Richard Gladwell our Sail-World New Zealand editor is a happy sailor today. We reprint his latest editorial.
The topsy-turvy world of the America’s Cup did flying forward flip, this morning, landed firmly on its feet, and was greeted with a loud cheer from sailing fans around the world.
The applause came not so much that Golden Gate YC had won their lawsuit, and Societe Nautique de Geneve had lost. But rather, that there had been a decision in the case which has dogged the sailing for the past four months, and had bought the world’s premier sailing event to its knees.
The task required of Justice Herman Cahn was to interpret the 1887 Deed of Gift of the America’s Cup against an agreed set of facts between the Defender and the Pretender as to whether the Challenger of Record, accepted by SNG was legitimate, in terms of compliance with the Deed.
SNG had to satisfy the Court that their chosen Challenger, Club Nautico Espanol de Vela, a self-confessed 'legal adjustment' of the Spanish sailing federation RFEV, complied with two basic requirements of the Deed of Gift.
Justice Cahn found that the 'club' failed on two counts. And, upheld the claim by Golden Gate YC, the Pretender, who now assume the mantle of the Challenger of Record.
After turning down numerous overtures to settle, Societe Nautique de Geneve, America’s Cup Management and Alinghi, are now required to either negotiate a Protocol for the conduct of the 33rd America’s Cup or face a challenge in 90ft multihulls in July 2008.
Golden Gate YC’s BMW Oracle Racing has prevailed in the dispute, and will now become the Challenger of Record for the 33rd America’s Cup. - MCC McCamp Click Here to view large photo
One would now hope that sanity will prevail in the America’s Cup game, and that much of the good work that has been done to date can be continued – with a few snips and tucks. And, that the sailing world can look forward to a match in the new AC90 class in July 2009 as originally planned.
Golden Gate YC, through their team BMW Oracle Racing, have set out their conditions for the revised Protocol – key points of which were as of 17th October:
1. Disclosure of the class rule to ensure that Alinghi had no head start in the design process.
2. All Challenger of Record decisions shall he made by a majority of the Challengers, including Protocol amendments.
3. Two additional Arbitration Panel members shall he appointed by the Challengers.
4. Defender may sail in the Challenger Selection Series but results in these races will not count.
5. Amendment 1 to the Protocol enacted as originally drafted.
6. Regatta Director shall be appointed by mutual consent and ‘with powers according to Section 5 of the AC 32 Protocol. ISAF approval of independent Jury. Umpires and Measurers.
7. GGYC and any other legitimate potential challenger shall be accepted as challengers and become part of this process.
8. AC 33 event to be held in 2009 in Valencia.
9. All teams (Challengers and Defender) to be able to build two boats and use them freely (either two boat testing or sailing against other teams) after January 1. 2009. Before January 1. 2009. teams shall not sail more than one boat at a time.
In simple language these mean a return to mutual consent on the key elements of the Protocol; two boat testing allowed after January 2009; and for the America’s Cup to be staged in 2009 in Valencia – thus lowering the postponement flag hoisted by America’s Cup Management, last Friday morning, New Zealand time.
In this edition we have reaction from Emirates Team New Zealand, including an audio clip from their media conference this afternoon. We expect reaction from Europe on their next business day and will be posting this on Sail-World.com as it comes to hand.
The good news for Kiwi fans is that Emirates Team New Zealand look to be on full song, and are probably the best prepared sailing-wise of any of the teams. The beating of their skipper, by his coach, last weekend in the NZ Match Racing Championships, will put a wry smile on the face of 'Team Tough'.
Emiartes Team NZ have been freed of much of the burden of the litigation on New York, but were heavily involved behind the scenes in trying to reach an out of court decision between the parties.
Regardless of the postponement signaled by ACM last week, the next full America’s Cup must be sailed in 2009, and that event should see a full deck of about ten challengers
Now is a time for cool heads, and the taking of an opportunity to make bygones be bygones, as another chapter in the America’s Cup has closed. Even so, those immortal words of Ernesto Bertarelli, will ring for a long time, as to whether SNG would prevail in the NY Supreme Court: 'It is not possible that we will lose. We have the best lawyers.' Hopefully there will be no more lawyers in the America's Cup. Yeah right!
However all involved must now take the opportunity, if the America’s Cup is to have a great future, that the Trustees Panel must be enshrined in the Deed of Gift to adjudicate on future issues.
Maybe Justice Herman Cahn could be its first, independent chairman.
Thanks too to Richard Gladwell
Rob Kothe & the Sail-World team.