Vincenzo Onorato – Challenging times for the COR
Published on February 3rd, 2011
Challenging Times for the Challenger of Record
Vincenzo Onorato is the President of Mascalzone Latino, a sailing team he founded in 1993. After his team had taken part in the last two editions of the America’s Cup, Onorato joined with the Club Nautico di Roma (CNR) to be the Challenger of Record for the 34th America’s Cup.
Here are some comments that Vincenzo shared with Scuttlebutt:
What role has the CNR played in developing the format for the 34th America’s Cup?
Vincenzo Onorato: Basically the role of CNR has always been: first to try to keep the Defender (which is a very rich team) sensitive to the problems of the others teams in search of sponsor and consequently to keep the costs low; second to build the most spectacular America’s Cup ever and here comes the Catamaran!
There have many changes to the event format for AC34. Some of the changes, such as the multihull format and estimated costs, have discouraged certain teams from entering. Other changes, such as the delay to learn the AC34 venue and the location and schedule of the 2011 AC World Series, have hampered other teams efforts to raise funds. Is there concern now that the new event format for AC34 may have been too much for the sport?
Vincenzo Onorato: The Cup needed an important change and, one more time, I would like to underline that multihulls mean saving money. It doesn’t seem to me that this has been given the right attention that the Cup will start with 45 ft One-Design boats and that will keep down the costs and will give time to the teams for the fund raising.
The delay to announce the venues is due to the fact that in such a difficult economic worldwide crisis, more time has been necessary for the negotiations with the locations. We, Mascalzone Latino, are working hard to take some AC World Series events in Italy. We are in the same position of the others teams: without dates and venues, it is much harder to manage sponsor negotiations.
It has been said that CNR is not sufficiently funded, that there are no sailors on contract, and very little technical design work is occurring. Is this true? Have the changes to the event format for AC34 hampered the ability of CNR to participate in AC34?
Vincenzo Onorato: It is partially true. We have an agreement with some sailors and a solution for the design team, but it’s also true that at the moment we haven’t got any sponsors. In the last multi-challenger edition, the 32nd America’s Cup, Mascalzone Latino was a very well funded team. I personally have no interest at all to be just involved in the Cup if I’ll not be competitive. If, in the next few months, I won’t be able to find the economic resources to make my team competitive, then I’ll quit.
I wish to remind that Mascalzone Latino means Italy in the Cup. Any time we race in the USA, whether it is in Key West, Miami, Newport or San Francisco, there is a great Italian community cheering for us. We want them to be proud of us and obviously not forgetting our many fans in Italy that devotedly follow our progress.