Mock Horror! The Lawyers Are Back For More America’s Cup Action.


Both boats are on the water. The announcement of a venue is less than a month away – which in America’s Cup land is nothing. People were starting to dip back into the the news about GGYC and SNG after months of relative peace and irrelevancy. It looked like there might be a sailboat race. Of course that would have been too simple. Mock Horror! The Golden Gate Yacht Club are crying ‘unfair’ and running back to mommy, which in this case is the New York Courts.

Same old whinge – Alinghi are accused of being liars and cheats and doing secret deals – but now there is a new player – ISAF, the supposed governing body of the sport. BMW ORACLE stated in their press release today:

An ISAF Executive Committee member has acknowledged that on June 5, 2009, SNG (or its racing team Alinghi) paid ISAF €150,000 pursuant to a secret agreement making certain arrangements concerning ISAF’s role in, and the “rules and sailing regulations” for, the next Cup match. Neither ISAF nor SNG/Alinghi will disclose the secret agreement to GGYC. Especially in light of ISAF’s central role in selecting the match officials and sailing jury, such collusive secrecy is unacceptable and violates SNG’s fiduciary duty to GGYC as the challenger of record and trust beneficiary.

GGYC spokesman Tom Ehman was quoted as saying:

“Once again, Alinghi seems to believe the Deed and other rules do not apply to them. As we said in our court brief today, the prejudice to GGYC is manifest. For example, SNG has proclaimed the intent and authority to construct its competing vessel with engines to trim sails and movable ballast, each now banned by the ISAF rules, and then announce a change in those rules that permits them. In designing its competing vessel, GGYC was compelled to rely on the ISAF rules which prohibit engines and movable ballast.”

Alignhi responded last night saying:

“It is again a disappointment that the Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) chooses to pursue its litigious strategy instead of fighting for the America’s Cup on the water. It is now the fourth time the American team goes to court, this time in an attempt to prevent the SNG’s legitimate right to use its yacht club rules – as prescribed in the Deed of Gift – and the ISAF rules and regulations to their full extent, as it has been the case in previous editions of the America’s Cup and in any international regatta in the world. While GGYC continues to put pressure on the SNG through the New York courts, SNG continues to wait for the GGYC to provide their yacht’s Custom House Registry as soon as possible, as per the Deed of Gift and the New York court decisions.”

Unfortunately, no matter who is technically right or wrong, the brand and status of the Amercia’s Cup is once again being denigrated. With every trip to the court-room, the world cares a little less about the once great event.

The court scheduled a hearing for Tuesday, July 21 at 10 a.m.