Even If… Then… Why GGYC Won’t Sail in RAK.


There has never been any real doubt that the Golden Gate Yacht Club and BMW ORACLE would dispute Ras Al Khaimah as the venue for the next America’s Cup in court. The simple legal argument goes to whether or not RAK is ‘legal’ under the ancient Deed of Gift and of the face of it, it’s probably not.

Nevertheless, the Golden Gate Yacht Club’s lawyers argue in their latest brief, filed with the NY court, that even if RAK was legal under the gift, the Judge should take into consideration the terrorist threats associated with the venue as they pose a grave danger to the American team.

Following up on last week’s Anti-Iranian tub-thumping, the lawyers for GGYC make it clear that they are not trying to damage RAK’s international reputation or stature, however they cite experts that argue that the UAE state could not protect the event from rogue elements in speedboats or light aircraft within Iran. The situation is made even worse apparently by 400,000 Iranians living in RAK.

Whatever the reality of the security situation in the region. The arguments being used have so much cultural baggage, that they seem to be aimed at generating American support rather than winning a court case. Scuttlebutt’s legal expert Cory Friedman’s latest piece includes phrases like:

Iran is also a state sponsor of terrorists operating throughout the region engaged in jihad against the “Crusader and Zionist” enemy. Like it or not, that means most ‘Buttheads.

The GGYC brief argues that somehow 400,000 Iranians living in RAK enhances rather than mitigates the situation, lumping all 400,o00 into the same Anti-American, terrorist threat. It’s easy to be swept up in the propaganda because the western media has conditioned us to well to believe that anyone in the region is some kind of extremist with “death to the west” as the sole reason for being. To put things into perspective, there are between 320,000 and 415,000 Iranians living in the USA.

Not all share the American’s concerns. A post on the well used travel site TripAdvisor yesterday asked?”

Hilton RAK resort and spa – good for kids? “Is there much to do for a 3 year old at the Hilton spa and resort? I was told there was a kids club but can’t see much mention of it anywhere.

Naturally the GGYC brief, which is so concerned with a terrorist attack on the American team does not have the same issues with Valencia, despite the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office official advice to travellers saying:

There is a high threat from terrorism in Spain. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

The GGYC and BMW ORACLE seem to be on quite firm footing with their arguments about the venue with respect to the Deed of Gift. The document says quite clearly that a Northern Hemisphere venue is not permitted in February. The brief has a compelling argument that even SNG agree that the venue could not be the Colorado River or Walden Pond, which means that they believe the conditions imposed by the Deed are binding. GGYC’s lawyers make a reasonable argument that SNG can’t accept the rules relating to headlands etc and not accept the hemisphere rule.

Most of us are resigned to both sides using the Deed of Gift and the courts to get what they want. If the venue is not legal, then it is not legal. If that is the case then why not just argue it without all the political grandstanding about Iran?