New York Yacht Club backs Oracle in dispute with Alinghi

January 3, 2009 at 2:07 am 1 comment

The prestigious New York Yacht Club, which held the America’s Cup for 132 years, has backed US team Oracle in its legal dispute with Swiss champion Alinghi over the rules for the next edition of the event.

The club filed a brief with the New York appeals court supporting Oracle’s contention that Alinghi had chosen an ineligible club, Spain’s CNEV, to be its official “challenger of record,” which gives it the right to help set the rules for the next race along with the title holder.

NNYC’s move could influence the court, which is to make a final ruling in the case in late March, experts said.

A legal victory for Oracle could force Alinghi to take part in a multihull duel against its American foe as a “default option” under the Deed of Gift, the 19th century rules that govern the oldest continuously held competition in international sport.

Both teams say they want to avoid the face-off and hold a traditional regatta in the Spanish port of Valencia in 2010. But they have been unable to agree on a compromise deal.

The NNYC has previously sought to remain neutral in the dispute as, at Alinghi’s request, it mediated between the two sides.

But in its “amicus curiae” legal brief, it said Alinghi’s choice of CNEV, “a mere shell of a yacht club”, as its “challenger of record” gave the champion an unfair advantage over the other challengers.

“Perhaps most alarmingly,” it allows Alinghi “to unilaterally determine the essential rules of the event, announce them to the other participants only 60 days beforehand, and change them at any time without consultation with the other participants.”

In a letter to its members, the club said it “has no personal interest or stake in the outcome of the litigation…

“Our interest stems solely from the long involvement with the America’s Cup and a desire to have the competition remain faithful to the Deed of Gift,” said the letter, a copy of which was received by AFP on Friday.

Alinghi, which won the last edition of the America’s Cup in Valencia in 2007, has said that several of the 18 registered challengers for the 33rd edition of the cup had also filed “amicus curiae” briefs with the court in support of its position.

But none has the influence or reputation of the NNYC, which was founded in 1844 and held the America’s Cup trophy from 1851 to 1983.

A New York judge initially ruled in Oracle’s favour in the case in November 2007.

Alinghi successfully appealed that decision, and Oracle then filed their own appeal.


Entry filed under: Get Wet, Maritime.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. yachts for sale  |  January 3, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    The rules are a lot more complicated than one would think.


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