Friday, 31 August 2007

Scuttlebutt Gets Answers From ACM - More Questions Arise

Under the title 'ACM: Questions And Answers', the excellent Scuttlebutt has provided yet further opportunity for ACM to (fail to) respond to some of the most significant questions not related to legal actions. Read the whole piece in Scuttlebutt 2423.

ACM COO Michel Hodara first responded to a precise & perfectly worded question concerning the risk of unsporting conduct arising from the Defender's impact when competing in the Challenger series. In response, Hodara repeated issues of cost saving and the necessity to test the single vessel, as previously stated by ACM. Not once did the response reflect the question posed.

In answer to which teams were involved in the design of the new class of AC vessel, Hodara stated that from mid September all the officially challenging teams will be involved, including "the German Team who have submitted their entry and who will formally be accepted in the next days.”

Hodara was asked to explain the recent ACM statement which suggested ACM had proposed the 33rd protocol, when the protocol should be agreed upon by Defender and Challenger. Hodara explained, “That is correct and is exactly what happened. The Protocol is the result of many meetings and discussions with the Challenger of Record and its representatives, which lasted most of the duration of the 32nd AC Match. The process was the same than in 2003 with GGYC and BOR.”

And finally, when pressed to explain the relationship between ACM, SNG & Alinghi, Michel Hodara observed, “Because Yacht Clubs tend to appoint the appropriate professionals to deal with all AC operational and administrative matters, ACM sometimes speaks on behalf of Alinghi’s club, the Société Nautique de Genève (SNG).”

The Future's Bright, The Future's Fuxia?!?

Well ok, we at The Afterguard may have got a little carried away with the headline, but frankly it's hard not to with all the hype that's surrounding the all-female crewed Fuxia Challenge. Larry & Tommy, Ernesto & all at the ACM could all well do with taking a leaf out of Fuxia's book when it comes to PR - they sure can make something out of... well, you know the rest.

Frankly, we'd hate to be Italian and disinterested in sailing - the Italian media is so awash with stories about Fuxia that it must be hell!

Earlier this month The Afterguard published the first in its informative series 'Run Your Own America's Cup Campaign'. In our first instalment (read it here), we detailed the initial steps to success:

  1. Know the rules
  2. Represent a 'sailing' club
  3. Have something to sail - a boat preferably
  4. Make your challenge 'official' (you weren't following closely, were you UITG?)
Now it isn't beyond The Afterguard to overlook a detail or two here or there, and we're not too proud that we can't admit to the odd mistake. We'd also like to point out that the forthcoming second instalment in our series has always been intended to cover financial issues, including sponsorship and merchandising. Having clarified that, we must acknowledge that, as evident in the actions of Fuxia Challenge, we managed to overlook one of the first things to be sure of - long before even representing a sailing club or owning a boat - be sure to know where things stand design wise. There are two main issues:
  1. What colour will your boat be?Fuxia's boat will be an... erm... all fuxia affair; sails, hull, keel - the works. Fuxia.

  2. What will your crew wear?
    Fuxia's apparel is due to be launched at Italy's Castello degli Aragonesi on 19th September.
Once you've addressed these two primary concerns, then you can set about considering your other options. Fuxia, for example, appear to have worked with a list of over 100 potential sailing clubs. They've narrowed the possibilities to about 30, and now team principle Paolo Rivelli is closing in on the best five opportunities, two of which are Italian (Yacht Club Italiano is rumoured to be one). The final decision is promised 'in September'.

You'll need an aspirational figurehead - step forward famed Italian actress Ornella Muti. We suspect she has no connection with the team at all, but simply serves as inspiration.

Crew requirements are also being addressed. Top of the list comes, according to Rivelli, Claire Leroy. Also in the frame, so rumour indicates, is Alessandra Sensini and none other than Katie Spithill - it would make an interesting sideshow to see Katie take on brother James aboard Oracle - no pressure there then, James!

So, there you have it, more flesh on the bones of the Fuxia Challenge. Being entirely sincere for a moment, while much attention has recently been given over to the power struggle(s) for control of the America's Cup by the largest of teams, the spirit of the Cup is perhaps best represented by the smaller 'plucky' teams who, by virtue of their size, take on the greatest challenge and do so with infectious enthusiasm. With that in mind we do wish Fuxia Challenge well - they've stated their intention to challenge by 31st December 2007. We have attempted to contact Paolo Rivelli in order that we might cover his story in his own words, but so far we have heard nothing. If you are reading this, Paolo, drop us a line at the email address at the top of this page - we'd love to hear from you.

In the meantime, when looking for potential sponsorship, do go for those telecom giants like Vodafone, O2 etc - but give Orange a miss, it would never work.

Sources: Various, including Affari Italiani, Mariantic, TempusVitae, Tuttosport, Luna Rossa e Dintorni, amongst others.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

33rd America's Cup - Hopes Fade As Feelings Sour and Tension Mounts

For those not inclined to celebrate victory by Judge & Jury, recent events surrounding the formulation of the 33rd America's Cup must be met with an unhealthy degree of despair.

While forums on the topic are awash with pseudo-legal argument, claim and counter-claim, the true protagonists appear to have done little in the past week to resolve the dispute itself, despite much activity:

  • Weds, 22/8/07 GGYC publish release detailing their court filing on 11/7/07. Here
  • Thurs, 23/8/07 ACM publish release criticising GGYC for its actions. Here
  • Thurs, 23/8/07 Alinghi's website publishes 33rd Protocol timeline. Here
  • Fri, 24/8/07 BYM interview: ACM's Michael Hodara strikes conciliatory tone. Here
  • Fri, 24/8/07 RTL publish 'defensive' interview with ACM's Michel Hodara. Here
  • Tues, 28/8/07 ACM publish Arbitration/Litigation status (up to 24/8/07). Here
  • Thurs, 30/8/07 GGYC publish court papers relating to their case against SNG. Here
Also on Thurs, 30/8/07:
  • Stuart Alexander's excellent BOOTSNBOATS recounts Team Alinghi's call for BMW Oracle Racing's Tom Ehman to step down as chairman of the jury for the Rolex Farr 40 World Championships in Copenhagen. Despite Alinghi's claim of conflicting interests, Ehman did not acquiesce to their demands.
  • Switzerland's Le Temps carried the responses of both Brad Butterworth (of Alinghi) and Russell Coutts (of BMW Oracle Racing) to the same interview questions concerning the row. Butterworth, in particular, appears almost emotional in his responses. Hopefully the story will be syndicated to an English-language outlet in due course - the link above is to the French story.
In all, the past few days have seen the tension ratcheted up a good few notches, and the possibility of an amicable & face saving solution agreeable to both parties seems further off than it ever has.

