Sailor wins in court - Soundings Online

Sailor wins in court

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APRIL 4 — Yachtswoman Tracy Edwards recently won a significant legal battle against the government of Qatar in an attempt to clear her name after her Oryx Quest 2005 yacht race ended millions of dollars in debt.

Edwards, who is 43 and of London, won a ruling in the Civil Court of Qatar that clears her of financial obligations after the liquidation of her company, Quest International Sports Events Ltd., according to a report by BYM, a boating and marine news service. Quest organized and ran the Oryx round-the-world race for large sailing catamarans.

“This is such an important result for all those who worked so hard to make the Oryx Quest 2005 race the huge success that it was,” Edwards says in the report. “It is important to me, and to those who have supported me through the past two years, to prove that I did nothing wrong and to set the record well and truly straight.”

Edwards’ company ran into trouble when Qatar Sports International, a company set up by the now Crown Prince of Qatar, failed to pay $10.4 million in sponsorship money, according to the report. The money was reportedly promised in a legal agreement as part of a four-year $66 million sailing program in Qatar.

Edwards was left with $4.5 million in debt, including $500,000 in prize money to the winner of the race and the $350,000 second prize, the report says. She had also taken a $14.5 million loan to help ensure the success of the race.

The ruling means that Edwards is now free to pursue a personal injury claim against the government of Qatar, at the International Court of Justice at The Hague, the report says.

The story of Edwards’ bankruptcy, according to the report, will be the basis of a new book and television documentary scheduled to be released in 2007.

— Jason Fell