Thursday, 19 July 2007

Will The Real 33rd COR Please Make Themselves Known?

Word reaches The Afterguard courtesy of BYM Sailing & Sports News of significant developments concerning the proposed 33rd America's Cup Protocol recently released by Societe Nautique de Geneve(SNG - see here).

It is speculated that the Challenger of Record (COR), Club Nautico Espanol de Vela (CNEV), is preparing to stand down, subsequent to the challenge to the Protocol presented by Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC), in which it is claimed that as COR, CNEV did not meet the requirements of the Deed Of Gift which govern the terms under which the America's Cup is defended (see here, here & here).

In terms of the sequence of events leading to the proposed nomination of COR, it is being speculated that CNEV made the first application to be COR, followed by Great Britain's Royal Thames Yacht Club (RTYC, TEAMORIGIN). Subsequently GGYC (BMW Oracle Racing) challenged the Protocol and its nominated COR, presenting their own claim to the role.

Should CNEV be proved a discredited COR (& therefore disqualified) or pre-emptively resigns, yet the remaining content of the 33rd Protocol remain uncontested, SNG will exercise their right to select the alternative COR, presumed to be RTYC - with little apparent love between SNG & GGYC, it's unlikely that SNG would willingly nominate GGYC (& couldn't hope to do so without appearing to capitulate completely). Might GGYC then dispute this outcome?

3. 3 Selection of an alternative Challenger of Record:
Upon the withdrawal or disqualification of the Challenger of Record,
SNG shall select, at its sole and exclusive discretion,
a new or an existing Challenging Competitor to be the new Challenger of Record.
If no Challenging Competitor is willing to become the new Challenger of Record,
the new Challenger of Record shall be the Challenging Competitor
who was the first in time to submit to ACM a completed Notice of Entry.

Clause 3.3 of 33rd America's Cup Protocol

Or, will GGYC continue to dispute - encouraged by the scent of the blood of a wounded adversary - the selection of the original COR regardless of any anticipated resignation - claiming the entire 33rd AC Protocol invalid, in which case they contend that they should be considered the rightful COR. In this potential outcome, SNG would find itself negotiating the terms of a revised Protocol with GGYC, & should there be no consensus, the terms would revert to reflect the original conditions of the Deeds of Gift, unchanged by any Protocol.

If this happened, there's the potential of the RTYC then presenting a challenge to the decision, possibly considering themselves the first valid challenge (after the invalid CNEV and before the GGYC's challenge), & therefore the rightful COR in the eyes of the Deed of Gift. Or they might give consideration to the fact that 8 challengers are apparently aligned with GGYC, subscribed to the belief that the GGYC are seeking to uphold the best interests of all challengers and indeed the spirit of the cup.

The GGYC today issued a second statement defining their vision for the 33rd Cup, prescribing Valencia, V5 ACC vessels and, as before, themselves as COR. Read the statement in full here.

TEAMORIGIN may feel their best bet is to diplomatically step back from the maelstrom & focus their full attention on the business of mounting the best possible challenge on the water, & at the same time win themselves favour from the rest of the challengers (of what value?).

What would be in the best interests of TEAMORIGIN? Clearly, COR status would put the team centre stage, which would be advantageous in terms of attracting publicity and sponsorship (or at least could be 'spun' so), but it also puts a very young team at the centre of what some consider a political snake pit. Go for broke and there might be derisive claims of being a COR of convenience, allowing both sides of the current argument to avoid humiliation.

We have just one final (mischievous) thought - what constitutes 'friendly'?

This Cup is donated upon the conditions that it shall be preserved as a perpetual
Challenge Cup for friendly competition between foreign countries.

Deed Of Gift of The America's Cup

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