Friday, January 29, 2010
The 33rd America’s Cup match has been delayed so many times, it is hard for the serious players, let alone the spectator to understand the latest reasons. So let me try to explain:
A. Alinghi 5 has sails which were produced on a mould in America, then shipped to Switzerland to be glued together and finished.
B. GGYC says the whole boat, including sails, must be ‘constructed’ in the country of origin, eg Switzerland, and has taken the matter to court.
C. SNG say that, if Alinghi 5’s sails are banned, Alinghi will forfeit the series rather than race and then find they are disqualified.
"We have been clear: If BMW Oracle succeeds in disqualifying the Defender's sails then there will be no Match," Meyer said. "Russell Coutts [BMW Oracle skipper] will have won the America's Cup for Larry Ellison without sailing."
D. Everything else is just ‘smoke and mirrors’. No other legal issues are involved.
So why have BMW Oracle raised the question of sails when they know that American-made sails were used by almost all teams in the 32nd AC event without any complaint or protest. Why has it become such an issue now?
Tom Ehman of GGYC says: ....... the 33rd Match is not a normal regatta. It is not even a normal America’s Cup. It is a “Deed of Gift match” in which the clear wording of the Cup’s ruling document must be adhered to by both teams.
This statement suggests that, in previous Cup events, the use of American sails was a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ between all the teams involved. Given the bad blood that exists between these two teams, it is clear that agreement or compromise is simply not possible at this late stage. It is also nearly certain that the Supreme Court will not rule on this case until after the series has begun.
Unless someone ‘blinks first’, racing will go ahead on February 8th, weather permitting. What happens after the ‘grudge match’ has been settled, and one team has ‘won’ the America’s Cup? It seems quite likely that the whole show will end up back in court. Why?, because the two teams have failed to reach agreement on so many points up to now, it seems very probable that one or the other will find a reason (genuine or spurious, depending upon your viewpoint) to protest the whole event. The fact is, they have to go racing on February 8th just to satisfy the New York Supreme Court that they were acting in accordance with the Court’s ruling; that is: if you are going to race, the race must start no later than 10 months after the Court ruled that you should!
It will still be a thrilling spectacle and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness a true ‘Battle of the Giants’. We will be there on Monday, February 8 (not the12th as previously reported) and we hope to see you there.