The Golden Gate Yacht Club responds to the public airing of the new America's Cup class rule. Matthew Sheahan reports

First came the new class rule, a document which initially at least, was going to be revealed to the public. But that was before the argument between Alinghi and Oracle, (or to be technically correct, the two yacht clubs represented by each team the SNG and the GGYC), went legal. Then, all talk on the specific details as to what the boat would look like was only available to those Challengers who had signed up for the 33rd America’s Cup.

One of Oracle’s big concerns was that Alinghi had already considered what type of boat it wanted to race the next America’s Cup in and was already well down the path of development. This was considered to be an unfair advantage, hence the request for the details to be made public. Until Oracle knew what the boat was and whether this area of the pitch was level, it said it couldn’t consider entering the next event.

Alinghi denied that the rule had already been decided, appointed ex-Kiwi design guru Tom Schnackenburg to oversee the development of the new rule, (albeit claiming he was independent but then saying they would hire him afterwards), and invited all the Challengers to come to the table to discuss what they would like to see as the new replacement boat. Today, the 47 page document outlining the new boat was revealed and made available to the public along with a press release from the Cup organisers ACM reinforcing the point that the Challengers had had a decent say in creating the rule.

The cat was out of the bag and the ball back in the Golden Gate Yacht Club’s court. It’s response came this afternoon, (1 Nov 2007) and read as follows:

The Golden Gate Yacht Club said today that having always called for the design rule to be fair it hoped the rule posted by Alinghi yesterday would remove concern about the defender having an entrenched unfair advantage.

“The concern has always been about the defender having several months lead-time ahead of challengers to design and build a new boat, without anyone else knowing what the design rules were,” Tom Ehman, the club’s spokesman, said.

“Alinghi agreed that they would significantly change the original rule to address this problem. We hope this will be reflected in what was published yesterday.

“This will be easy to determine once we compare yesterday’s document with what they started out with and we continue to ask Alinghi to provide this.”

“When our designers can verify that we are all starting from the same point we hope to see all other issues resolved quickly as agreed recently with the challengers.”

The American team has told challengers it is ready to agree to wide-ranging new compromise proposals on remaining protocol issues as covered in meetings last week once it can confirm for itself that the design rule developed by Alinghi is fair for all competitors. – ENDS

A statement which when read with the optimistic specs on should surely provide hope that a settlement be reached before Judge Cahn provides a reason for one side to feel hard done by with a verdict. The threat of an appeal by either side could delay the entire process by more than a year and throw a big spanner in the works.

Meanwhile, it’s not just news of the boats that has been eagerly awaited, news of the event, how it will be run, the courses the schedule of races and many of the other details that will set out how the 33rd America’s Cup will be played are expected soon.

As expected, this is a big week for the Cup.