The 33rd Protocol's Arbitration Panel may have a surprise or two up its sleeve, but on the basis of the recent conduct of all concerned, it would be easy to doubt the value to the situation of a construct itself generated under the disputed protocol. It is likely that the next concrete developments will surround the hearing at the New York Supreme Court on Monday 10th September 2007, at which time we might discover if Justice Herman Cahn rules there is a case to be heard, in which case the time scales involved broaden out substantially.

For a trophy recently won by just a single second, the current gulf between defender and next defence appears almost geological in scale.

Golden Gate Yacht Club Reveals Case Against Société Nautique de Genève

In fresh documentation made available on their website, Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) have revealed the specifics of their case against Société Nautique de Genève (SNG).

The comprehensive documents make quite a case against the 33rd Protocol and the actions of SNG & Club Náutico Español de Vela (CNEV). One aspect noted SNG's alleged scheme to avoid adjudication by the New York Supreme Court by resigning its role as defender in a timescale preventing all but the previous cup holder from becoming defender, in which case Emirates Team New Zealand would become defender and would then elect SNG as Challenger Of Record (source: GGYC Memorandum of law, Section IV, C, Page 18).

The comprehensive documentation may be downloaded from GGYC's website and read via the following links:

Affidavit of Thomas F. Ehman, Jr. August 22, 2007

GGYC Memorandum of Law August 22, 2007

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

ACM publishes 33rd Protocol 'Story To Date'

Following much criticism of little or no public recognition of the case being brought against it, the last week has seen much quoted from ACM, and now the organisation has published its take on the situation to date.

The statement in full (which can be viewed on the official ACM website here):

33rd America's Cup

Golden Gate Yacht Club v. Société Nautique de Genève: Arbitration/Litigation status (as of 24 August 2007) 28-08-2007

In order to keep our readers up to date with news of the dispute playing out in the New York court between the Golden Gate Yacht Club and the Société Nautique de Genève, we have drawn out a simple timeline and explanation which explains the steps that have been taken and the ones to come.

The dispute between SNG and GGYC is now proceeding on three paths: (i) the arbitration before the arbitration panel under the 33rd Protocol, (ii) the complaint filed by GGYC in NY court, and (iii) the motion filed by GGYC in NY court.

Arbitration
- SNG, CNEV, ACM and Royal Thames have made submissions to the Arbitration Panel.
- GGYC was invited to participate in the arbitration but refused.
- A ruling is expected as to the validity of CNEV’s challenge in the coming weeks.
- Two of the three arbitrators were also arbitrators for the 32nd America’s Cup.
Litigation: GGYC’s Complaint
- GGYC’s complaint which challenges CNEV’s status as Challenger of Record was dated 20 July but was not served on SNG until 17 August.
- SNG’s response is due in mid-September.
- SNG believes GGYC’s claims are without merit and will defend itself against them.
Litigation: GGYC’s Motion
- On 22 August GGYC applied to the NY court seeking:
- An expedited schedule for the case commenced by GGYC’s complaint under which discovery (the exchange of information between the parties) would be completed in September and trial would be held in October, and
- A preliminary injunction requiring that SNG (i) provide GGYC with SNG’s club sailing rules and (ii) identify where a two-team match between SNG and GGYC in July 2008 would be held.
- The 22 August “order” of the NY court only sets a schedule for the parties’ submissions on GGYC’s application and in no way addresses the substance or merit of the application.
- SNG’s written response to the motion is due to be filed 5 September.
- A hearing on the motion before the NY court is scheduled for 10 September.
- The complaint and the motion are part of the same case and are before the same Judge (Justice Cahn) in NY.

--Ends--

Friday, 24 August 2007

Counting Challengers With Michel Hodara

Michel Hodara, speaking in coverage from European broadcaster RTL, indicated that in addition to the five challenges already declared, there were 'at least a dozen additional challengers' considering competing within the framework of the 33rd Protocol.

A (google) English translation of the original story can be read here.

Now first up, we count:
Desafio Espanol (COR), Emirates Team New Zealand, TeamOrigin and Team Shosholoza as official challengers to date (according to ACM's website). We'll assume that the fifth official entry is in fact the defender, Alinghi.

Twelve others? We can presumably exclude Larry Ellison's BMW Oracle Racing from those happy to work within the 33rd Protocol.

Beyond United Internet Team Germany, who have previously announced their official entry (but remain 'overlooked' at this time by ACM), who can come up with the most accurate list of 11 other contenders?

Oh, and while you're at it, consider the implications of accommodating 'at least' 17 teams in the maximum of 14 bases available at Port America, Valencia. Where did we get that number? Why, from Mr Hodara's interview earlier today with BYM News (here)!

ACM's Hodara Presents Defence

BYM News have published an interview with the ACM's Michael Hodara who presents the best media defence to date.

The full interview can be read here.

We've cherry-picked the eye-catching moments:

  • Some critics are genuine in their wish to prevent the AC from evolving to preserve the status quo; others (unnamed) 'are simply jealous.'
  • Court papers only served on SNG on August 17, 2007 (as justification for SNG/ACM's apparent lack of activity).
  • Case to determine GGYC's wish to accelerate original suit due to be heard in court on 10th September (SNG to reply by 5th September).
  • Port America could support a maximum of 14 teams (12 existing bases, 2 further could be built) - justification for ACM's control of who challenges.
  • Protocol may have been too short and simple. Text is right, perception isn't.
  • Challengers commission replaced with Competitors Commission intended to improve dialogue between 'squabbling' (our inclusion) challengers, the defender and the ACM. Competitor's Commission has met once already.
  • No mention of Challenger Of Record for the second successive statement.

BBC World Features TEAMORIGIN's Sir Keith Mills & GBR75

The Afterguard have uncovered recently transmitted footage of GBR75 - racing with the replica 'America' off Valencia in July - as part of a BBC World Television broadcast featuring team principle Sir Keith Mills, looking at the impact of money on the world of sport.

Running at just under 52 minutes, the programme, part of the 'Have Your Say' BBC News & World service, features Sir Keith responding to issues as varied as the London 2012 Olympics, Motor Sport, Cycling & others.

The programme can be streamed from the BBC here.

A segment starting at 18:10 and running for approx. three & a half minutes covers the financial challenges of an America's Cup campaign, including the investment made by Larry Ellison in the 32nd Campaign as evidence that money won't buy you everything in the cup (The Afterguard's interpretation), set against visuals of GBR75's inaugural voyage under TEAMORIGIN ownership, sailing with the replica 'America' off Valencia on 14th July 2007.

