Oracle balks at America’s Cup plan

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BMW Oracle Racing team and its affiliated Golden Gate Yacht Club in San Francisco announced Monday they will not be submitting an entry to the 33rd America’s Cup regatta that the Swiss team Alinghi and the Societe Nautique de Geneve (SNG) are organizing, claiming it is not a “legitimate” race, according to a recent press release.

The deadline for entries Dec. 15 falls before the possible final court hearing in February in which Oracle hopes to persuade the court to give them the Deed of Gift, which would allow them to organize the race. Though Alinghi was the victor in the 32ndAmerica’s Cup held in 2007, Oracle claims that SNG did not meet the standards of the race in regards to a yacht club and therefore Alinghi should not be awarded the Deed of Gift, according to the release.

“We will focus our efforts and attention on winning our appeal before the New York State Court of Appeals,” says Commodore Marcus Young, of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, in the release. “Given the stakes involved for the future of the America’s Cup, we do not believe a few more months represent an unreasonable delay.”

Young continues to say that he considers it odd that SNG has set the registration deadline already when the court decision is coming so soon after, according to the release. Also, Young claims SNG has a history of excluding top competitors from sailing events when they pose a threat and not instituting fair rules, therefore not following in the tradition of the race.

“[Monday’s] announcement by BMW Oracle and Golden Gate Yacht Club is not a surprise as they have never shown any interest in joining the competition alongside the 14 teams currently officially entered,” says Alinghi in a follow-up statement. “Instead, at every turn, they have chosen to insist on pursuing their own selfish legal strategy.”

The statement continued, saying the letter from Young showed “tremendous arrogance” and “lack of respect” towards the teams working with SNG and Alinghi for the 33rd America’s Cup. Alinghi says they had hoped Oracle would have joined the collective process of planning the event and will otherwise continue their work while waiting for the ruling in February.

— Elizabeth Ellis