Please select your home edition
Edition
Official-Team-Gear-Red 728x90 TOP

America's Cup: Malta Altus Challenge smiling after big win

by Richard Gladwell Sail-World NZ 6 Feb 2019 21:18 PST 7 February 2019
Royal Malta Yacht Club is represented by the Malta Altus Challenge in the 36th America's Cup © Rolex / Kurt Arrigo

The Arbitration Panel for the 36th America's Cup has just released their first Decision of the 36th America's Cup.

It is a big win for the Malta Altus Challenge, and indeed any team looking to bypass the "100% nationality" rule that applied for the 2021 America's Cup.

On December 6, 2018, less than a week after their Challenge was accepted by America's Cup Defender the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, the Malta-based Challenger, lodged a request with the three-person Arbitration Panel seeking a definition of the term "nationality" as used in the Protocol for the 36th America's Cup.

This was the first decision for the Arbitration Panel, headed by Australian David Tillett, Graham McKenzie (NZL) and Prof Henry Peter (SUI).

Under the tight nationality rules for the 36th America's Cup, all sailing crew are required to be nationals of the country of the Club their Team represents.

The Protocol provides two ways that will satisfy this requirement.

Article 10.2(a) says it will be satisfied "if the person is a national of that country".

A second way is if the person lives in the country of the Club their Team represents for a total of 380 days from September 1, 2018, to August 31, 2020; or if they are Late Challengers, the 380 days runs from December 1, 2018, to November 30, 2020.

The term "national" in the context of Article 10.2(a) is not defined in the Protocol. And could be construed to mean that someone who was a passport holder of their Team's country would satisfy that national requirement.

Malta Altus Challenge engaged Dr Hamish Ross, a former legal and rules adviser to the Swiss Alinghi team, twice winners of the America's Cup. Ross is domiciled in New Zealand and is also serving as the team's Strategic Director - handling base and similar team issues required in Auckland. His PhD is in the America's Cup.

The Malta Altus Challenge used as a test case a "Sailor A", believed to be one of the professional sailors sought to be engaged by the team, but one who was not a Maltese citizen - and for various reasons would have struggled to reside for 380 days in the historic Mediterranean island state.

The term "national" was not defined in the Protocol, and the Protocol provides for the Arbitration Panel can to then apply a dictionary meaning of the term in making its Decision.

Two teams, the American Magic (New York Yacht Club) and Ineos Team UK (Royal Yacht Squadron) filed Responses to the Arbitration Panel. They are believed to have held different views but did not disagree with the interpretation conclusions of the Arbitration panel.

Two weeks later, in its Decision, the Arbitration Panel ruled that "If Sailor A becomes a citizen of Malta and receives a passport of that country at any time before the commencement of racing in the Challenger Selection Series, that will satisfy Article 10.2(a) of the Protocol."

That Decision clears the way for Malta Altus Challenge to engage a multi-national team, and bring those sailors into the team at any time before the start of the Prada Cup, the Challenger Selection Series for the 36th America's Cup, provided they have been issued with a Maltese passport. It means that Malta can cherry pick a multinational America's Cup crew from the best sailors available, including those who are committed to sailing in the SailGP series for countries like Australia, which do not have a Challenger in the 36th America's Cup.

They are believed to be in a position to engage several key sailors from Artemis Racing team (SWE), who came within an ace of winning the Challenger Selection Series in Bermuda - and statistically had more leg wins than Emirates Team New Zealand in the Louis Vuitton Trophy final. They also had two wins in the America's Cup Qualifier Series in their Match with Oracle Team USA.

While the principle of the Arbitration Panel's Decision is expected to apply to any team, they probably still have to make a specific application to the Arbitration Panel and state their case to be completely assured of the legality of their actions.

The other six teams are expected to continue to hire all-national sailing teams engaging people who are citizens of the country of the Team.

Malta Altus Challenge does have to pay the costs of the Decision, put at NZD$8,000 - however in the grand scheme of the 36th America's Cup that is a small investment for a very significant gain for the Maltese team.

Related Articles

America's Cup: Far-off dream but a great challenge
'We will come through this and we will all be stronger for it' - Ben Ainslie “We will come through this and we will all be stronger for it. At times like these we all need a light at the end of the tunnel and, for us, that's the America's Cup.” Posted on 31 Mar
Kiwi lockdown hits America's Cup construction
The 28 day lockdown in NZ has shutdown America's Cup base and venue construction The 28 day Lockdown ordered by the Coalition Government to eradicate the coronavirus has triggered a shutdown of America's Cup base and venue construction. Posted on 24 Mar
America's Cup: Arb Panel confirms ACWS Sardina off
Arb Panel decides first America's Cup World Series event "objectively impossible to hold" The Arbitration Panel for the 36th America's Cup has confirmed in its ruling that the first event in the 36th America's Cup - America's Cup World Series Cagliari is cancelled. Posted on 18 Mar
America's Cup: Beating the Bug - a look inside
Emirates Team New Zealand take us inside the team base in Downtown Auckland Emirates Team New Zealand take us inside the team base in Downtown Auckland, for a look at the measures they are taking to avoid the team being impacted by the Bug. Posted on 18 Mar
America's Cup base walkabout - Image gallery
Sail-World's camera goes walkabout around the America's Cup base construction - Image gallery With just under a year to run to the Match, Sail-World's camera went walkabout, to check on around the America's Cup base construction around the Wynyard Point and Hobson Wharf extension Posted on 17 Mar
America's Cup CoR wants new dates for World Series
CoR36 declared it was impossible to organise the first event in the America's Cup World Series On Friday afternoon, local time, the event organisers CoR36 declared it was impossible to organise the first event in the America's Cup World Series, due to the worsening international situation with the Coronavirus/COVIT-19. Posted on 13 Mar
America's Cup: ETNZ - ACWS Cagliari can't go ahead
ETNZ says "It is quite obvious that the ACWS Cagliari event cannot go ahead" The America's Cup Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand have posted an update on the America's Cup website, in response to the various actions being taken around the world in response to the COVID-19/Caronavirus pandemic. Posted on 13 Mar
America's Cup: Update on ACWS Portsmouth
ACWS Portsmouth say they are encouraged by the statement issued by the UK Government ACWS Portsmouth say they are encouraged by the statement issued by the UK Government saying there is ‘no rationale' to postponing sporting events in Britain and that they are unlikely to be affected by coronavirus in the immediate future. Posted on 11 Mar
Update on the America's Cup World Series Sardinia
Challenger of Record statement on the America's Cup World Series, Cagliari The Challenger of Record organisation, who are solely responsible for the organisation of the ACWS event in Cagliari, have issued a statement on the America's Cup World Series Cagliari Posted on 10 Mar
America's Cup Hall of Fame announces new inductees
merica's Cup Hall of Fame inducts Franklin Osgood, Bryan Willis, and Rolf Vrolijk The Herreshoff Marine Museum / America's Cup Hall of Fame welcomes Franklin Osgood, Bryan Willis, and Rolf Vrolijk, to the America's Cup Hall of Fame as the inductees of the Class of 2020. Posted on 10 Mar
Sydney to Auckland 2021 - FOOTEROfficial-Collection-Navy-alt1 728x90 BOTTOMSOUTHERN-SPARS-MISSY-FURLING-BOOMS-728-X-90 Bottom