New York appeals court declares Spanish club the America's Cup challenger

A New York appeals court declared yesterday (29 July) that a Spanish, not American, yacht club is the challenger of record for the next America’s Cup.

The state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division ruled 3-2 that Club Nautico Espanol de Vela (CNEV) should be the challenger of record, giving it the right to negotiate terms of the next competition with the current Cup holder, Alinghi of Switzerland. The decision reversed a lower-court ruling that made the Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) of San Francisco the challenger.

The appeals court also gave CNEV 10 months to prepare for the regatta, starting when it receives a copy of the appellate ruling.

Although Golden Gate Yacht Club can appeal, yesterday’s ruling apparently means the next America’s Cup will be contested in a traditional multi-challenger format.
GGYC backs BMW Oracle Racing, owned by Larry Ellison. BMW Oracle Racing and Alinghi have been training for an expected one-on-one showdown in 90-foot multihull boats, the result of a lower-court ruling that GGYC was the challenger of record.

Ernesto Bertarelli, Alinghi president, commented: “We are delighted with this result; we can now continue with our vision of a multi-challenger event. The court’s decision validates our actions and enables us to put the America’s Cup back on the water.”

Lucien Masmejan, SNG lead counsel, added: “After a year of litigation interference by the GGYC, we are extremely pleased that the Appellate Division has found its challenges to SNG’s conduct of the 33rd America’s Cup baseless. The GGYC’s actions have wasted a lot of time, effort and resources over the past year and we hope that it does not appeal. We must now evaluate whether adjustments have to be made due to the time consumed by its improper litigation initiatives.”

The GGYC said it will carefully consider the implications of today’s ruling by the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court before deciding on its next step. “We are surprised and disappointed by this ruling. We will now be taking legal advice and considering the next step,” Tom Ehman, the club’s spokesman, said.

For the complete text of the decision, click here .