Inset image: Photo © Carlo Borlenghi/kospictures.com

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Alinghi Explain The 33rd Protocol

Alinghi today posted their understanding of the (undisputed) 33rd Protocol, repeating Ernesto Bertorelli's intent to participate in the challenger series without repercussion.

Q: In what sport can you lose in the knock-out round, only to compete in the final?
A: The battle for sport's oldest trophy, the America's Cup.

Alinghi's article in full (see it here):

33rd America’s Cup, what we know so far…

When Alinghi won the America’s Cup again on the 3 July 2007 after a fierce battle against Emirates Team New Zealand, it remained the Defender and thus the 33rd Protocol was born. Outlined here you will find what we know to date:

Where?

Valencia was announced as the venue for the 33rd America's Cup on 25 July – just three weeks after the Defender won the trophy for the second time.

When?
Next year will see two pre-regattas, the first of which will be held during the spring in Valencia, the second will take place in the autumn and will be at a European location that is yet to be selected. The racing in 2009 will be scheduled between May and July.

The new Class?
The current Version 5 America’s Cup Class boats will be used for the two pre-regattas and Alinghi will compete in both. The new Class Rule will be announced by the 31 October 2007 and there will be a consultation period with the existing entered challengers during the month of September. Teams will be able to build two boats but will only be allowed to sail one at a time in a bid to reduce the costs of two-boat testing.

The challengers?
The Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), represented by
Alinghi accepted the Club Náutico Español de Vela (CNEV), represented by the Spanish team, as Challenger of Record for the 33rd America’s Cup. They were soon followed by Team Shosholoza and the new British challenge TeamOrigin. And then on the 25 July, Team New Zealand also challenged bringing the number of teams to five including the Defender.

The racing?

Alinghi will compete in all regattas leading up to the America’s Cup Match in 2009, as with just a one boat campaign the defender will need to race against the challengers in order to measure performance. Ernesto Bertarelli, syndicate head, explains: "The fun is racing. Like in Formula 1, our intent is to reduce the amount of time we spend wasting money going around the track without a competitive gain," he said. "Because the ‘one boat at a time’ rule will apply to Alinghi as well, we will have to participate in the Challenger Series. Without racing other boats we do not have the opportunity to test our performance against other teams.” He also added: “If we are eliminated in the Challengers Series we will lose the right to race and will not race again until the Match."

--Ends--

ACM & Alinghi React to Golden Gate Yacht Club's Court Order

ACM President Michel Bonnefous & Alinghi skipper Brad Butterworth quoted in ACM response.

ACM Statement, 23rd August 2007:

The Société Nautique de Genève, Alinghi and America’s Cup Management are very disappointed that BMW Oracle Racing, through the Golden Gate Yacht Club, has followed through with its threat and officially filed legal proceedings in the New York Courts.

“ACM in good faith has proposed a protocol intended to advance the sport of America’s Cup sailing. Far from being an attempt to control everything, the new protocol has been written to make the 33rd America’s Cup even better: a new class of boat which brings the technology to state-of-the-art, exciting racing and an even higher profile and more professional event which befits the premier competition in sailing.” Michel Bonnefous, President ACM. “Our vision is to make the America’s Cup in 2009 comparable with the best sporting events in the World. This vision is shared by many Challengers from around the world, four of whom have now formally entered the competition, with others about to do so.

Bonnefous continued “Larry Ellison is holding the Cup to ransom for competitive gain by attempting to disrupt the preparations of the teams from Switzerland, Spain, South Africa, Great Britain and New Zealand, as well as many others who have notified of their intention to enter the competition shortly.”

“Ellison lost on the water in 2003 and in 2007, failing to secure a match for the America’s Cup.” said Brad Butterworth, Skipper, Alinghi, “He is now pretending to be the good guy, representing the interests of all stakeholders, whereas in reality they have gone to court to force an earlier private match on their terms without the involvement of other competitors.”

“While their legal teams are busy destabilising the 33rd Cup and the preparations of the existing challengers, they are simultaneously snapping up sailors left, right and centre. These underhand tactics make it particularly hard for the smaller teams who rely on sponsorship, which is very hard to secure under these circumstances, and shows disregard for all the legitimate competitors.”

--Ends--

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Golden Gate Yacht Club Takes Dispute To The Next Level

The Golden Gate Yacht Club has taken its dispute with Société Nautique de Genève over the 33rd Protocol and choice of Challenger Of Record to the next level through a court order requiring Société Nautique de Genève to respond to its complaint.

Mindful of the large amount of opinionated and partisan comment thus far expressed throughout the media, The Afterguard has determined to simply reproduce the materials released today by Golden Gate Yacht Club without modification, enabling readers to form their own viewpoint.

Golden Gate Press Release: 22/8/07 - Download the original document from the Golden Gate Yacht Club website here.

Golden Gate granted court order to advance America’s Cup resolution

New York, NY (August 22, 2007) – The Supreme Court of the State of New York today granted an order sought by the Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) requiring the Société Nautique de Genève (SNG) to promptly answer a request to speed up the legal process for resolving its proposed new rules for defending the next America’s Cup.

The San Francisco club sought the Court ruling alleging SNG is in serious breach of its fiduciary duty under the Deed of Gift that governs the Cup. It says SNG has accepted an invalid challenge from a sham yacht club, and is seeking to impose an unprecedented one-sided set of rules that hugely favor the defender to the detriment of all other competitors.

“We are very pleased with this ruling by the Court, because we believe the Cup will be irrevocably damaged if we don’t get SNG’s Protocol changed,” Tom Ehman, Head of External Affairs for BMW ORACLE Racing, the US club’s team, said.

“The new Protocol would give SNG’s team, Alinghi, radical new powers to control nearly all aspects of the event that are still unsupported by any explanation from SNG as to why they are needed,” he said.

Ehman said the syndicate whose challenge had been accepted by SNG, the Club Náutico Español de Vela (CNEV), was a shell organisation that had been formed only days prior to issuing a challenge and did not comply with the terms specified by the Deed of Gift.

“We would still prefer to negotiate a solution outside the court, but we see SNG as violating its responsibilities as Trustee, and we are fully prepared to go the legal distance if needed to stop the America’s Cup being subverted into a hopelessly one-sided event,” he said.

The Deed of Gift that protects the Cup as a perpetual sporting challenge is governed by a fiduciary trust established under New York law in 1887.

The GGYC court action also seeks a preliminary injunction to obtain critical information related to the club’s challenge under the Deed of Gift.

The American challenge is for a race next summer under the Deed’s 10-month rule. GGYC need to know where SNG intends to hold that competition and what the SNG sailing rules are. Under the Deed, the Swiss Defender is required to provide these important details to the Challenger.

