March 27: Grant Dalton has said that the best thing would be for Alinghi to forfeit and, this morning, Vincenzo Onorato has made a “How to save the America’s Cup statement.”
BYM News asked Jochen Schueman, of United Internet Team Germany, for his views.
Jochen Schueman. Yes, I read Vincenzo’s comment and his opinion. I think it’s a little bit one sided, because that’s his story, but I think a lot of different people might have a different view on it. I think when two are busy fighting then, obviously both are involved and somehow guilty and that’s how it is in the America’s Cup.
I think for Alinghi’s part they made mistakes, after winning the Cup, by not being clear and precise enough with the protocol, so they gave the opportunity to attack the protocol and I think that is what Larry and Russell, especially, were waiting for. So, that was the basis for Oracle to go to court.
From my point of view, Oracle obviously went to court to gain more power in the Cup, which they didn’t achieve on the water, so they tried another way to get as much as possible influence over the next Cup.
BYM. Vincenzo Onorato wants AC 34 to be held in V5 boats. You now have what is, probably, the second fastest V5 in AC32, so presumably that would suit you?
Jochen Schueman. I think that is completely the wrong approach, because if every party looks at, what suits you, or what suits me, you never would agree. I think that the reason sport is such a good and popular thing is that, usually, you have one rule and everyone who wants to participate joins that rule and participates. When everyone looks for his own advantage, you never agree and you never come to a good competition.
That’s why, during the consulting process with Alinghi, I didn’t care if there might be one party or another coming up with some idea on how it should be, because I think the outcome to have one unique rule is what matters and when everyone receives that rule at the same time then, obviously, you have a fair competition. I think, during that consultancy process, we came very, very close to agreeing, also with Oracle, because nothing was impossible to agree and you have seen that all the challengers agreed to the class rule, to the competition rule, to the event rule, so all that was there was good enough to race under.
The thing is that, when you want to gain a special advantage and you want to only do things that suit you, that doesn’t work and then we’ll never have an event again.
BYM. The other thing that Vincenzo is calling for is the return of Louis Vuitton and LV has made no secret of the fact that they didn’t like the involvement of what you might call “popular brand” sponsors. Do you think the branding of the America’s Cup should be exclusive, popular, or somewhere in between.
Jochen Schueman. That’s a big question and I think first you have to start somewhere else, which is the whole format of an event that was founded in 1851 and is, obviously, not a modern sports, nor modern media event. So, you need to revise a couple of fundamentals, you need a continuous cycle of events to get sponsors involved. If you have the luxury to choose your sponsors, to allow only a certain level of sponsors, only exclusive sponsors, maybe you can do that, but so long as some teams are funded just barely enough to participate, then I think they will take any sponsor. So, how do you want rule over that?
BYM. Thank you Jochen, that’s all I’ve got to ask you. Thanks very much for talking to BYM News.
Jochen Schueman. What I want to add is that I think these two parties, at the moment, will never agree to anything, because it’s a big ego fight and a kind of revenge of Russell against Ernesto, so there can be no agreement. It needs a strong call from the court on the time to sail the Deed of Gift race and anything else so that there is one rule and the two can participate and sail on the water. As long as it stays between the two, there is no agreement. That’s my strong feeling.
If we sail later, whether it is in the AC 90, or another boat, it is a completely different story and that we can address when we again have a Cup that is for multiple challengers.