TEAMORIGIN and the Royal Thames propose a “third way”
[Source: Team Origin] On 9th January this year TEAMORIGIN, with the Royal Thames Yacht Club (RTYC), lodged a Deed of Gift (DOG) Challenge with the Société Nautique de Genève (SNG). It called for a Match in 2011 in Valencia to be sailed in AC90 yachts and it outlined their willingness to consider a mutual consent match with a protocol along similar lines to the one signed in July last year.
The RTYC’s most recent challenge was lodged in anticipation of a potential vacuum occurring should the currently disputed Golden Gate Yacht Club’s (GGYC) DOG Challenge be found lacking by the New York Supreme Court’s Judge Cahn. SNG’s motion to reargue and renew points about the validity of GGYC’s DOG Challenge, part of the legal dispute that has dogged the America’s Cup since July 2007, was due to be heard on 14th January of this year, along with argument on settling the order arising from the judgment of 27th November. On 14th January however Judge Cahn further postponed the hearing to Wednesday 23rd January.
Accompanying the RTYC’s DOG Challenge documents was a covering letter from TEAMORIGIN to Ernesto Bertarelli, syndicate head of Alinghi and Pierre-Yves Firmenich, President of the SNG, signed by Sir Keith Mills, TEAMORIGIN Principal. In it he wrote:
“…we envisage discussing with you and hopefully agreeing alternative arrangements by mutual consent as contemplated in the Deed of Gift. Our intention would be to agree a Protocol and associated documents along similar lines to the ones negotiated with Challengers between July and November 2007.”
“We are in favour of your original philosophy for the 33rd America’s Cup, the pillars of which came through clearly in the July 2007 Protocol, namely a mutual consent regatta, based in Valencia, with pre-regattas and sensible cost containment…”.
The delay in Judge Cahn’s deliberations last week has opened up a second potential benefit from the RTYC’s new challenge. It could now also help secure a new trial protocol with the Swiss Defender that is sufficiently satisfactory to the GGYC for the American club to be sufficiently comfortable to drop its challenge, making way for the RTYC to become the Challenger of Record. This should result in the avoidance of the inevitable appeals threatened by both sides should they lose in the current litigation. It should also negate the need for a DOG Match some time this year or next, with the serious complications that the potential of such an event is starting to bring to light.
By following the lead proposed by TEAMORIGIN and the RTYC the GGYC and the SNG have a real opportunity to reach a successful conclusion to the current situation, stop building yachts for a DOG Match, avoid further litigation and allow stability to return to the world of the America’s Cup - something that would benefit all prospective challengers and the sport as a whole.
To ignore this opportunity would result in further untold damage and could lead to a potentially hollow victory, completely debasing the value of the America’s Cup as the pinnacle of the sport of sailing and stunting its ability to further develop in the future.
“We believe that a real window of opportunity exists to end this situation positively and quickly. And so we call on the GGYC and the SNG to take this new opportunity seriously and work with us on a new protocol for an America’s Cup in 2011 in the exciting new AC90 class,” concluded Sir Keith.