x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Court rules on the side of 'unsportsman-like' BMW

The chances of the next America's Cup taking place in Ras Al Khaimah improves considerably after a New York judge refuses to uphold a claim by Alinghi.

The chances of the 33rd battle for the America's Cup taking place in Ras Al Khaimah in February improved considerably after a New York judge refused to uphold a claim by Alinghi, holders of the sport's most prestigious trophy, that their sole challenger BMW Oracle Racing be disqualified. The Swiss syndicate of Alinghi took legal action on the grounds that Oracle's dimensions exceeded the 90ft x 90ft figures stipulated when the challenge was made.

Justice Shirley Kornreich, presiding over the San Diego hearing, ruled, however, that the American-based challengers did not need to produce a measurement certificate until 14 days before the first of the three races on February 8. That latest in a string of judgements which have undermined the famous competition - the oldest in interntional sport - effectively clears Larry Ellison's Oracle team to continue working on the massive trimaran and bring it within the rules laid down by the America's Cup Deed of Gift.

"This vindicates us entirely," said the Oracle spokesman Tom Ehman. "It closes this chapter and hopefully we'll get the rules sorted out and get on with the racing in February." Judge Kornreich, however, also decided to issue a formal observation for what she called unsportsman-like behaviour by the Golden Gate Yacht Club, backers of the Oracle challenge. "The unsportsman-like behavior of Golden Gate that has resulted in substantially reducing SNG's [Societe Nautique de Geneve, the backing club of Alinghi] advantage as originally contemplated by the Deed. Nonetheless, Golden Gate's actions are not contrary to law or sanctionable in this limited forum," the judge wrote in her eight-page report.

Ehman responded to that saying, "We're rather surprised by this because there was no reason given for that statement. Certainly it is our belief that it is not unsportsman-like to develop your boat within the rules." wjohnson@thenational.ae