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BMW Oracle Racing Says “No Thanks!”

BMW Oracle Racing has put a lot of time and effort into the preparing this monster trimaran to race Alinghi in a Deed of Gift AC challenge. If they lose their appeal in the New York Court of Appeals, they may not get to race anything in AC 33.

© 2008 Gilles Martin-Raget BMW Oracle Racing

With the deadline looming for entry into what may or may not be the 33rd America’s Cup, BMW Oracle Racing and the Golden Gate YC have elected to take their chances in the New York Court of Appeals. Alinghi and the Société Nautique Genève have set an entry deadline of December 15 for the multi-challenger, mutual consent event they’ve been planning for the last month. In a letter sent Monday, Golden Gate YC Commodore Marcus Young explained the team’s decision not to enter and we’ve excerpted some of the team’s more compelling arguments here.

"As you know, the Court has set a date of February 10 for oral arguments and is expected to rule on our appeal by the end of March," Young writes. "Given the stakes involved for the future of the America’s Cup, we do not believe a few more months represent an unreasonable delay.  
"In fact, we find it quite odd that SNG has set an arbitrary registration deadline of
December 15 in light of the fact that a Court decision is so close. Indeed, the timing of your whole revived preparations for the regatta — initiated immediately after Golden Gate YC filed its opening brief in this Court — is only a transparently blatant attempt to influence the Court. Even so, we were willing to consider entering the event if SNG had given us an opportunity to review the Protocol and compare it against the Ten Point Plan we had proposed to achieve fair rules. Regrettably, SNG did not accede to this reasonable request.

"Over the past 17 months, we have made a number of constructive suggestions to resolve the dispute outside of court and get the America’s Cup back on track. Yet SNG and your defense apparatus have consistently refused to negotiate with us in good faith.

"SNG’s defense apparatus has a track record of excluding top competitors from sailing events when they pose a real threat. Moreover, your recently revived preparations process has not been conducive to attracting a strong field of competitors. We have been excluded from the recent meetings, as has any challenger that declined to sign your non-negotiable nondisclosure agreement, thus creating a conspiracy of silence around a rules meeting of America’s Cup competitors unprecedented in Cup history. This is not the inclusive, open, transparent and democratic process required to develop a Protocol that will ensure the full participation of major teams in a fair and competitive America’s Cup."

The bottom line is that if BMW Oracle Racing — the event’s biggest team from both the 2003 and 2007 editions — is unsuccessful in its appeal, then there will be no 33rd America’s Cup for them. Remember that their appeal hinges on whether the definition of "having for its annual regatta" means that CNEV, the Challenger of Record, had already held said regatta, which it hadn’t.

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