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29 April 2009, 12:47 pm
UPDATED: America's Cup Back To Court Over Date Issue
The America's Cup in Valencia
The America's Cup in Valencia

33rd America's Cup

The battle surrounding the 33rd America's Cup is set for another return to court, this time surrounding the dates of the expected Deed of Gift multihull match between Alinghi and BMW ORACLE Racing.
BMW ORACLE (team of the Golden Gate Yacht Club) insist the date for the match should be February 2010, but Alinghi (team of the Société Nautique de Genève) has claimed the date is 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).

The Supreme Court of the State of New York has issued an order directing the Société Nautique de Genève to show why it should not be held in contempt of court by insisting on a May 2010 date.

The Golden Gate Yacht Club issued the following statement yesterday:

At Golden Gate Yacht Club's request, the Supreme Court of the State of New York today issued an order directing the defender, Société Nautique de Genève, to show cause why it should not be held in contempt of court.

SNG has refused to comply with the Court's April 7, 2009 Order and Judgment concerning the dates for the next America's Cup match.

The court scheduled a hearing for May 14, 2009 at 0930.

In early April the New York State Court of Appeals, in a unanimous 6-0 ruling, held that GGYC is the rightful challenger, and that the next match would be in ten months, meaning early February 2010. However, in a letter last week to GGYC, SNG unilaterally dictated that the match would be in May 2010 in defiance of the Court's April 7 Order and Judgment. SNG and Alinghi officials also made the same statements widely in the media.

"By forcing litigation over our rightful challenge, they have already managed to delay the match from July 2008 to February 2010," said GGYC spokesman Tom Ehman. "Now they seek another three-month delay, in defiance of the Court's clear mandate. Enough is enough."

At a meeting with SNG representatives in Geneva last week, GGYC's straightforward proposal for a conventional, multi-challenger America's Cup in monohulls was categorically rejected by SNG.

The Société Nautique de Genève the following statement this evening:

"BMW Oracle Racing (BOR) and its club Golden Gate (GGYC) have again chosen the New York law courts, instead of accepting an invitation to another meeting to discuss the terms of the 33rd America's Cup. They have ignored both our proposal to open the competition to other challengers and our invitation to agree to mutual consent terms.

As Defender of the America's Cup, Alinghi and the Société Nautique de Genève (SNG) are duty bound to fulfill the Deed of Gift that governs the event. The document clearly states that May is the earliest possible date for a race in the Northern Hemisphere, where both clubs are located. The New York Supreme Court Order does not instruct us to breach our duties as trustee.

The Deed of Gift also states that the Challenger of Record should provide the Defender with a Custom-House Registry of the vessel 'as soon as possible'. This they also ignore. The Deed of Gift is not a document to be cast aside at convenience: the wording is clear on the matter of the dates and cannot be dismissed because it does not suit GGYC and BMW Oracle Racing's current wishes.

The Société Nautique de Genève is prepared to defend its position, which fully respects the Deed of Gift as the governing document of the America's Cup, before the New York Supreme Court and will require BOR and the GGYC to do the same."

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