The battle over the 33rd America's Cup is set for a return to the court rooms, with Alinghi requesting a ruling on the date of the racing.
The Swiss team, who represent the defending club, the Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), has sent a request to Justice Cahn of the New York Supreme Court, to determine the dates for the event. The request follows an unsuccessful attempt to resolve the dispute at a meeting held between representatives of the Defender and the Challenger, BMW ORACLE Racing of the Gold Gate Yacht Club, held in Geneva yesterday.
According to the Deed of Gift, the document that governs the America's Cup, the challenger must give a minimum of 10 months notice to the Defender in naming the dates. The Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) filed their challenge for the Cup on 11 July 2007, which initially stated July 2008 as the date for the best-of-three race, although they have since moved that date back to October 2008. However Alinghi claim the 10-month notice period was affectively put on hold during the court proceeding between the two clubs, which came to an end with Justice Cahn's most recent ruling on 18 March 2008. Consequently they claim that racing should not begin until the 1 May 2009 (the Deed of Gift states that racing can only take place between 1 May-1 November in the Northern Hemisphere and 1 November-1 May in the Southern Hemisphere). Alinghi claim that any race held before this time would not allow them time to develop at competitive boat in which to compete with BMW ORACLE Racing (the latter's challenge is affectively in a 90-foot multihull).
"Larry ELLISON [team owner of BMW ORACLE Racing] wants the America's Cup, but he doesn't seem to be prepared to win it through a competitive regatta on the water,"
declared Ernesto BERTARELLI, Alinghi president. "Through his actions he has successfully eliminated 12 entered teams, destroyed plans for a 2009 multi-challenge event in Valencia and through the legal system has guaranteed himself a place in the America's Cup Match, something he has never before achieved on the water. Now Larry ELLISON seeks to win the America's Cup through its legal strategy rather than racing Alinghi on the water. GGYC continues to mislead SNG: it had agreed to suspend the 10-month notice period for the duration of the legal proceedings, however now wants to force us to race in a timeframe that won't allow SNG to prepare its defence or an event that will satisfy Cup enthusiasts."
In contrast to Alinghi, BMW ORACLE Racing has remained relatively tight-lipped since yesterday's meeting. Tom EHMAN, spokesman for the GGYC, said yesterday, "We remain strongly of the view that the rules on the timing of the event are quite clear. The sooner we race the Deed of Gift match the sooner we can all get the America's Cup back on track,"
"We want to move this process forward quickly, and expect to confirm next steps shortly,"
Click here read Alinghi's full release on their court request, their 'timeline of events' and a link to the letter sent to Justice Cahn
Click here to read the Golden Gate Yacht Club's timeline of events