GGYC filed a challenge on July 11th, and asserts that SNG must accept it. If successful in this motion, the GGYC case could be heard by the Courts as early as October 2007.

--Ends--

Golden Gate Media Backgrounder: 22/8/07 - Download the original document from the Golden Gate Yacht Club website here.

BACKGROUNDER

33rd America’s Cup

Summary
The Golden Gate Yacht Club, (GGYC) has filed a suit in the Supreme Court for the State of New York seeking a court ruling on the legitimacy of the current proposed Protocol for the next America’s Cup.

We believe that the challenge that has been accepted and the proposed Protocol are legally not acceptable as they breach the terms of the Deed of Gift that governs the Cup. This is based on our view that Société Nautique de Genève (SNG) has accepted an invalid challenge from a sham contender, and is seeking to impose an unprecedented one-sided set of rules that would damage the Cup as a genuinely competitive event.

We would prefer to negotiate a solution. But we have taken this court action in order to ensure a fair contest and protect the integrity of the Cup.

We urge the adoption of a protocol similar to the one used last time which produced such a successful event. We are keen to see this issue resolved and move on to the sailing.

2007 Timeline
July 3: Alinghi, representing SNG, wins the 32nd America’s Cup.

July 5: SNG announces a radically new Protocol for the next Cup and names Club Náutico Español de Vela (CNEV), as the Challenger of Record (COR).

July 11: GGYC presents a formal challenge to SNG in Geneva. GGYC argues that the challenge by CNEV is invalid. This is based on the grounds that at the time of its challenge CNEV, which was established only a few days prior to having its challenge accepted, was not a bona fide yacht club and did not have an annual regatta, each as required by the Deed of Gift.

July 20: GGYC files suit in the Supreme Court for the State of New York, which presides over the Deed of Gift, seeking a ruling to have the CNEV challenge discarded as illegitimate and the GGYC’s challenge accepted.

August 22: The court grants an order sought by GGYC requiring SNG to promptly answer a request to speed up the legal process for resolving its proposed new rules for defending the next America’s Cup.

CNEV challenge
Our concerns about the validity of CNEV and its challenge include the facts that:
• It is not a bona fide yacht club.

• It was created and is controlled by Real Federación Española de Vela (RFEV), which is itself not a yacht club.

• It was formed for the sole purpose of making a challenge only days before its challenge was made and accepted.

• Contrary to the Deed it has never held an annual regatta anywhere, and

• It appears to have accepted the loss of Challenger rights in the new Protocol in a way that no genuine Challenger who was seeking a fair contest would.

The Protocol
We believe that the protocol must be rejected in order to protect the status of the America’s Cup as a genuine sporting contest.

We do not believe this protocol is valid, fair, or in the spirit of racing that the Cup stands for. It is clearly not the result of the mutual consent process between a defender and a legitimate challenger that is prescribed in the Deed of Gift.

Our chief concerns about the Protocol are:
• It is invalid because SNG entered into it with an invalid Challenger, CNEV.

• The defender, through the company it has formed to manage the event, America’s Cup Management (ACM) can reject any entry – even if it complies with all requirements. Once disqualified, there is no provision for the challenger to contest this ruling. See AC 33 Protocol clauses 2.7 (d), 4.4

• ACM have the power to appoint the event authority, and all officials. (The Challenger of Record (see below) can only object on grounds of neutrality of judgment. See Protocol clause 5.4

• ACM can impose any rule on any team. See Protocol clause 5.4 (b)(d)

• The new Protocol does away with the independent Challenger Commission which represented well all challengers in AC 32. See Protocol clause 10.1

• The defender will unilaterally create a new design rule governing the boats to be raced, with seemingly only very minor input from the COR; and can develop this rule well in advance of advising challengers so that they have a much shorter window to develop a rival boat. See Protocol clause 14.1

• The Defender gains the right to gain valuable information and advantage by participating in the Challenger selection series, but Challengers will not be permitted to participate in any Defender series. See Protocol clause 13.5



Other references:
The issues raised by the Protocol have been reported on and covered independently by leading yachting media who have widely criticized it as leading to a one-sided event. These include:
Seahorse September 2007
Sailing World September 2007
Yachting World September 2007
Sail-World.com website

Q&A
Q: Other syndicates have signed up for the next event – how can the new Protocol be so bad if they are already in?

A: It is up to individuals to decide whether they sign up and they will have their reasons. Our belief is that the Protocol is legally unacceptable under the terms of the Deed and will produce a one-sided event. This is not about “taking sides”. This is about protecting the Cup and keeping to a spirit of genuine and close competition.

Q: Isn’t this just a case of you and the Defender each simply trying to gain an advantage for yourselves before the next event?

A: We are not the only ones unhappy with the new Protocol or who favor an event that is legal under the terms of the Deed and is equitable to everyone. The changes we are calling for would apply to all Challengers equally. Any gains on the Defender’s side apply to them alone. That is the fundamental issue, we are fighting for a fair and even contest.

Q: What do you think should happen?

A: We want to see an event that has neutral rules and preserves the rights of the Challengers by reinstituting a Protocol substantially the same as AC 32.

Q: Are you opposed to any changes in the Protocol?

A: No. We simply want to see any changes introduced in a way that is open and treats all competitors equitably, as opposed to springing a radical change on the event with effectively no consultation or justification.

Q: Shouldn’t the competition be decided on the water? Isn’t court action against the spirit of true sportsmanship?

A: We would prefer to negotiate, but going to court may be the only way we can effectively contest the new Protocol.

Q: Will you drop your court action if a Protocol like the one governing the last event was re-introduced?

A: Yes.

Q: Are you asking for essentially the same things Mascalzone Latino have asked for?

A: Yes, we support the proposal recently made by Mascalzone Latino which is about ensuring a fair competition and also calls for a Protocol along the lines of the one used for the last event.

--Ends--

TEAMORIGIN Seeks To Fulfill 156 Year Quest

TEAMORIGIN marks the 156th Anniversary of the America's Cup by asserting its intent in becoming the first British representatives to win the 'Auld Mug'.

August 22nd, 1851 marked the schooner America's victory for the Royal Yacht Squadron's 100 Sovereign Cup, later to be named in recognition of its first holder.

It is this event which gives its name to the British challenge for the 33rd competition. Read more about the anniversary on TEAMORIGIN's official website, here.


TEAMORIGIN's GBR75 sails with replica 'America' - July 2007, ValenciaGBR75 races America
Photo © Carlo Borlenghi/kospictures.com

Monday, 20 August 2007

TEAMORIGIN Reveal Details of Official Team & Boat Presentation

TEAMORIGIN announce Friday 14 September 2007 at 1100hrs as the Official TEAMORIGIN Team & Boat Presentation.

