three months after such dissolution, such Cup shall revert to the preceding Club holding the same."
"I have heard that SNG has considered resigning as trustee and refraining from transferring the Cup to another Swiss yacht club within three months. It would then invoke the above quoted provision as a basis for returning the Cup to the preceding trustee, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron). In turn, RNZYS would accept SNG as the challenger of record and decline, or ignore, GGYC's challenge of July 11, 2008. Such a gambit would, of course, violate the Deed of Gift."
Following publication of the Affidavit article, BYM News was put in telephone contact with John Crawford, Commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, after he had read the article.
Good morning Commodore, I'd like your comments on that rather strange scheme in which the America's Cup would be returned to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.
Commodore John Crawford. Rather strange? Very strange would be an understatement. I'm astounded, it's unthinkable. There is not one vestige of truth in it; none whatsoever. I'm staggered; when I first read it I was gob smacked. We would never be party to such a thing; Hamish Ross is a member of the squadron and he would know it could never happen.
How do you think a situation arose where Ehman believed in this scheme enough to put it in an affidavit?
Commodore John Crawford. I've no idea, it's stupid. I'm astounded. It's unthinkable, there is only way the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron wants to get the America's Cup back and that is by winning on the water. That's why we've entered; we don't like the protocol, but you can't win on the water if you aren't there, so we entered.
What don't you like about the protocol?
Everything! The stance of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron is that it wants the America's Cup competition reinstated to what it was.
Well not as bad as it was in the early days, but like more recent times; back to a real competition between nations.
Do you feel very strongly about nationality rules?
Commodore John Crawford. Not very strongly. I've no objections to, say, half a dozen non-nationals being allowed, which would mean they could be all the afterguard. I'm indifferent on designers; I can't see anything wrong with bringing in people from outside there.
Wouldn't nationality rules be taking the Cup away from its roots, since there were a lot of foreign crew on boats in the early days?
Commodore John Crawford. Yes I've read about that and, as I said, we don't want to go back to those early days and stuff about sailing on own bottoms and everything being home built.
What about the new boat?
Commodore John Crawford. We've got to move on and the 90 footer is certainly worth contemplating, but it's too soon, too much of a giant leap. It should have been the existing boat for this one and then discussions and an agreement for a new boat in the one after.
Some of the newer teams believe the new boat will level the playing field for them, would you agree?
Commodore John Crawford. I don't know about that. Team New Zealand designed a totally different boat this time ... Thank goodness!
Are you sticking with the same sailing team, or do you think after two losses changes are needed?
Commodore John Crawford. We're sticking; everyone is just as determined as ever. You won't see many changes, one or two are going for personal reasons, but apart from that it will be the same team.
Does it matter that Desafio isn't represented by an established yacht club, since it wasn't last time?
Commodore John Crawford. It shouldn't have been allowed last time. We wouldn't have allowed it, just to settle some petty squabble between two yacht clubs.
What about the appointing of officials?
Commodore John Crawford. It's extraordinary, Bonnefous, in particular, seems to want to turn the America's Cup into Formula One. If he wants Formula 1 style sailing, he should do it with something else, not the America's Cup.
Are you against any form of commercialisation of the America's Cup?
Commodore John Crawford. No, it has to be commercialised, but not in Bonnefous’ style.