Since the 33rd America's Cup became the subject of a court case, BYM News has published three articles as a result of telephone conversations with leading figures at ACM, or Alinghi: Michel Hodara; Brad Butterworth & Hamish Ross; Brad Butterworth again.
Throughout this period, BYM News tried hard to obtain an interview with Tom Ehman, Russell Coutts, or Larry Ellison of BMW Oracle, stressing that - as BYM News prides itself on its reputation for fair and balanced reporting - it needed to present a balanced view in this matter, which was impossible when only one side was willing to give further insights into its version of the story, other than general explanations on a website. This was explained in e-mail requests for an interview, sent to the BMW Oracle Press Office, in Valencia; the team's German agency and even to Larry Ellison directly. Only the Press Office responded and only to give a reason why an interview was not possible, at that particular time.
Then, on October 10, BYM News was invited to send e-mail questions, for Tom Ehman to respond to and did so, next day. Four days later, the BMW Oracle Press Office said "... it now looks unlikely that we will get a chance to reply this week."
Brad Butterworth had told BYM News "The trouble is that it’s now having an impact, not just on the business of the America’s Cup, but on the livelihoods of people involved. I’m not just talking about the sailors, the guys you see on TV, but on all the background people; those who work in boatbuilding, marketing, all the supporting industries. There are a lot of people all wondering where there next dollar’s coming from."
BYM News, therefore, said to BYM Oracle, in the e-mail that accompanied its editor's questions for Ehman "My hope is that maybe some of the real, nitty gritty stumbling blocks might come to light, because I believe that it is only once the two parties truly understand the others misgivings and motives that a solution can be possible. Without a solution, prior to Oct 22, I believe this could still be in some Appeal Court in 2009!"
The last communication that BYM News received from BYM Oracle, apologised for the lack of answers and added "Our desire remains to find a solution and we are working very hard on that."
Below are the questions that BYM News failed to get answers to.
If Desafio Espanol had won the Louis Vuitton Cup, this year, it would have automatically become the Challenger of Record for the America’s Cup.
Would BMW Oracle have then objected, given that Desafio had not been entered by any yacht club – sham, or otherwise – but by the Spanish Federation?
In recent submissions, you have used excerpts from BYM News interviews three times. The first was “When the Commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Club was asked ‘What don’t you like about the protocol?’ He responded ‘Everything’.”
In that same answer, Commodore Crawford went on to say ‘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.’
There have been very few American sailors in the BMW Oracle team and, in answer to a subsequent question, the Commodore said he had no objection to half a dozen crew members being non-nationals.
Is that what you want? Are you planning on a campaign, for AC 33, in which the majority of the crew will be American?
That BYM News interview, with the Commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Club, was triggered by your own first affidavit, which said:
“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.”
Asked ‘How do you think a situation arose where Ehman believed in this scheme enough to put it in an affidavit?’ Commodore Crawford replied ‘I have no idea, it’s stupid. I’m astounded. It’s unthinkable, there is only one 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.’
With the benefit of hindsight, do you think you could have had a wrong impression regarding those SNG plans you thought were in place? If so, is it possible that you could have a wrong impression about some other things?
You have also quoted from a BYM News interview with Captain Salvatore Sarno, of Shosholoza, where he says “CNEV does not have the required qualifications to be CoR in my opinion.”
Captain Sarno also said “I’m not sure why Ellison has brought the court case; if it is because he wants to be CoR, I think he could have achieved that, without suing Alinghi. If, as I expect, the difficulties over the protocol are resolved soon, I’m not absolutely sure whether he will withdraw, unless he becomes CoR.”
Do you think his opinion is also right on that point? Can a court case be avoided without BMW Oracle becoming CoR?
Captain Sarno also said in that interview “I don’t think the protocol is yet completed fully. I sat on the Challengers’ Commission of the last Cup for 3 years and things often got changed, when a majority wanted change.”
It is a fact that the last protocol, when BMW Oracle was CoR, was changed several times and the new one has also been changed already.
Why can’t you accept that this protocol will continue to be changed, as the last one was?
You have repeatedly claimed that CNEV did not negotiate the protocol, but simply accepted what ACM/Alinghi wanted to have in it.
How can you possibly know what negotiation did, or did not go on, behind closed doors, between CNEV and ACM/Alinghi?
You have quoted, in a recent submission, a letter of July 16 – complaining about the protocol - to which Team Germany was a signatory. Team Germany subsequently entered, once certain matters in the Protocol were clarified and, speaking of Protocol changes, its co-CEO Jochen Schumann told BYM News “I think that now everyone is waiting for the next sign, from the other side. Hopefully, it will come and they’ll start talking about this. We are all looking forward to when this court thing will be resolved and we’ll all be back on the water to race for the America’s Cup; not being in Court for the America’s Cup.”
The only sign from 'the other side' appears to be statements that the protocol changes were just 'cosmetic'.
Can you explain what you mean by ‘cosmetic’, as opposed to ‘real’, by giving an example of what you would see as a ‘real’ change to one of the items in contention?
There is no doubt that the individuals and companies behind Team Origin, Shosholoza, Team Germany, Team New Zealand and Desafio Espanol all want to win the America’s Cup.
Why would they enter the 33rd edition if, as you believe, they have almost no chance because the Protocol gives the Defender a huge advantage?
The question everyone would most like answered is:
What, in specific terms, rather than saying ‘a protocol like AC 32’, would Alinghi/ACM have to agree to, in order to get you to drop the court case?