The 33rd America's Cup appears destined to be decided by a match in giant multihulls as the Defender Alinghi refused to negotiate with BMW ORACLE Racing in their meeting held in Geneva today.
Ever since the start of lengthy court battle between Alinghi (team of the defending yacht club, Société Nautique de Genève) and BMW ORACLE Racing (team of the Golden Gate Yacht Club) began back in 2007, the fate of the 33rd America's Cup has been shrouded in uncertainty. Today, the type of boat to be used for the race finally appears to be decided, with the 33rd America's Cup Match set to be a race between two giant 90ft by 90ft multihulls.
At the start of this month GGYC scored a decisive victory in the New York Courts over Alinghi. Following this decision the GGYC had indicated they were willing to negotiate a new protocol with the SNG rather than the contest in 90ft by 90ft boats outlined in their original challenge. However, at a meeting between the two teams held in Geneva today, the SNG refused to enter into negotiations, only confirming "Alinghi will be ready to race their 90x90ft boat in 2010".
BMW ORACLE Racing unveiled their 90ft multihull, a trimaran, back in August last year. Alinghi has yet to launch their multihull.
The next major battle appears to be set on the date of the match, with BMW ORACLE insisting on February 2010, but Alinghi saying May 2010. There is some ambiguity in the Deed of Gift, the document which governs the America's Cup, which states that the challenger can set the date provided a 10-month notice period (i.e. February 2010), but the Defender can decided the venue and if it's in the Northern Hemisphere racing can only take place between May and November (so the earliest possible date would be May 2010). At this stage, a return to court to decide the date of the Match appears the most likely scenario.
Both sides released statements shortly after today's meetings, re-produced in full below.
Société Nautique de Genève
At a meeting today in Geneva, the America's Cup defending yacht club, Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), confirmed that it accepts the Golden Gate Yacht Club's (GGYC) challenge for the 33rd America's Cup and informed representatives of the American yacht club that its team, Alinghi, will be ready to race their 90x90ft boat (as stated in the GGYC Notice of Challenge) in 2010.
SNG expressed its willingness for the challenger selection to be open to other teams and has encouraged GGYC to do so by offering them more time for teams to prepare if necessary. It was also stated that the SNG would be flexible and ready to discuss other terms of the 33rd America's Cup such as race format, venue or calendar.
Golden Gate Yacht Club
A delegation from the Golden Gate Yacht Club and its team, BMW ORACLE Racing, met in Geneva today with representatives of SNG/Alinghi.
GGYC's clear and straight-forward proposals for a fully competitive, conventional America's Cup in monohulls were rejected by SNG, who insisted on a regatta in large multihulls under the Deed of Gift ("DoG").
SNG asserted that the Deed of Gift match with GGYC would take place in May 2010. This is in defiance of the recent decision and orders of the New York courts that the DoG match take place in February 2010.
GGYC has asked SNG to put their position in writing, and hopes to have another meeting with SNG soon to clarify issues related to the DoG match.
GGYC is disappointed that SNG categorically rejected our proposals for a conventional regatta. GGYC will continue to negotiate in good faith as Challenger of Record to put the America's Cup back on the water as soon as possible.
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