By Julian Everitt
Mediation is the answer to wrest the commercial control of the America's Cup out of the hands of the defenders once and for all.
It seems to me with the America's Cup on hold despite "We want to be at the big table" challengers from Britain, South Africa and New Zealand, that Ernesto Bertarelli is the "three times loser" and not Larry Ellison, as the Alinghi boss recently called the Oracle leader.
These two billionaires seemed destined to be at each other's throats through the courts. It may of course all be over quickly if Justice Cahn, presiding at the New York Supreme Court on October 22, decides to rule against Oracle and force everyone to sail under the new Swiss Protocol of a 90 foot box rule boat with no two boat testing.
I still believe that mediation is the answer to wrest the commercial control of the America's Cup out of the hands of the defenders once and for all. It seems that if you read various America's Cup websites that Bernie Ecclestone's (F1 supremo) name keeps cropping up. And after my suggestion in this column that it would be a good idea for the AC to have Ecclestone on board, I have been trying to put this to both the Alinghi and Oracle camps. You would not believe just how closed they are. Nobody is prepared to talk, even though Oracle has always maintained that they would prefer mediation to court action.
And now for our new skit by Sea Lion the undersea Mole, who has been busy probing the depths of the turbulent waters upon which the Stars and Stripes Cup is to be held... or not... in 2009.
Devised by the Brits a century or two ago, the Stars and Stripes Cup was once named in honour of the Queen of England. Not so now. In the first ever event the dastardly Yanks took a short cut and deprived Queen Vic of her Trophy. Now 32 events later, The Cup resides in the clutches of mighty Swiss watch maker Turnesto ‘Tick Tock' Bomberelli who is determined to hold onto the Auld Mug come hell or the second coming.
Sea Lion recently recorded this top secret pow wow of the Alingus ‘blow-by-blow' Syndicate, held deep in the bowels of a Swiss mountain, next door to the site where Swiss underground engineers are probing the earths core in a bid to unleash untold energy to the world, but also to create an inland sea large enough for the 34th defence of the S&S Cup, funded by the Swiss Instant Karma Group, Nuzzlay.
"We must write a rule so tight that the cup will remain ours for the next thousand years," boomed Bomberelli, looking at his design guru Rate ‘Any Rule' Voodochile. "What can we do?"
"Zer is no problem. Our torpedoes vhere more slippery last time and zay vill be again... no matter vot is ze size... bring it on..." assured Voodochile.
"Aw hell Turnesto," chipped in skipper Bud ‘By-the-Lee' Butterfingers, "we are writing the rules. Tell our underwriters we need 20 tons of gold for our bulb. Even Orifice won't be able to afford that! We'll have so little drag we won't care about the hot air in Valencia."
Meanwhile the main opposition to destroy the plot for a thousand years of Swiss domination was holding its own strategy meeting in a disused nuclear missile silo somewhere in the USA. Lorry ‘the bearded one' Meddlson is petulant. "I need some blue sky thinking to counter this pesky Swiss watch maker. Wotcha got Tussal? Start earning your Trillion dollar fees."
Tussal ‘By Any' Routes had sat out the last S&S Cup after his own private falling out with the Swiss Watch Maker and is mega keen to get even. "Lorry, do I have a plan for you... Buy up all the world's top designers and skippers and give them meaningful jobs in the Orifice programme filling holes. You can afford it and then Alingus will have nothing to race against."
"But what about the British Original Group," pointed out a representative from Fair Enough Yacht Design "and even your old mob from Sheepsville?" "The English? The English! You must be joking," laughed Tussal. "They might be quick in the Optimist Games, but there all the boats are equal. This isn't about equality and sailing skill, this is about having an edge and they wouldn't know what that was even if they were sitting on it. As for my old chums from the home country, well they haven't got me any more and, to give credit where its due, since By-the-Lee left they don't have a chance." And the race goes on...
I have had a surprising response to my piece about the rebranding of CHS into IRC. It seems from those racing under the new rule that my observations about certain arbitrary rating practices being left behind by the name change is in fact not the case.
According to some well-placed sources, albeit with vested interests, there are still ‘families' of boats, designer brands, call it what you like that seem to enjoy rather higher ratings than other ‘brands'. Now I know this used to go on back in the CHS days, despite powerful denials from the Royal Ocean Racing Club Rating Office, but the fact was several designers, myself included, deliberately sent ‘fake' design projects in to the rating office under some trumped up name to see if a certain design type could get a lower rating if the designer and or builder remained anonymous. Shock horror, it is still going on today under the apparently much more serious IRC rule that even the Americans are now embracing after 20 years of scorn for such an unscientific solution!
I have been asked to draw attention to a children's charity called the Kanu Heart Foundation, established in 2000 with the objective of providing assistance in heart treatment for underprivileged children across the world. Their wish is to auction a UAE-built yacht at the next Dubai International Boat Show to raise funds for more operations for those who have no way of paying for the heart surgery they need. Seems to me like a wonderful opportunity for a Middle East company to help out with the auction.
Better known in the Middle East for his powerboat designs for Al Yousuf, Julian Everitt has a successful design practice that has produced many race winning racing yacht designs over the past 30 years. He has also been Editor of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's magazine Seahorse and a columnist for Asian Marine.