The America’s Cup is the oldest active trophy that is still competed for in international sport. Valencia 2007 saw the commercialisation of the event and the America’s Cup became a truly global event with 11-teams fighting it out in a truly memorable competition. Sadly the event has been dragged through the law courts in the USA with the result that the challenge has gone from a multi-nation challenge series to just one week of racing between the Swiss holders and the American challengers.
Which brings us right up to date and with it, good news and bad news about the America’s Cup challenge for 2010 as the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court has upheld Justice Kornreich’s decision that disqualified the America’s Cup Defender Société Nautique de Genève’s choice of Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates as venue for the 33rd America’s Cup.
In the Swiss corner, Fred Meyer, SNG vice-commodore said “Once again BMW Oracle’s strategy to try to win the America’s Cup in court instead of on the water has been successful. For the first time in the history of the America’s Cup the Defender has been stripped of its fundamental right to select the venue. Société Nautique de Genève accepts this decision and Alinghi is looking forward to racing for the America’s Cup on the water in Valencia, Spain, in February 2010.”
In the red, white and blue corner, Tom Ehman, Golden Gate Yacht Club Spokesperson said on their website of the choice of venue “This is a big stride forward, In place of doubt and delay, the sailing world wants certainty. It wants to see this contest to go-ahead soon and be contested under fair rules.”
The New York Supreme Court ruled on October 30th that Ras al Khaimah did not comply with the Deed of Gift, a decision upheld by the Appellate Division in a unanimous verdict. The Court also turned down SNG’s second attempt to have rudders included in the crucial Load Water-Line measurement calculation. This has never occurred in the 32 previous America’s Cup matches and won’t happen in the 33rd.
“With the International Sailing Federation re-drafting the previously unbalanced and unfair agreement it struck with Société Nautique de Geneve, and discussions continuing to normalize the Notice of Race, the common-sense approach to the remaining issues in this America’s Cup is prevailing,” added Ehman.
The good news is that from early January one shall be able to visit Valencia and watch the teams in training awaiting a week of racing in February. The bad news is much more profound as instead of Valencia now being the number one choice for a fully fledged, month long challenge series between multiple nations, including the British, Ras Al Khaimah is now more likely to be Alinghi’s choice of venue for the 34th America’s Cup, should they defeat BMW Oracle.
Both teams are now setting up base in Valencia and the Valencian Government are putting on a happy face saying how much the economy shall benefit by the week’s racing in February. Sadly, there seem to be more losers than winners; the majority of the world’s best yachtsmen, designers and enthusiasts have been excluded from the racing, the tourist trade will only receive a small portion of what could have been expected from a racing series and Valencia will probably not ever feature again as an
America’s Cup port.