Upon the main stage of the Southampton Boat Show on Press & Preview day, TEAMORIGIN will face the press for its first official engagement since launching in January 2007.

The Afterguard aims to be present to record the events, note the names & probe for further information, & we'll be revealing everything to our readers on the day.

GBR-75 will be available at the show throughout the opening weekend, Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th September, 2007.

For further details, show times & entry tickets, visit the Southampton Boat Show website.

Scathing Assessment Of 33rd Protocol Published

Detroit Free Press' Eric Sharp mounts a scathing assessment on the 33rd America's Cup protocol and the motivation driving Ernesto Bertarelli: 'America's Cup winner hatches ludicrous plan - Owner twists rules in team's favor.' Read it in full here.

We suspect Eric's forthright viewpoint may see him struggle to gain entry to any future Bertarelli-controlled ACM press event, but its publication is timely as we await further developments (this week?), amid much speculation that behind-the-scenes negotiations to resolve differences aren't bearing fruit & that the New York Supreme Court seems the likely next America's Cup venue of note.

Sir Keith Mills Receives Honoury Degree From Loughborough

As self-appointed custodians of all news TEAMORIGIN, The Afterguard notes that the UK's Loughborough University has recognised TEAMORIGIN's founder, Sir Keith Mills, "in recognition of his innovations in business and customer loyalty, and for his role in the leadership of the successful London 2012 Olympic Games Bid."

Lord Sebastian Coe did the honours on 23rd July, 2007 - the same day that TEAMORIGIN's entry for the 33rd America's Cup was officially recognised by ACM - in bestowing upon Sir Keith an honoury Degree of Doctor of Technology, Honoris Causa (Hon DTech).

The full announcement can be read on Loughborough University's website, here.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

The Sunday Times Prints In-depth Analysis of Sir Keith's Quest

The Sunday Times spent much time in Valencia during the 32nd America's Cup investigating the background and motivation for Sir Keith Mill's bid for glory, TEAMORIGIN.

In a piece quoting amongst others Peter Harrison & Peter de Savary, Sunday Times journalist Russell Miller writes of the reasoning behind TEAMORIGIN under the banner 'The quest for the cup of woe' - read the full article here.

It's a bravado-piece, including quotes from Sir Keith speaking of the team's chances, “Lunatics like me constantly put themselves at risk,... but I would not do it if I did not think we have a great chance of winning", going on to observe, “It always seemed a tragedy to me that Britain has never won the Cup as we have some of the best sailors in the world, the best boat designers and the best marine technology.”

It's an interesting article & well worth a read, at least until next month when Sir Keith is due to announce his team, hopefully of those best sailors and boat designers he talks about!

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Whatever Happened to United Internet Team Germany's Challenge

At a time of little or no official America's Cup activities, The Afterguard ponders what has happened to UITG's 'Official Entry'...

The UITG website carrys a release dated Sunday 5/8/07, referring to an 'early entry allowing more time for preparation', suggesting entry was a done deal. Websites following the America's Cup (press and other) were awash with news of the 'official' German challenge. The Afterguard prepared a news story to coincide with ACM's official confirmation. Yet here we are on Thursday 16/8/07, some eleven days later, and there has been no ACM confirmation.

Now it's that time of year, especially on the European continent, when vacation time can often account for missed deadlines. Yet yesterday, 15/8/07, ACM updated its webpage of officially recognised participants to carry a link to the 'Notice of Entry' (compare our image of the page here to the current one); although the page was updated, ACM chose not to introduce the name of United Internet Team Germany to the list; on that basis we can't claim a lack of attention to the list to account for the absence. Surely, entry fees, paid prior to UITG's announcement, would have found there way to the ACM coffers by now?

We're not sure if UITG chose to announce prematurely, but here at The Afterguard we're grateful for our hesitance to cover the story at the time, choosing instead to await the official confirmation. We'd love to tell you all about UITG's entry, we just can't be sure its actually happened yet! Are ACM doing UITG a disservice, or have UITG done a disservice to the general public?

Inset image: Photo © United Internet Team Germany

Sunday, 12 August 2007

TEAMORIGIN's Afterguard Cowes Week Round Up

Although news from TEAMORIGIN has been scarce of late, the two key figures behind the team, owner Sir Keith Mills and Team Director Mike Sanderson, have been busy participating in events at Cowes Week. Updated 13-8-07

Mike Sanderson had on his other sailing hat, seeing his involvement with Pindar's new open 60 reach a finale at Cowes and then on to the Fastnet.

Pindar Open 60 Dismasted
Pindar Photo © onEdition 2007

As reported widely elsewhere, a strange fate befell the vessel when structural failure did for her mast.

Having successfully sea-tested in good winds off New Zealand in mid-July, the Pindar Open 60 was then transported to Europe, and sailed from Belgium to Cowes without incident.

Everything therefore looked set fair for Wednesday's Artemis Challenge - round the island race, a much anticipated first meeting with two new giants of the class, Pindar & Estrella Damm (the Farr-designed Open 60 of Ellen MacArthur's OC Group). Onboard Pindar for the race were Mike Sanderson, Brad Jackson, Mike's wife, Emma Sanderson (née Richards), Jo Royle, along with the yacht's designer, Juan Kouyoumdjian & its owner, Andrew Pindar, among others.

Rounding the South side of the island between the Needles and St Catherine's under spinnaker, with Pindar and Estrella Dam easily leading the field and locked in their own battle in winds of 12-15 knots, Andrew Pindar re counted to SailKarma, “I am very disappointed. I don’t know why it happened. We heard ‘Bang! Bang!’ and then it seemed like a fast sort of slow motion as the sails came down. I am glad the designer Juan Kouyoumdjian was on board and we are now looking at what could have caused it.” Pindar's mast had failed some 2 metres above deck, and we're pleased to report that despite the danger, there were no injuries aboard, apart from some bruised egos. The mast and all rigging were recovered, and the boat was returned to Gosport for urgent attention.

According to Stuart Alexander of the Independent, Mike Sanderson helpfully concluded, "We'll just have to put Humpty back together again."

Sailing Networks got more comment from Mike, “Today was a very disappointing day. We don’t currently know how it happened, it’s a really clean break to the mast, nothing else is damaged. Once we are back at base we will try to get to the bottom of it, but it’s a real disappointment. I think the mast is repairable, but we won’t be able to make the Fastnet this weekend. Prior to the break, Pindar was going really well, we hit 18 knots at one point round by the Needles, which in the light winds we were experiencing was great stuff.”

