Rumours have been circulating that Team Alinghi has uncovered an anomaly in the America’s Cup Rules, we reveal the truth...

A rumour has been going round Auckland for a while and the Team Alinghi syndicate and the organisers have decided that the time has come to answer officially:

“Team Alinghi has indeed discovered an anomaly in the America’s Cup Rules, an anomaly which might enable one competitor to win all of the races with a strong lead over its fellow competitors.

The America’s Cup qualifying races and the America’s Cup itself, are raced on International America’s Cup Class boats. These yachts are designed to comply with extremely precise standards – the America’s Cup Class Rules, version 4.0, dated 19th October 2000. The aim of these rules, which apply to all competitors, is to guarantee a fair competition, based on rules which are identical for all.

However, historically, these rules are subservient to the Deed of Gift, in the same way as a country’s Constitution prevails over its Highway Code. The Deed of Gift is the deed which founded the America’s Cup and it dates back to 27th October 1887.

This winter, (summer in New Zealand), Hamish Ross, a member of Team Alinghi and a great specialist of the America’s Cup Rules (he’s currently in the process of writing a book about the Deed of Gift) noticed that the Deed bore the following paragraph: “Centre-board or sliding keel vessels shall always be allowed to compete in any race for this Cup, and no restriction or limitation whatever shall be placed upon the use of such centre-board or sliding keel, nor shall the centre-board or sliding keel be considered part of the vessel for any purposes of measurement.” As a result, Team Alinghi found itself faced with a dilemma – whether to build a yacht which is different from all the others, a boat with much greater performance capabilities but which does not respect the spirit of the competition, or to ask the America’s Cup Arbitration Panel to make a clear ruling on the matter, determining whether the Deed of Gift or the Class Rules prevail. The second solution was chosen easily by the members of Team Alinghi who are determined to race the competition according to rules which are identical for all those taking part.”

The Panel’s ruling is awaited by all of the Challengers as well as the Defender of the next America’s Cup. We’ll keep you informed as we when we receive news…