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At The Helm by Paul Cayard

Paul CayardIn early May, after several months of analysis of the environment surrounding the next America’s Cup, I had come to the conclusion that our formula for funding the challenge, through a combination of private and commercial sponsorships, would not allow AmericaOne the chance to win in 2003. 

Over the past few months several new challenges have emerged for the 2003 America’s Cup.  Four of these new challenges are fully funded in excess of $80M at their inception.  Prada is one of these and they have already begun training for the next Cup. These teams are negotiating to secure the services of the best talent in all areas of our sport.  Obviously the best want to go where they feel they will have the best chance of success and where they can maximize their own financial opportunities.  These early and complete financial resources give the “Billionaire Challenges” a significant advantage over teams like AmericaOne.  We simply could not offer sponsors enough commercial value to raise $60-$80M which is what it will take to be competitive in 2003. We raised $30M in 2000 and it was not easy.

Since it has always been the first principle of AmericaOne to challenge for the Cup only if the team possessed a serious chance of winning, I could not recommend that we challenge for 2003.

After considerable debate and reflection, the board of AmericaOne accepted my recommendation and conclusion that, in light of the circumstances, AmericaOne should not challenge for 2003.

This being the case, we investigated the possibility of joining forces with another entity. Toward the end of May, St. Francis Yacht Club member Larry Ellison approached us, for the 2003 America’s Cup. The board asked management to develop this offer to see what the potential was.  The basic premise of the proposal was that Ellison would acquire AmericaOne’s assets, hire a large majority of its staff, and race for the St. Francis Yacht Club with the hope of improving the commercial viability of the Cup by hosting a defense on San Francisco Bay. Finally, Ellison’s team is starting with a completely funded budget. 

It was the unanimous opinion of the AmericaOne board of directors that, given the team’s previous decision not to pursue a new challenge, Ellison’s offer was a great opportunity.  AmericaOne has entered into an agreement to merge with Ellison’s team and to work to build the strongest team possible.  This agreement was officially accepted on July 28, 2000.

But the America’s Cup has entered into another era.  In some ways it is returning to its roots.  Ellison, Bertelli, McCaw, and Bertarelli (the man who hired Russell Coutts and many others from team New Zealand) are modern day Liptons, Sopwiths and Vanderbilts.  These men are raising the ante for the Auld Mug.  This makes winning very difficult if not impossible for a campaign that needs to sell itself to many different entities before even having the funds to participate in the competitive bidding process for talent let alone funds to operate with.

I think the 2003 edition of the Cup will be a fantastic event.  Famous personalities waging war in high-tech sport.  The media will love it and hopefully the sport will grow in popularity. 

Once again, I want to thank you for all your support throughout our campaign and I trust that you will be as enthusiastic as we are that our efforts to bring the America’s Cup home will live on with this very competitive team.

 

Sincerely,

Paul Cayard

 

About AmericaOne

AmericaOne was the USA's leading challenger for the America's Cup 2000. The team competed in Auckland, New Zealand for the Louis Vuitton Cup and the right to challenge New Zealand for the America's Cup in February 2000. AmericaOne built two boats based on four years of technology development and innovation. Top level technology partners are Hewlett-Packard Company, Network Solutions, Telcordia Technologies, SAIC, Ford Motor Company/Visteon and United Technologies Corp. AmericaOne represents San Francisco's St. Francis Yacht Club.

For further additional information on AmericaOne, please contact:

Gina von Esmarch
E-mail: gvonesmarch@americaone.org
Phone: (415) 474-3425
Fax: (415) 474-3571

Jennifer McHugh
Email: jmchugh@americaone.org
Phone: (415) 474-3425
Fax: (415) 474-3571

 

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