Meanwhile, Andrew Pindar also commented to Sailing Networks, “To break the mast on Pindar’s first outing was terribly frustrating for everyone involved. I was on board the boat today when the incident occurred, and was utterly impressed by the way that Mike and the crew handled the situation with incredible calm professionalism. Due to the fact that we were unable to finish the race, and compete for the donation from Artemis to our chosen charity, Earthwatch, I will be making a personal donation towards their fantastic work.”

The Afterguard sent its best man to talk with several team members yesterday, and we can reveal that despite Andrew Pindar's initial hopes of rectifying everything in time for the start of the Fastnet (now delayed by 25 hours), the vessel will not be raced anytime soon. A decision is still to be made as to whether to repair the failure in the carbon tube of the deckspreader-supported wingmast, or whether to replace the whole mast section. Either way, the team are now working to ensure that Pindar is in perfect order for November's TJV (Transat Jacques Vabre) from France to Brazil.

As Elaine Bunting pondered in her Yachts & Yachting blog, despite helping in the conceptualisation of the vessel, TEAMORIGIN's Mike Sanderson may never sail her any time soon to a successful conclusion, as he will be unavailable for the TJV due to the anticipated birth of his & Emma's first child - due on 4th November - and his full attention will soon after be required for his America's Cup exploits.

Elsewhere at Cowes, TEAMORIGIN's owner, Sir Keith Mills, was busy onboard with & keeping an eye upon his protege, Alex Thomson Racing, who was busy giving an outing to his new Finot-Conq-designed Hugo Boss II open 60 (AKA the batmobile). During his time, Sir Keith commented on the proposed 33rd Protocol new AC class, "The thing that makes it exciting for TEAMORIGIN is the fact that all the teams are now starting from square one. For a new team that gives us a competitive advantage." Of Cowes, Sir Keith reflected, "It's the one occasion in the UK when pretty much the whole sailing community comes together, young and old, fast boats and slow ones, big ones and small ones. The atmosphere down here in Cowes is extraordinary. It's a great advert particularly for young guys who are just getting into the sport."

The Afterguard chose this particularly quiet time in the British sailing calendar (!) to pay a visit on the new Portsmouth base of TEAMORIGIN. While we didn't expect anyone to be there to offer us a cup of tea (they weren't and they therefore didn't), we couldn't resist a nosey-around. We won't bore you with the full photo-album, but we'll share a couple:

Monday, 6 August 2007

Hodara's Uncompromising Tone Over 33rd Protocol

France 24 carry an AFP story containing defiant statements from ACM's COO, Michel Hodara.

Hodara says of the 33rd Protocol:

"We have no intention of going back (on decisions that have been taken)", but indicated some detail might be "fine-tuned" over the coming weeks.

Boat-change content "has been thought about for a long time and many are convinced that you must change to have a more exciting event".

Of challenges to the Protocol: "It is a shame that people could think that things would not be carried out in a fair and just way".

Of Luna Rossa's decision not to participate: "a pity".

AFP added that "The (Mascalzone) compromise solution was rejected by Hodara, who said the teams which take part in the 2009 Cup would get information on the characteristics of the new boats from September 15, ahead of an October 31 deadline."

Nothing we didn't already know, except that ACM want all wavering challengers signed up by September 15th. For most, the decision to join shouldn't be too difficult (if they wish to exist, they need to hop on board before the boat leaves) - but for Oracle and Mascalzone (especially), things must be a little tense.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

America's Cup 33 - Fuxia Challenge Rumours Circulate Again

Fuxia Challenge rumours are circulating again.

This time involving a €48 million war chest and Carlo Croce of Genoa Yacht Club. Still to be an all female crew. Apparently.

Now there's a website: Here

We're happy to report it; nice visuals (thanks Trevor) & it passes the time.

Italian sites are getting quite exercised about it this weekend. For example, Here (in Italian).

ACM Update 33rd Protocol via 'Notice Of Entry'

ACM stay on course through publication of the 'Notice Of Entry'.

The following document (© ACM) can be downloaded from here.

Specifically, have a look at 2.2 iv - The Deed of Gift gets an update - 'has or will have' a regatta.


Notice of Entry

1. Background

This Notice of Entry is issued by AC Management SA pursuant to Article 4 of the Protocol Governing the 33rd America’s Cup for application by yacht clubs to become a Challenging Competitor.

Definitions used in the said Protocol shall apply to this Notice of Entry.

2. Application

I, ________________________________ am the Commodore (or state other office) of the _____________________________________ [ yacht club name ] and I am duly authorised by such yacht club to submit this Notice of Entry, as confirmed by [Notary] hereunder.

2.1 Yacht Club: [ Club ] hereby makes application to AC Management SA to become a Challenging Competitor in the 33rd America’s Cup.

2.2 Deed Of Gift: [ Club ] is qualified to challenge for the America’s Cup under the terms of the Deed of Gift dated 24 October 1887 between George L. Schuyler and the New York Yacht Club regarding a silver cup won by the schooner yacht America at Cowes, England on the 22nd day of August 1851, as amended by orders of the Supreme Court of the State of New York on 17 December 1956 and 5 April 1985, and in particular;

(i) is not domiciled in Switzerland;

(ii) is an organised yacht club;

(iii) is incorporated, patented or; licensed by the legislature, admiralty or oth executive department of the state in which it is domiciled; and

(iv) has or will have an annual regatta on the sea or an arm of the sea.

2.3 Certificate of Incorporation: An original notarized certified copy of the [club’s ] certificate of incorporation as well as of the trade register extract is/are annexed to this Notice of Entry.

2.4 Annual Regatta: The Notice of Race of the [ club’s ] annual regatta on the sea or arm of the sea demonstrating the Challenger meets or will meet the obligations in the Deed of Gift are annexed to this Notice of Entry.

2.5 Organised: Details, such as the [club’s] existing by-laws and its organization regulations, demonstrating how the [club] is organised and meets the obligations in the Deed of Gift regarding being an organised yacht club are annexed to this Notice of Entry.

2.6 Representation: [ Club ] will be represented by

_________________________________________________

Name of representative (syndicate)

All communications and notices are to be sent to:

[Provide address (no PO Box address), fax, and email, telephone details of both the yacht club and the representative entity (syndicate) with the name(s) of contact person(s)]

3. Bound By Protocol

The [ Club ] and the [ Representative – syndicate ] each hereby unconditionally agree and accept to be bound by the terms of the said Deed of Gift, the Protocol, and all applicable rules and obligations referred to in such Protocol including but not limited to those which will be contained the documents listed in Article 2.5 of the said Protocol, and any amendment to such Protocol or such rules and obligations that may be issued from time to time.

