Friday, October 31, 2008

Blind Card Bluff

I’ve been doing some hard traveling (well, nothin’ on Woodie Guthrie), and it’s not over, so nowsabout I stick my head up for a breath of air down by the tracks and low and behold the whistle tells of Alinghi and a passle of the other AC players confabbing in Geneva and petitioning Larry Ellison to join the table.

I turn my back for one minute and this happens.

And before I disappear again . . .

It’s been a fascinating play on the part of Alinghi/Ernesto Bertarelli to leverage off the Down Under plans for a Louis Vuitton Pacific Cup, turn around, and say come one, come all, come race. Let’s get the next America’s Cup in gear regardless of what happens (or not) in court. And oh, by the way, Kiwi dears, if you’ll drop your suit we’ll enter the Louis Vuitton Pacific and face-savingly embrace you warmly etc etc and bless the event with the presence of the Defender of the America’s Cup. And oh, by the way, BMW Oracle Racing, drop that 600-pound gorilla lawsuit against CNEV, join the party (should I say, join the Party), and all is forgiven.

By December 15.

Or all is not forgiven.

And then, baby, if you win in court you get to take your chances on a Deed of Gift match for the Cup. And if you lose that one, you’re not tapped out, you’re o-u-t.

Imagine a poker game where you put your money down—on cards that are face-down, unseen. Those cards would be equivalent to the New York Supreme Court Ruling, still probably months away, as to CNEV’s status or un- as a legitimate Challenger of Record. It’s a blind bet. Card counters, your talents are useless.

The best minds I know say, “no way” should CNEV be declared legit, but the last court ruling declared the equivalent of “sure, whatever” and blessed CNEV’s status to most everyone’s surprise including the few then-still-operating elements of CNEV. Me, I was merely flabbergasted to read what seemed like at best a flabby ruling.

So, how does Larry bet? How would you bet?

PRESENT in Geneva
- Alinghi, Société Nautique de Genève, Switzerland – Defender of the 33rd America’s Cup
- Desafío Español, Club Náutico Español de Vela, Spain – Challenger of Record
- Shosholoza, Royal Cape Yacht Club, South Africa
- TeamOrigin, Royal Thames Yacht Club, United Kingdom
- Emirates Team New Zealand, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, New Zealand
- United Internet Team Germany, Deutscher Challenger Yacht Club, Germany
- Green Comm, Challenge Circolo di Vela Gargano, Italy
- Ayre, Real Club Náutico de Dénia, Spain
- Victory Challenge, Gamla Stans Yacht Sällskap, Sweden
- Argo Challenge, Club Náutico di Gaeta, Italy
- French Spirit, Yacht Club de St Tropez, France
- Carbon Challenge, Royal Belgian Sailing Club, Belgium

ABSENT in Geneva
-BMW Oracle Racing
-Mascalzone Latino

The response from Tom Ehman, speaking for BMW Oracle and the Golden Gate Yacht Club::

“We have offered repeatedly to drop our lawsuit if Alinghi commits to fair rules, and our offer still stands. We would like nothing better than to have a fully competitive multi-challenger America’s Cup on the water by 2010. We stand ready and willing to meet with Alinghi and all of the other competitors to discuss the future of the Cup, but without unreasonable pre-conditions.”

In case you missed it there’s this: Alinghi's announcement

And this: The release from the meeting

Me, I'm hopping a freight train to wherever. I’ll be quiet for a while, back with you some time before mid-November—Kimball