Thursday, 30 August 2007

33rd America's Cup - Hopes Fade As Feelings Sour and Tension Mounts

For those not inclined to celebrate victory by Judge & Jury, recent events surrounding the formulation of the 33rd America's Cup must be met with an unhealthy degree of despair.

While forums on the topic are awash with pseudo-legal argument, claim and counter-claim, the true protagonists appear to have done little in the past week to resolve the dispute itself, despite much activity:

  • Weds, 22/8/07 GGYC publish release detailing their court filing on 11/7/07. Here
  • Thurs, 23/8/07 ACM publish release criticising GGYC for its actions. Here
  • Thurs, 23/8/07 Alinghi's website publishes 33rd Protocol timeline. Here
  • Fri, 24/8/07 BYM interview: ACM's Michael Hodara strikes conciliatory tone. Here
  • Fri, 24/8/07 RTL publish 'defensive' interview with ACM's Michel Hodara. Here
  • Tues, 28/8/07 ACM publish Arbitration/Litigation status (up to 24/8/07). Here
  • Thurs, 30/8/07 GGYC publish court papers relating to their case against SNG. Here
Also on Thurs, 30/8/07:
  • Stuart Alexander's excellent BOOTSNBOATS recounts Team Alinghi's call for BMW Oracle Racing's Tom Ehman to step down as chairman of the jury for the Rolex Farr 40 World Championships in Copenhagen. Despite Alinghi's claim of conflicting interests, Ehman did not acquiesce to their demands.
  • Switzerland's Le Temps carried the responses of both Brad Butterworth (of Alinghi) and Russell Coutts (of BMW Oracle Racing) to the same interview questions concerning the row. Butterworth, in particular, appears almost emotional in his responses. Hopefully the story will be syndicated to an English-language outlet in due course - the link above is to the French story.
In all, the past few days have seen the tension ratcheted up a good few notches, and the possibility of an amicable & face saving solution agreeable to both parties seems further off than it ever has.

The 33rd Protocol's Arbitration Panel may have a surprise or two up its sleeve, but on the basis of the recent conduct of all concerned, it would be easy to doubt the value to the situation of a construct itself generated under the disputed protocol. It is likely that the next concrete developments will surround the hearing at the New York Supreme Court on Monday 10th September 2007, at which time we might discover if Justice Herman Cahn rules there is a case to be heard, in which case the time scales involved broaden out substantially.

For a trophy recently won by just a single second, the current gulf between defender and next defence appears almost geological in scale.

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