4. Arbitration and Dispute Resolution

The [ Club ] and the [ Representative – syndicate ] each hereby unconditionally agree and accept to be bound by the dispute resolution provisions of the Protocol and by the decisions rendered by the Measurement Committee, Sailing Jury and the Arbitration Panel in accordance with such provisions of the Protocol. [ Club ] further unconditionally submit to the exclusive jurisdictions of the Measurement Committee, Sailing Jury and the Arbitration Panel as provided in the said Protocol and agree and undertake not to resort to any other court, or tribunal in respect of any matter regarding the 33rd America’s Cup.

5. Entry Fee and Performance Bond

[ Club ] submits an entry fee of Euro 50,000.00 with this Notice of Entry and agrees a performance bond will be required to be posted by us to AC Management SA of up to Euro 950,000.00 at a later date on at least 30 days prior notice.

The entry fee shall be transferred on the following bank account:

BENEFICIARY BANK :

UBS SA

Rue des Noirettes 35

Case Postale 2600

1211 Genève 2

BANK ACCOUNT :

IBAN : CH 3000 2402 4048 7696 75T

SWIFT : UBSWCHZH80A

ACCOUNT BENEFICIARY :

AC MANAGEMENT SA

20, Route de Pré Bois

CP-1852-1215 Geneva 15

Switzerland

6. Challenger of Record

The [Club] and [Representative – syndicate] each acknowledge and agree that the Club Nautico Español de Vela (“CNEV”) is the Challenger of Record under the terms of the Protocol, but that in the event of the withdrawal or disqualification of CNEV, [Club] may become the Challenger of Record, as provided under Article 3.3 of the Protocol.

The [ Club ] and [ Representative – syndicate ] also acknowledge that Golden Gate Yacht Club ("GGYC") is claiming that CNEV is not a valid Challenger of Record and has commenced a lawsuit in New York State court seeking to have CNEV removed as Challenger of Record and to have GGYC inserted in its place.

The [Club] and the [ Representative – syndicate ] further acknowledge that Societé Nautique de Genève ("SNG") has commenced an arbitration proceeding before the Arbitration Panel constituted under the Protocol in which it asks the Panel to confirm CNEV's status as Challenger of Record.

The [ Club ] and the [ Representative – syndicate ] each understand that AC Management and SNG cannot be responsible for any losses incurred by [ Club ] and/or [ Representative – syndicate ] as a result from GGYC's actions.

Signatures:

[Club]:

Name:

Office:

Date:

[NOTARY’S LEGALISATION + CONFIRMATION OF SIGNATORY’S AUTHORITY, POSSIBLY CONFIRMED BY THE HAGUE APOSTILLE]

[Representative – syndicate]:

By countersigning this Notice of Entry [representative – syndicate] confirms its agreement with its provisions and in particular unconditionally agrees and accepts to be bound by the terms and conditions of sections 3, 4 and 6 above.

Name:

Office:

Date:

[NOTARY’S LEGALISATION + CONFIRMATION OF SIGNATORY’S AUTHORITY, POSSIBLY CONFIRMED BY THE HAGUE APOSTILLE]

--Ends--

Friday, 3 August 2007

Coutts Offers Bertarelli an Olive Branch

Valencia Sailing is carrying a statement from BMW Oracle Racing's Russell Coutts indicating that GGYC would be prepared to drop its legal challenge to the 33rd Protocol if it was to be completely rewritten to reflect the wishes of Mascalzone.

It strikes us that if this were to be the case, GGYC wouldn't have much case to pursue anyway, which might explain why it fell to Coutts to release the news, not Ellison.

Anyway, a flicker of light on the horizon - surely Bertarelli can't ignore this? Watch this space!

Luna Rossa Calls Time On The America's Cup

Sad news reached The Afterguard this afternoon concerning the future of Italian America's Cup team Luna Rossa.

Prada today announced that Luna Rossa Challenge will not be returning to challenge for the 33rd America's Cup.

Luna Rossa's Patrizio Bertelli: “We challenged in three campaigns of the America’s Cup and we had ten very intense years. It has been an unforgettable experience, both from a sports and human perspective. I want to thank the team, the Telecom Italia Group, Intesa Sanpaolo, the other sponsors and the Yacht Club Italiano who have constantly and enthusiastically supported us. From a corporate standpoint, participating in these three campaigns has allowed us to acquire and develop precious skills, experience, and visibility for our Group. I hope that another Italian team will be able to compete in the next edition and to keep Italy at the top of the game in the America’s Cup.”

Prada: "Participation in the next America's Cup was carefully analysed and, while significant human and financial resources are already available, it was decided that after three campaigns a cycle has come to an end".

Sources: BYM, Reuters. See the original Italian release at Luna Rossa e dintorni. Inset image: Photo © Luna Rossa Challenge

Mascalzone Breaks Silence Over 33rd Protocol

Striking a very concilatory tone, Vincenzo Onorato of Mascalzone Latino has today broken the team's silence over the issues surrounding the 33rd Protocol.

Italian site Sport Economy carries a statement from Vincenzo, an English translation of which is carried on 2007AC.com Network & BYM reproduced below. Mr Onorato seems to speak a lot of sense at a time when passions are inflamed, and we can only hope that the protagonists have the ability to step back and consider the logical and sensible proposal for getting all concerned back to the negotiating table.

Thoughts on America’s Cup XXXIII – and our proposal

On the sport side all wish and expect to be part of an event in which winning has a lot of value through strong, tough but ultimately fair-play-based competition.


On a commercial side we all expect and wish to have a credible and sellable event in which the sponsor would have their visibility and good chances to have their teams successfully compete.


Both the prospective and the current AC 33 Challengers need to look for sponsors. To our knowledge few, if any , of the challengers recently accepted by SNG do not have yet even the start up funds.


The “Class Rule” of the next event and the unilaterally-appointed race management and dispute resolution provisions are the critical points of objection to the current Protocol, which has already received a lot of criticism since its publication.

We believe that an America’s Cup in which the Challengers would know from the Defender (without previous Challenger involvement) the new class rules only 18 months before the event would not be a competitive regatta, nor would be credible or sellable. We should count at minimum 8-9 months of design work, 8-9 months, if not more, in case of two yachts, for the construction. Challengers would not even have enough time to test the new yachts on-the-water. When the new class of yacht was created in 1988, all competitors had more then 3 years to prepare.

We understand Alinghi’s wish to play its role as the Defender, and its desire of evolving the event with a new class of yachts.

We understand Oracle’s position that ultimately it is playing the role of a Challenger, and wishes to make the game more accessible and equitable for the challengers.


