33rd Americas Cup far from resolved as BWM oracle want to race in October 2008 22/3/08
Since the New York Supreme Court’s order confirming the validity of Golden Gate Yacht Club’s (GGYC) challenge for the 33rd America’s Cup, proposals have been issued by both sides, but neither can agree on a date for the match race.
“You have to ask Alinghi how they came up with July 2009,” Tom Ehman, the BMW Oracle spokesman, said. “The Deed of Gift says that the Challenger chooses the date and must give ten months’ Notice of Challenge. So we challenged last July. We gave them not ten months, we gave them 12 months’ notice and chose dates in July 2008.
“In December, after Justice Cahn’s ruling, we agreed with their attorneys then – they have since been excused by Alinghi – that we would race in October . So we gave them another 11 months’ notice from Justice Cahn’s decision and a total of 16 months’ notice [from the original challenge], and now they want two years’ notice. As far as we are concerned it is in October, we won’t go back now. Even though Justice Cahn makes it quite clear that the match could be in July , we stand by our agreement.”
Following the letter sent by the GGYC representatives in response to Société Nautique de Genève’s (SNG) proposal, Lucien Masmejan, lead counsel for the defending yacht club, expressed:
‘We regret the tone and the content of the response from BMW Oracle Racing to our proposal. It looks as if they plan to stick to their destructive strategy that has been successful so far, eliminating all Challengers and qualifying in court directly to the America’s Cup Match, thus putting hundreds of people in the sailing community out of business. Now they want to use the same plan to beat the Defender without fighting a fair duel on the water. We communicated to them that to have a fair and high-quality race the event must take place in 2009. It is simply impossible for us to construct a boat to defend the Cup in a seven-month time frame as GGYC currently proposes.
Moreover, 2009 is the right date after the 10-month notice period demanded by the Deed of Gift to allow the Defender time to prepare their defence, which resumes only after Justice Cahn’s final order was entered on March 19 2008. The parties agreed months ago that the 10-month notice period would be tolled during the pendency of this litigation up through entry of a final order or judgment and expiration of the time for appeal. But as they did previously, GGYC keeps changing the frame of the discussion to try to obtain the Cup by any means and at any price. Are they afraid of meeting Alinghi on the water?
Both SNG and GGYC have repeatedly stated in public that, should they win the 33rd America’s Cup, the 34th edition will be sailed in 2011. Thus, it makes no difference to GGYC and, more important, has no impact in the America’s Cup community whether the race is held in October 2008 or July 2009, unless GGYC does not believe that it can win if SNG is given adequate opportunity to prepare for the match.
However, the SNG and Alinghi remain committed to trying to find a compromise with BMW Oracle Racing and therefore we proposed a meeting next week to try to find a solution that moves the America’s Cup fight back on the water and not in court.”
A letter proposing the meeting on March 27th to further discuss the matter has been sent today to the GGYC representatives by the SNG. The text of the letter is as follows:
We are pleased that you have accepted our invitation to work together to try to resolve the current dispute without prolonged court litigation and welcome you to meet with us next Thursday, 27 March, at 11:00am, at the SNG in Geneva, Switzerland.
We are, however, extremely disappointed that GGYC at the same time persists in its habitual tactic of advancing legal argumentation rather than settling this matter on the water as SNG clearly has explained we would like to do. It is GGYC who started this legal battle in which GGYC sought to – and has succeeded in- preventing the multi-challenger regatta that had been arranged for July 2009 from going forward. It is GGYC who has thus put hundreds of people in the sailing community out of business indefinitely.
It is GGYC who, having never been able to earn the right on the water to compete against the Cup holder for the America’s Cup, has sought to -and succeeded in- foisting its way into a match for the Cup through litigation in New York state court, to the exclusion of a dozen other competitors.
Regretfully, GGYC is now seeking to launch a new legal front, maneuvering within the legal system to prevent the 33rd Cup from being a competitive event by depriving SNG of a reasonable opportunity to prepare its defence. The fairness of the competition requires that this race be held in 2009. As you know, it is simply impossible for us to construct a boat to defend the Cup in a seven-month time frame as GGYC currently proposes. Both SNG and GGYC have repeatedly stated in public that, should they win the 33rd America’s Cup, the 34th edition will be sailed in 2011.
Thus, it makes no difference to GGYC whether the race is held in October 2008 or July 2009 -unless, that is, GGYC does not believe that it can win if SNG is given adequate opportunity to prepare for the match.
The parties agreed months ago before Justice Cahn that the 10-month notice period would be tolled during the pendency of this litigation up through entry of a final order or judgment and expiration of the time for appeal. Justice Cahn’s final order was entered just two days ago, so the ten-month time period does not expire until 2009. We are disappointed that GGYC is backtracking on this agreement and launching a new legal campaign seeking to undo what GGYC previously agreed to. Why not simply meet us on the water and settle this there?
Head of America’s Cup Committee
Société Nautique de Genève