"No boats" is no excuse
Jonny Faulkner, a director of race charter and management company Race 1, said he had six Sydney 40s available for charter at a cost of £25,000 for the Admiral's Cup and the period leading up to the event, including the Sydney 40 World Championships.
Responding to US Sailing's Ken Morrison, who said the lack of availability of an IC45 or Sydney 40 was preventing their attendance in Cowes this year, Faulkner told madforsailing: "The spokesman for the American team doesn't know what he is talking about. Our charter fee of £25,000 for a 6-7 week period is up on our website - it has been in the public domain for a long time."
Faulkner said he thought the Americans had tied up a deal with Karol Jablonski, the owner of a Polish-registered Sydney 40 called MK Café. "The deal effectively offered them a fully professional set-up with the deposit paid, and to my knowledge that deal had been in place for two to three months, so I don't what's going on. I don't know if they have something they're trying to cover up."
Don Genitempo, manager of the US team, had told madforsailing yesterday that he thought a properly funded Sydney 40 campaign would cost close to half a million dollars, but Faulkner dismissed that as ridiculous. "Our charter boats come with a good set of North 3DL training sails, so they would need to spend about £20,000 on a good set of new sails, plus the cost of bringing over a professional crew and accommodating them. Of course, if they want to stay in a castle while they're here, that's their choice."
Peter Morton of Farr International also dismissed Morrison's claims that there was no competitive IC45 available to them. "Sal Giordano said he would come with Heatwave if a fully professional Sydney 40 was made available to the US team. But he will not come unless that is in place." Which begs the question why the MK Café arrangement has not been continued. madforsailing is attempting to contact Karol Jablonski to get his comments on the situation.
Morton also expressed surprise at Morrison's wish that the big boat slot had remained as an IMS 50-footer rather than the currently favoured IC45. "If they can find someone to spend $1.5m on one of those, why is it so hard to spend $150,000 on running an IC45 for the summer?"
If they could not secure the services of Heatwave, Morton said there were plenty of charter options available, and it would not be expensive. "It would cost about £25,000 to charter one, about the same as a Sydney 40. Then a set of sails would be about the same, with a residual value of about half that by the end of the series. I've got my own boat, and then there are others being shipped back from Palma at the moment, boats like Bounder and Babalaas."
Morton said Morrison was making "a last ditch attempt to preserve IMS". Morton conceded that IMS was thriving in Spain, but asked: "How many Americans have built an IMS 50 since George David built Idler two years ago, apart from a Japanese owner who has now put Esmeralda up for sale? The US economy is booming, there are 250 million people, 5 million millionaires, and how many new IMS 50s in America? None."
Ken Morrison of US Sailing was unable to give a telephone interview to madforsailing because he is recovering from recent vocal surgery, but he responded by email: "The press release tells the whole story. I do not plan to embellish this. The situation is that playing the game at the Admiral's Cup takes a great deal of money. Ask any owner from the US who has done it in the past 10 years.
"At present we have found no owners in the United States interested in spending the kind of money it takes to field a competitive team this year except in the Farr 40 one-design class and they are not interested in doing it in any other class."