In the existing conflicting positions between SNG/Alinghi and GGYC/Oracle, all other teams should try to contribute in resolving this impasse.


We therefore urge SNG/Alinghi to reopen the discussion on the AC XXXIII Protocol on the following basis, provided that AC 33 will be in Valencia in 2009, May-July as announced:


- Use V5 America’s Cup yachts, with each team permitted to build one new yacht and modify one old yacht up to 50%.

- All AC 33 competitors agree, by entering AC 32, that in case of winning AC 33 they will use the new Alinghi 90' design in AC 34, with the final rule to be worked out between Alinghi and the CC (which would of course include the current COR) in the meantime, and starting now.

- The Protocol be substantially the same as AC 32, but with changes to be negotiated by SNG/Alinghi with the Challenger Commission. The revision of the Protocol should particularly solve the area of most concern of the recent adopted Protocol: SNG’s unilateral ability, through ACM, to disqualify a challenging team, in particular for disputing any provision in the Protocol; ACM’s ability to accept not all otherwise valid challengers, ACM’s ability to unilaterally reject a challenging team; appointment of the arbitration panel and jury by the Defender and COR only and their ability to dismiss the members of the panel and jury at will; ACM’s exclusive power to appoint race committee, measurement committee, umpires and any other event officials; ACM’s powers and rights which far exceed the position of any Defender in the past, including the power to impose a penalty to competitors; ACM’s power to “unilaterally” establish the rules for the all the events, including the Challenger Selection Series, the lack of any accountability by either ACM or COR to the challengers and the absence of any requirement of neutral management, the participation of the Defender in the CSS.

The execution of a revised Protocol with these provisions should then convince GGYC to withdraw the Court actions, and it would attract more sponsors and, therefore, more teams to the event.

Vincenzo Onorato, Mascalzone Latino. August 3rd, 2007.

--Ends--

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Run Your Own America's Cup Campaign - Part 1

With the lawyers busy doing their warm up exercises, The Afterguard takes the opportunity during this lull in activity to present the first in its series of how to 'Run Your Own America's Cup Campaign'.

Over the coming days, weeks, months & years (yes it really will be that long), The Afterguard will be taking an irreverent look at what it takes to mount a successful America's Cup campaign.
Everything hereafter is alleged and not at all true (The Afterguard has no wish to visit the New York Supreme Court or any other!).

Part 1 - Mounting a Challenge
Novice taxidermists take note: Only if your challenge goes to court will it involve any 'stuffing' - here we refer to the organisational techniques involved in being included in a cup campaign.

It may seem obvious to most, but the first task in presenting a successful campaign is to:

1. Know the rules by which you are governed.

This requires the careful study of the following documents:

i/ The Deed of Gift. It was written many years ago in a time before greed, skulduggery & un-sporting behaviour was known of, so it tends to take a lot for granted; this is good news for the novice team, as it presents a lot of 'wriggle room' - interpreted correctly you can get away with an awful lot even before you have to 'lubricate' your path into the Cup.

ii/ The Protocol. Anything the Deed of Gift appears to suggest unacceptable, the protocol will usually make acceptable. It is a document generated by the current defenders of the cup & which often cleverly contradicts the Deed of Gift while introducing yet further 'wriggle room'. Novice taxidermists take note: there may be an opportunity to practice your stitching skills at this stage, but only once you've successfully won the cup & are now looking to defend it.

2. Arrange to represent a 'sailing club'.

There are a couple of methods to achieving this:

i/ Visit a long-established organisation with an impeccable reputation & convince them there is much prestige in being identified with you (unleash your novice taxidermist if necessary).

ii/ Gather a few mates in a bar and try to think up a name for a new 'sailing' club (be sure to write down some of your ideas before alcohol takes grip, otherwise you might have to repeat the whole process).

Note: If following the second suggestion, be aware that there are a number of conditions to establishing that your new club is acceptable, but these are issues that need not concern you at this stage - everything necessary can be done much later, once you're up and running.

3. Arrange to have something to sail.

*Top Tip*
For this, we strongly recommend a boat - to date, only boats have been known to win the America's Cup. Better still, a boat which complies with the current America's Cup standard (for boats) will do nicely. Don't worry that the current America's Cup standard is known to be changing, nor that it is not clear as to what it is to be changing to. None of this matters right now. The important thing is to go to your bank (piggy or otherwise) and borrow the money to buy someone else's old boat. If the bank manager enquires as to what might be wrong with the boat that someone else no longer wants it, resist the temptation to tell them to discuss the matter with a novice taxidermist; bank managers are highly trained in the technique of 'spotting one a mile off' and it may be wise not to upset any that are agreeable to meeting with you.

4. Making your challenge.

Without a shadow of a doubt, making your challenge official is by far the greatest hurdle you will have faced up to this stage. There are a lot of people involved in running the America's Cup, and having decided to challenge, having created your club and having secured your boat, you really don't want to go and blow it all by asking the wrong person if you can participate. If you don't know who's who, it would be all too easy to go and talk with the owner of another team thinking they were in charge of running the whole show - just imagine the shame!

No, it's important to do your homework first. Have you studied the organiser's website thoroughly? Often, there's a wealth of useful information provided, and in recent years a great deal has been done to simplify the process of applying, as illustrated by the following image, gratefully taken from the current campaign's website (© ACM).

Please note that the helpful red box placed around the email address to which challenge applications should be sent is our inclusion - you won't find it on the actual website itself, so do be sure to look carefully (especially if your name is 'Larry').

Note that the 'entry' page of the organiser's website is quite unhelpful as it doesn't include any instruction as to how to proceed, so now might be a good time to bookmark this Afterguard page so you can return to it should you need.

We recommend formatting your application thus:

to: entry@americascup.com
from: dillusional@fictitioussailingclub.com
Subject: Can we join, please

Dear your excellency,

We would very much appreciate the opportunity to participate in the forthcoming America's Cup, wherever and whenever that might be.

We have joined/have set up/will set up* a bona fide sailing club, as required.
We have a boat. We have a boat that was once suitable for the America's Cup.
We agree to having no rights whatsoever once accepted as a challenger.

Additionally, we have oodles of money and not much sense.

We would very much like to participate in the next cup and we look forward to your approval with much anticipation.

Yours Faithfully,

Your name here.


* delete as applicable.

There you go, you've just met all the qualifying criteria and made your challenge.

Pending acceptance of your entry, do check back soon when we'll cover other areas of your 33rd America's Cup campaign, including, 'How Do You Sail A Boat?' and 'Who Pays For Stuff?'.

Note to regular readers: Don't ask, I'm just in a strange mood.