But is this good or bad news for Alinghi?

News of the five man ISAF appointed jury provides another welcome step in the painstaking progress towards the 33rd America’s Cup. Three members of the new Jury formed the expert panel to help the New York Court resolve some of the technical issues that have been potential stumbling blocks for the event recently. A positive move by the court that has been taken as a subtle indication by many that there will be an effective means of settling complex technical issues without the need to resort to further long hearings in oak panelled rooms.

I addition and to meet the ISAF requirements for the event, all five have considerable experience with previous America’s Cups.

But the news could be more than an administrative announcement as it raises the issue as to whether Alinghi and the SNG have been forced to concede another potential advantage.

The formal announcement of the AC Jury (as below) came on Friday (4 Dec) stating that, ‘The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) today announced the ISAF approval for the appointment of the International Jury for the 33rd America’s Cup.’

Set against the letter of agreement between SNG and ISAF that was made public in the Autumn, the question now is whether the Jury can act independently, or whether it is still ultimately answerable to SNG.

According to the details of the agreement;

‘ISAF shall advise SNG of its nominations of the Jury and Umpires and SNG shall confirm whether or not in its opinion such nominee meets the appointment criteria set out in this agreement.’

And that;

‘SNG and/or ACM may, exclusively and at its own discretion, select and appoint any other race officials as it considers necessary or appropriate to organize or conduct the competition. ISAF shall not intervene in the appointment of these other race officials.’

Taken at face value, the agreement appears to provide SNG with the final say, yet the wording of the press release on Friday suggests that this may no longer be the case.

The five man Jury is as follows:

David Tillett (Australia) Chairman:
A lawyer in Australia, David has been an International Judge for 20 years and is the current Chairman of the ISAF Racing Rules Committee. He has been a juror at the 31st and 32nd America’s Cup’s as well as an Umpire at the 28th and 29th America’s Cups. He has also been a Jury Member at four Olympic Games,two members shall be experienced in
and Chairman in 2004 and 2008.

John Doerr (Great Britain):
An Arbitrator specialising in the engineering field. John has been an
International Judge since 1987 and an International Umpire since 1980. A past Chairman of the ISAF Race Officials Committee. He was a Jury member and Chief Umpire for the 29th America’s Cup and a Jury Member and Chief Umpire at the last four Olympic Games.

Josje Hofland (The Netherlands):
Josje has a Doctorate in English Literature and Linguistics. An International Judge since 1992 and an International Umpire between 1992 and 2000. A past Chairman of various ISAF Race Officials Committees and a member of the Racing Rules Committee between 1995 and 2008. She was a Jury member in the 29th America’s Cup and filled the role of Chief Umpire in the Challenger Finals and Deputy Chief Umpire in the America’s Cup match. Josje has also been a member
of the Jury in three Olympic Games.

Graham McKenzie (New Zealand):
A distinguished Barrister at Law and a solicitor in New Zealand. Graham is a competing sailor in keelboats. A member of the ISAF Constitution Committee. He was a Jury member for the 32nd America’s Cup.

Bryan Willis (Great Britain):
An Arbitration specialist and a Magistrate in the lower criminal court in
Great Britain. Bryan has been an International judge since 1976 and an
International Umpire between 1980 and 2004. He was an integral member of the ISAF Racing Rules Committee for 20 years between 1980 and 2000. Bryan was a Jury member and Chief Umpire in the 28th America’s Cup, Chairman of the Jury and Chief Umpire in the 30th and 31st America’s Cup and Chairman of the Jury and Arbitration Panel for the 32nd America’s Cup. Jury Chairman of the 2000
Olympic Games and Jury Chairman for the last three Volvo Ocean Races.