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America’s Cup – Onward Through the Fog

What almost appeared yesterday to be a ‘final decision’ now looks like the bell for just one more round of America’s Cup legal boxing.

Earlier this month, the New York Appeals Court ruled that BMW Oracle Racing and its home yacht club, Golden Gate YC, would be instated as the Challengers of Record for AC33, and that the ‘paper’ club, Spain’s CNEV — which was hastily created after the last Cup race to insure the event would stay in Valencia — was out. The next step was for members of BOR/GGYC to meet with members of Switzerland’s Alinghi/SNG to work out what happened next. Would it be a ‘regular’ A-Cup with multiple challengers sailing IACC monohulls, or a ‘special’ Deed of Gift match between just the two rivals in super multihulls? BOR arrived at that meeting yesterday reportedly favoring the former, so Alinghi naturally chose the latter.

As you probably know, BOR built a 90-ft LWL trimaran last year that’s in advanced sea trials. Alinghi reportedly has a multihull under construction near Lake Geneva that may have a 115-ft waterline. The ‘waterline’ business is one of the only limits the America’s Cup Deed of Gift puts on yachts: 90-ft max for a single-masted craft and 115 for two or more masts. The rumor is that the Swiss boat may fit their boat with some kind of token yawl rig to accommodate the additional 25 feet of LWL.

Then there’s the issue of venue. The Deed of Gift also stipulates that no Cup races may be held in the Northern Hemisphere between November 1 and May 1. Since BOR just became the Challenger of Record this month, and the Deed says the earliest race can be 10 months from the time the challenge is made, that would mean they could race as soon as next February. But it would also mean that it would have to be somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere, a possibility that apparently neither side is eager to embrace.

Also from the Deed of Gift: “The Club challenging for the Cup and the Club holding the same may, by mutual consent, make any arrangement satisfactory to both as to the dates, courses, number of trials, rules and sailing regulations, and any and all other conditions of the match, in which case also the ten months’ notice may be waived.”

Bottom line: Since these guys can’t mutually consent that the sky is blue, don’t look for any sort of on-the-water competition for the Auld Mug to take place until well into next year — or the one after that.

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