The Inevitable

On Wednesday, March 26, 2008 Tom Ehman and Russell Coutts from BMW Oracle Racing traveled to Geneva to meet with Alinghi’s lead council Lucien Masmejan and Societe Nautique Geneve's (SNG) Vice Commodore Fred Meyer, with the intention of settling some unresolved details regarding the 33rd America’s Cup, including the “when”. The timeline for when the first starting gun will fire in
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on
RM_04_Americas_Cup_WEB2



On Wednesday, March 26, 2008 Tom Ehman and Russell Coutts from BMW Oracle Racing traveled to Geneva to meet with Alinghi’s lead council Lucien Masmejan and Societe Nautique Geneve's (SNG) Vice Commodore Fred Meyer, with the intention of settling some unresolved details regarding the 33rd America’s Cup, including the “when”. The timeline for when the first starting gun will fire in the 33rd America’s Cup has been a point of major contention as of late. In November of 2007 Justice Herman Cahn ruled that the Golden Gate Yacht Club would be the official Challenger of Record; Alinghi contested this point and lost on March 18, 2008 when Justice Cahn upheld his previous decision.

This is where things get sticky. Since the 33rd America’s Cup will likely be a Deed-of-Gift challenge, the “when” is governed by the Deed of Gift, which states that the Cup will be defended ten months after it has been decided that the next Cup shall be a Deed-of-Gift affair. For their part, BMW Oracle Racing contests that they offered Alinghi “tolling” rights, meaning that the 10-month countdown would not start until Justice Cahn had finished deliberating on Alinghi’s appeal; furthermore, they claim that they made this offer in front of Justice Cahn, and that Alinghi turned down their offer.

Alinghi took an initial hard stance following Justice Cahn’s March 18 ruling, declaring that it’s time to take the Cup wrangling out of the courtroom and settle things on the water. The trouble, however, is that BMW Oracle is calling for an October 2008 starting gun to fire. Alinghi claims that this does not give them enough time to design, build, and train on the 90-foot by 90-foot trimarans, which will be the boats used for the 33rd defense. As a result, Alinghi has requested the same tolling rights which they had previously turned down; BMW Oracle Racing claims that they are under no obligation to grant this extra time allowance, and wishes to move forward with an October starting gun.

Yesterday, Cup fans started to see the first inclinations that Alinghi would take this matter back to Justice Cahn to settle when, in yesterday’s press releases, Alinghi’s Lucien Masmejan notably started back pedaling away from the “on-the-water settlement” concept by dropping this bomb:

"We remain committed to trying to move the fight from the court room back to the water but the actions of GGYC are making this extremely difficult to achieve. GGYC has successfully guaranteed itself entry via the Courts to the America’s Cup Match for the first time, despite its strong statements that its legal action was for the benefit of all Challengers. We will use all avenues open to us to ensure that they are forced to compete in a competitive race in the spirit and tradition of the America’s Cup.”

Less than twelve hours later Ernesto Bertarelli, Alinghi’s president, issued a press release saying:

“Larry Ellison wants the America’s Cup, but he doesn’t seem to be prepared to win it through a competitive regatta on the water. 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 time frame that won’t allow SNG to prepare its defense or an event that will satisfy Cup enthusiasts.”

The press release went on to state, this time quoting Lucien Masmejan, “SNG has repeatedly stated that it wants the competition back on the water and out of the courts; however the GGYC’s consistent rejection of a competitive and sporting match in 2009 has given the Defender no alternative but to return to Justice Cahn.”

For Cup enthusiasts, this is an expected-yet-disappointing turn of events. Many fans thought that the court-room shenanigans had ended and that soon the Cup would return to the water, if only in a shadow-form, which falls far short of the spectacular racing that was enjoyed in 2007.

For more information regarding this situation, check out: www.sailmagazine.com/racing/0308unbending, or log onto Kimball Livingston’s blog at www.sailmagazine.blogspot.com

Posted: March 27, 2008

Related

Pestilence

Sailor-Punk and the State of Cruising

Back when I was a young man, sailing back and forth across the North Atlantic in an old fiberglass sailboat, it seemed fairly obvious to me how all that was wrong in the world might be set right. Everyone should be issued a boat at birth! Or so I declared to any who would listen ...read more

promoOnTheHorizon600x

Cats On The Horizon

Dragonfly 32 Evolution Denmark’s Quorning Boats has been systematically upgrading its line of folding, performance-cruiser trimarans in recent years as part of a long-term effort to incorporate the latest developments in yacht design, with the latest to receive this treatment ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com The double range  Every skipper knows about ranging two objects in line to keep the boat on track in a cross-current. What’s less obvious is monitoring both sides of a gap such as a harbor entrance. ...read more

FamilyCruise

Bareboating on Puget Sound

Depending on where you are, Puget Sound can look no bigger than a mountainous version of the Intracoastal Waterway. That’s what I thought when I first laid eyes on it from the lighthouse at Mukilteo Park on a sunny day last July. Then I went to the top of the iconic Space Needle ...read more

Bali4point1

Boat Review: Bali 4.1

Coming fast on the heels of its predecessor, the Bali 4.0, the Bali 4.1 adds a number of improvements, many of them inspired by feedback from owners and charterers. She’s an evolution of a concept that has already proven popular and very many benefits from its builder’s ...read more

Headsail

Ask Sail: Silencing A Rattling Headsail

Q: Our Pearson 26 has a 110-percent jib that tends to rattle very noisily at the top hank. We only bought the old boat recently, but it must have been happening for a long time, since there’s a deep groove worn inside that bronze hank. The jib has an unusually large and wide ...read more

Alerion2048x

Alerion Yachts 33, the 90 Minute Get Away

Easy to sail, luxurious, and swift; the Alerion 33 is the solution to your busy life. The intuitive, simple rig design, easy set-up, and put-away mean there’s no need to wait for crew to enjoy a weekend, a day, or an hour out sailing. Her beauty and comfort are evident in the ...read more