Ras Al Khamaih out, Valencia in. Matthew Sheahan reports on the latest announcement and looks ahead to the next AC hurdles

Today the New York Supreme Court confirmed that the original ruling  on October 30th that Ras al Khaimah did not comply with the Deed of Gift, a decision was correct and was upheld by the Appellate Division in a unanimous verdict.

The news that Alinghi and the SNG’s appeal has been unsuccessful will  not come as much surprise to those who’ve followed recent events closely. During the last few weeks, even Alinghi appeared to have all but given up hope that the venue in the UAE would host the next America’s Cup.

The Court also turned down SNG’s second attempt to have rudders included in the crucial LWL measurement calculation. This is particularly important for BMW Oracle who would have struggled to make their boat measure had the waterline length be calculated by this method.

“This is a big stride forward,” commented Tom Ehman, Golden Gate Yacht Club spokesperson. “In place of doubt and delay, the sailing world wants certainty. It wants to see this contest to go-ahead soon and be contested under fair rules.”

“With the International Sailing Federation re-drafting the previously unbalanced and unfair agreement it struck with Société Nautique de Geneve, and discussions continuing to normalize the Notice of Race, the common-sense approach to the remaining issues in this America’s Cup is prevailing,” added Ehman.

Unsurprisingly Alinghi and its yacht club the SNG didn’t see things in quite such a positive light.

“Once again BMW Oracle’s strategy to try to win the America’s Cup in court instead of on the water has been successful. For the first time in the history of the America’s Cup the Defender has been stripped of its fundamental right to select the venue,” said Fred Meyer, SNG vice-commodore.

“Société Nautique de Genève accepts this decision and Alinghi is looking forward to racing for the America’s Cup on the water in Valencia, Spain, in February 2010.”

So, with the date set and the venue confirmed it might appear that the path is now clear for the 33rd America’s Cup. While the latest news is certainly a step forward, there are still some serious outstanding issues namely, the agreement between ISAF and the SNG which we understand has stalled after a difference of opinion over several clauses, plus the issue of the notice of race and sailing instructions.

Expect more fireworks, but for the time being start planning a trip to Valencia in February.