BMW Oracle wins its case as NY Court rules that Cup match cannot take place in the UAE

The New York Supreme Court has today ruled that the 33rd America’s Cup must take place either in Valencia or in the Southern Hemisphere if it is to happen in February 2010.

The ruling is a major success for the Challenger of Record, BMW Oracle Racing and the Golden Gate Yacht Club who have maintained that plans by Alinghi and the Societe Nautique Geneve (SNG) to hold the event in the United Arab Emirates was in breach of the Deed of Gift. Today the American team’s view was upheld by the New York Court.

“This is a disappointing result as we were certain that Justice Cahn’s May 2008 decision allowed the Defender to chose Valencia or ‘any other location’,” said Lucien Masmejan, Société Nautique de Genève (SNG) legal counsel.

The decision will be a major blow for Alinghi who have recently set up base in Ras Al Khaimar and who have maintained that their interpretation of an earlier court ruling gave them the mandate to take the event to any location of their choosing.

The ruling brings into question whether the 33rd America’s Cup can even take place in February 2010 given the logistics of mounting an event at such short notice. On the other hand, the 33rd America’s Cup will be a Deed of Gift event in which just two boats race in a best of three series no doubt leading some to question how much infrastructure is required for so little racing.

For BMW Oracle and the GGYC, today’s ruling was a major victory.

‘We’re pleased with the court’s decision today that Alinghi’s choice of the venue for the 33rd America’s Cup was not allowed under the Deed of Gift,’ read a statement from the GGYC’s spokesperson Tom Ehman.

‘We look forward to Justice Kornreich’s decision later this week regarding two additional issues.

‘First, we hope she will agree with our position that Alinghi cannot add
additional ballast, equipment or sailors to the boat after it has been measured for compliance with the Deed of Gift’s restriction on length along the load water line. Enabling any team to add additional weight after measurement – thus lengthening its load water line and increasing its speed – violates the Deed of Gift, decades of sailing practice, and the spirit of the rules that govern the America’s Cup.

‘Second, Justice Kornreich understands the need for a fair and impartial jury.

‘Our position is that the sailing jury must have the normal powers to adjudicate.

‘We remain motivated to negotiate all remaining issues with Alinghi to ensure a fair, competitive and successful America’s Cup in February 2010. We took a big step towards this goal today.’