Alinghi's General Counsel Hamish Ross sets out the prospects for the next America's Cup. Matthew Sheahan reports

Last Friday’s deadline set by Alinghi to establish whether BMW Oracle were prepared to enter the next America’s Cup came and went with no comment from the American team or the Golden Gate Yacht Club that represents this campaign. Now, both sides wait for the Judge Cahn of the New York Supreme Court to rule on the validity of the Spanish Challenge’s representing yacht club, a decision that could dramatically change the manner of the 33rd America’s Cup.

As the Cup world waits for the verdict, rumour and speculation is growing as to what will happen next and how the schedule for the next event might be affected.

According to Alinghi’s General Counsel Hamish Ross, speaking to PJ Montgomery(podcast available here), the next America’s Cup could be pushed back to 2011 if the judge was to rule against the Swiss.

“We may win and then we expect that Oracle would appeal that decision which places the whole question into a period of uncertainty for a further one or two years,” he said.

“If we lose, well of course it’s all over unless we appeal. We have no intention of appealing and the latest we have is that it would be our intention to meet their challenge. They have challenged in a 90x 90ft catamaran and we would meet that challenge in an appropriate vessel, in appropriate waters.”

During his interview, Ross goes on to discuss the team’s current thinking on the planning of the next event, emphasising the effect that the football world cup in 2010 may have with the scheduling of the next America’s Cup.

Yet while his comments confirm that a delay is likely, what happens if BMW Oracle doesn’t appeal? The American team has never stated whether it would indeed appeal if it were to lose its case. How soon might the next Cup be if Oracle wins? And what might an appropriate vessel look like?

The Cup as we know it might go on hold until 2011, but there could be plenty more drama to come if the two big teams need to do battle in giant multihulls next year.

In the meantime, the expectation that a ruling might happen on Monday 19 November, being four weeks after the hearing, proved fruitless. Looking ahead, the long Thanksgiving weekend in the USA means that the courts are closed from Thursday 22 Nov until the following Monday and fuelled speculation as to whether a judgement will be made in the next two days as the court clears its desk before the break.

Everything it would seem is on hold. Except, that is, if you’re an Italian Challenger. The latest news just in is that Mascalzone Latino has announced it’s challenge for the 33rd America’s Cup through the Reale Yacht Club Canottieri Savoia.

Strange timing, but welcome news no doubt for Alinghi who may have started to wonder during the last few days as to whether support from some of the existing challengers was on the wane.

Listen to Hamish Ross talking to PJ Montgomery