The Admiral's Cup will survive

David Minords tells Ed Gorman that four nations is the absolute minimum

Thursday March 15th 2001, Author: Ed Gorman, Location: United Kingdom
David Minords, the general manager of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, says four nations plus one other second string team - perhaps styled as from "Europe" or the "Commonwealth" - is the absolute minimum to ensure the 2001 Admiral's Cup goes ahead. Even if this year's event is cancelled, Minords is adament it will return in two year's time.

"The bare minimum is probably four nations and one other," he told madforsailing. Asked whether holding this once great championship with that low level of participants might do it more harm than not holding it all, he replied: "It's obviously a debatable point - it's a management committee decision. If the players are happy with four then that's it. If they're not, one of them will pull out and the Admiral's Cup won't happen."

But he emphasised that the Admiral's Cup which has been held every other year since 1957 will not die. "It'll come back in two years - I have absolutely no doubt about that whatever - unequivocally it will be back. If it doesn't happen there is obviously going to a lot of thought about what is needed next time. It would be a different format because you can't reinforce failure. But the Admiral's Cup will be back if it doesn't happen this time - it's going through a hiatus."

Minords was reluctant to be drawn on which teams he feels, at this stage at least, could make up the four most lilely to take part. But he named Britain, France, Italy and Australia, notably excluding Germany. He was cagey on the suggestion that any German decision not to come may have been taken in cahoots with the Americans, who tipped the event into crisis earlier this week by announcing that they will not be taking part.

"I know they talk to each other - they would anyway because of the ORC - they are obviously talking to each other, but I don't know that for a fact," he said. Minords added that the uncertainty about entries is typical of past events but significantly worse this time round, mainly because of the American opt-out. "I think it would be untrue to say it's not a bit different - for some reason the US seems a bit pivotal. I don't know why because in 1993 they didn't come and it wasn't pivotal then."

Many commentators have already written the Australians off, but Minords still believes there is a chance they will make it. "It's not totally out of the question, " he said.

Amid the conflicting but loud complaints from all over the sailing world about various aspects of the present format - including the decision on whether or not to include an IMS-rated big boat and the inclusion of the highly unpopular Sydney 40 - Minords said change at this late stage was not impossible, but was unlikely. For example, some have called for the Sydney 40 to be dropped in favour of the Mumm 30.

"I don't think it would do the event any good because if you change the Sydney 40 for the Mumm 30 - would the Spanish
come? I doubt it," Minords said. "People make their plans. The Americans might come but I don't know if anyone else would. I suspect that, at the end of this, we're going to be damed if we do and damned if we don't. The best we can do is to try and take the moral high ground and try to do the right thing," he added.

Commenting on Ken Morrison's statement on behalf of US Sailing which announced the American withdrawal (in which Morrison said he would have preferred an IMS 50-footer to have remained in the big boat slot), Minords said he considered Morrison's contribution on the big boat issue to have been "intemperate and of no help at all." He added: "He needn't have said what he did about there not being an IMS 50 - that did not help."

However he praised the American team manager, Don Genitempo, who he said had done all he could to support the Admiral's Cup. "Don's done a great job and I think he's tried very hard this time," Minords said.

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