Racing

Legal Headaches

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Am I the only one who gets a headache when I hear the words “America’s Cup” coupled with the word “court”? I highly doubt it, especially given the massive success that was the 32nd Cup, and the resounding flop that has thus far been the experience of the 33rd Cup’s pre-dance ritual.

Today’s head banger is compliments of the Socit Nautique de Genve (SNG) and Alinghi, who proposed yesterday to file an immediate appeal with the New York Appellate Court with the hopes of “accelerating” the legal wrangling that has become the 33rd Cup. For those who are a day or so behind in their Aspirin intake, the point that is being hotly contended in the courtroom is the “when” regarding the 33rd Cup. Since this next match will be a Deed of Gift Match (DGM), the Deed of Gift itself states that the DGM must take place ten months after a decision has been reached to race the next Cup as a DGC. (Confused yet?)

In essence, the trouble stems from the question as to when this ten-month timeframe began. Judge Cahn originally handed down a decision in late November of 2007 stating that the next Cup would be a DGM between the Challenger of Record, the Golden Gate Yacht Club, and the Defender, the Socit Nautique de Genve (SNG), which he upheld in March of 2008 following a previous appeal by the Socit Nautique de Genve, thus starting the countdown. BMW Oracle offered “tolling” rights to Alinghi in front of Justice Cahn following the November decision and the impending appeal, meaning that the ten-month period would not start until Justice Cahn ruled on Alinghi’s appeal. Alinghi passed on this offer, and now, since Justice Cahn upheld his previous decision, time is running out for Alinghi to design, build, and train on the 90-foot by 90-foot catamarans, which will be the class for the next Cup.

Predictably, both the Socit Nautique de Genve (SNG) and the Golden Gate Yacht Club/BMW Oracle Racing’s PR machines have been at it at full force, rifling off press releases arguing their side’s point.

Says SNG and Alinghi: “The intransigency of Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) since the day they filed their law suit has forced SNG to move the case to the next level in the New York legal system. In an attempt to obtain a swift resolution to the current uncertainty, an expedited process is being requested together with a motion to stay the case, this in order to suspend the implementation of Justice Cahn’s previous order until the Appellate Court rules.”

Says BMW Oracle: “The Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) said today that further legal attempts by the defender to delay the next America’s Cup Deed of Gift match are regrettable and the club will be doing everything it can to ensure the event remains on track.”

Hopefully, the legal wrangling will soon give way to good, clean sailing grudge match, as the office supply of Aspirin is running low and should be reserved for combating hangovers, not legal hang-ups.

Posted: April 15, 2008

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