NY court rules out UAE as America's Cup venue

28th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

The New York Supreme Court ruled that the next edition of the America's Cup cannot take place in the UAE as planned.

Madrid – The New York Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the next edition of the America's Cup cannot take place in the UAE as planned by Alinghi according to the rules that govern the sailing regatta, the Swiss defender said.

"The New York Supreme Court today ruled that the 33rd America's Cup, scheduled in February 2010, must take place in a venue in the Southern Hemisphere as per the strict reading of the competition's governing document, the Deed of Gift, or in Valencia, Spain, as the only exception to that rule," Alinghi said in a statement.

In a surprise move, Alinghi in August announced that it had selected the Gulf emirate of Ras al-Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates as the site for its February duel in multihull boats against US challenger Oracle to decide the 33rd edition of sailing's premier competition.

Oracle filed suit over Alinghi's choice of the site, arguing the venue is unsafe due to its proximity to Iran as well as being a violation of the rules.

It has called for the race be held in the Spanish Mediterranean port of Valencia, where the last America's Cup, won by Alinghi, took place in 2007.

"We are very pleased with the decision. It means the 33rd edition will take place in Valencia in February. It's just fine. There is no problem in sailing at that date in Valencia," Oracle spokesman Tom Ehman told AFP.

"It's the only place they can choose althout we are ready to sit down with them to discuss. Today's decision proves again their reckless disregard for the 'Deed of Gift' and that they were wrong in choosing Ras al-Khaimah," he added.

Justice Shirley Kornreich based her decision on a stipulation in the "Deed of Gift", the 19th century rules that govern the oldest competition in international sport, that say that the race cannot be held in the northern hemisphere between 1 November and 1 May.

Alinghi had argued that the New York court had authorised a venue in either hemisphere, and that the team had submitted affidavits from experts on how the race could be safely held.

"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'," the Swiss team's lead counsel, Lucien Masmejan, said in the statement.

"Ras Al Khaimah has put enormous time and effort into this 33rd America's Cup project. We thank them and feel sorry for this unexpected result out of the New York court," he added.

The Swiss side has already brought its giant catamaran to Ras al-Khaimah, while the US side's crew is training on its trimaran in San Diego, California.

Alinghi and Oracle, owned respectively by Swiss biotech billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli and American computer billionaire Larry Ellison, have been engaged in a two-year legal battle over the Cup which looks set to continue.

Oracle intends to press ahead with its legal bid to remove Alinghi as trustee of the event, Ehman said.

Earlier Tuesday the Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC), which represents Oracle, said it has asked the New York Supreme Court to replace the Swiss syndicate with a "faithful, fit and proper substitute to oversee the next match to be sailed in 2010, starting February 8."

It accused Alinghi of abusing their position by making "secret commercial deals."

In a statement, the US side said it hoped that the court would later this week rule that Alinghi cannot add additional ballast, equipment or sailors to its boat after it has been measured for compliance with the Deed of Gift’s restriction on length along the load water line, a move that would increase its speed.

Under a ruling by a New York court in April, the 33rd America's Cup was scheduled to be settled in a three-leg duel in February instead of the traditional fully-fledged regatta involving several teams.

AFP / Expatica

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