Friday, January 29, 2010

Societe' Nautique de Geneva May Forfeit.

For the Record: Fred Meyer

Société Nautique de Genève vice-commodore, Fred Meyer, comments on GGYC’s latest tirade:

“The latest flurry of legal documents and public statements from Larry Ellison’s Golden Gate Yacht Club further demonstrates his overriding ambition of winning the America’s Cup without racing for it on the water. Not only is BMW Oracle pursuing its ninth attempt to disqualify the Swiss Defender through a New York court with a skewed interpretation of the Deed of Gift, but they have also intensified their legal campaign on another front.

BMW Oracle is determined to angle the America’s Cup competition in its favor, this time through a four-point redress to the International America’s Cup Jury on rules set out in the Notice of Race and the Sailing Instructions issued by SNG for the 33rd America’s Cup. The challenger has still not comprehended that what it has forced is a “Deed of Gift Match”. There is no Mutual Consent – even the New York Supreme Court has told them that the rules are those of the defending yacht club, a fact stated very clearly in the Deed of Gift itself.

To address Tom Ehman’s attacks on the legality of Alinghi’s sails: history and facts support SNG’s interpretation of the Deed of Gift’s "constructed in country"requirements as recently declared by American historian, John Rousmaniere: “Unlike hulls, sails were not regarded as subject to nationality restrictions – not by sailors, not by sailmakers, and not by the donors and the trustee New York Yacht Club.”

We have been clear: if BMW Oracle succeeds in disqualifying the Defender’s sails then there will be no Match, Russell Coutts will have won the America’s Cup for Larry Ellison without sailing. An irony unto itself given Russell’s use of 3DL sails on every AC team he has raced with since 1995; New Zealand, Switzerland and now the USA.

As further example of their double standards, BMW Oracle are attempting to circumvent the “Trash Disposal and Environmental Protection” rule in the Sailing Instructions to continue to freely pollute the waters of Valencia by discharging a cocktail of chemicals under their hulls to make their boat go faster. SNG insists that both competitors respect Spanish waters as they do their home waters.

And while we are setting the record straight, their claim of a “Singapore Agreement” is pure fabrication. The signatures that Tom Ehman has been flaunting were on an early draft that was discarded and subsequently developed on before BMW Oracle aborted the meeting by suing our club for a ninth time.

SNG remains determined that the winner of the America’s Cup will be decided on the race course and not ashore. We will see you on the start line on the 8 February.”

GGYC Responds:

BMW Oracle Racing is employing a variety of environmentally-safe friction-reduction technologies. “Our hulls are more slippery and, therefore, move more efficiently through the water than ever before,” said design team member Manolo Ruiz de Elvira (ESP).

The only decision – out of fourteen – that Société Nautique de Genève has won in the New York Supreme Court was to have Racing Rules 49-54 deleted from America’s Cup racing for the first time ever. This not only permitted the yachts to use an engine to replace manual power, but skin friction reduction systems, previously banned, are now allowed.

“We are not going to say exactly what systems and technologies we are using on our trimaran, but I can assure you they make an already fast boat even faster,” Ruiz de Elvira said. “Our design team has found the ultimate solution – fast and green.

SNG’s blatant attempt to reverse the Court’s ruling permitting friction reduction systems, which the Swiss themselves fought for, is now in the hands of the International Jury at the request of GGYC.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Strictly Sail this Weekend in Chicago!

Strictly Sail will be hosting the Midwest's premier sailboat show this weekend in Chicago, Illinois at the world famous Navy Pier. Representatives from all the major manufacturers, sail makers, marine facilities and yachting magazines will be in attendance.
This show will mark the publication launch of Riblets, Plastic and a Frontrudder. The exciting new book by Mark Reid on the 1987 America's Cup.
Mr. Reid's commentary on the events leading up to Dennis Conner regaining the most prized trophy in all of sports and returning it back to America is the most comprehensive narrative on the events leading up to racing in Fremantle, Western Australia ever published.
12-Meter Update covered that America's Cup with complete details on all the challengers and defenders that went downunder. Specifically, the book covers the challenges from the Heart of America, representing the Chicago Yacht Club, the New York Yacht Club's America 2 and the Golden Gate Challenge's USA from the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco where Mr Reid spent 2 years covering events there.

Ten Days!

USA with its radical "hard wing" sail. Photo Courtesy BMW Oracle Racing

Ten days to go, or not? I think we're there. Mutual consent withstanding, counterpart
Commodore's Fred Murray from the Societe Nautique de Geneva (SNG)and Marcus Young of the Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) continue to trade letters espousing their desires for an amicable America’s Cup, but contentions aside on who built what, where; the first race is still scheduled/ordered to start on February 8th in Valencia, Spain

With the utmost sincerity feeling that they are both somehow on the side of might and right the yachts in question this time around are not narrow, 80 ft. monohulls (1 hull) grasping to reach 20 knots, but behemoth multi-hulls 90 ft. by 90 ft on the load waterline, with carbon fiber masts that tower 200 feet into the sky. With more than 7,000 square ft. of sail area these boats can be expected to sail at more than 40 knots!

Pulling the purse strings are billionaires Larry Ellison, representing the GGYC in combination with his team BMW Oracle and Ernesto Bertarelli with Alinghi, holding sway over SNG. The sailors on board for the most part pay penance to their bosses and the legal teams involved are presumably the best and certainly the most expensive in the world.

BMW Oracle launched their trimaran (3 hulls)a 1 1/2 years ago in Anacortes, Washington and last July, Alinghi put a gargantuan catamaran (2 hulls) into the emerald waters of Lake Geneva, Switzerland and then into the mine laden Persian Gulf, for several additional months of training, before being ordered by the New York Supreme Court to pack up and relocate in Valencia.

These high tech wonders will ensure that the next America’s Cup will be the most spectacular design fest in history......if the warring factions can ever escape their escapades in the courtroom.

With all the ruminations over the choice of the venue,and now; sparring on issues over the "constructed in country" (CIC) provisions in the Deed of Gift, which will probably leave the NY Court little alternative but to say; "come back and see us when the racing is done."

The issue itself is relatively mute with an interesting array of factions lined up on both sides of the fence. With former Stars & Stripes teammates; and executives with North Sails John Marshall(BMW Oracle)and Tom Whidden (Alinghi) submitting affidavits of opposite opinions, the 33rd version of the America's Cup has become a terrible Civil War which will undoubtedly land back in court after the races are over.

For the last 2 1/2 years BMW Oracle has championed the Challenger's cause in more ways than even they would have dreamed possible. After Alinghi's poorly thought out Defender's power grab in 2007, the holder of the America's Cup has been left on the ropes with little or nothing left but to win on the water at all costs. The loser next week will be left with a bitter legacy and a trip back to court.

What we are left with is the possibility of the greatest spectacle in "yacht" racing! Again, who doesn't wants to see these foiled multihulls rip it out over the Mediterranean!

By Mark Wharton Reid

Alinghi Responds to CIC Issue.

Alinghi sailing off Valencia, Spain. Photo by George Johns,courtesy of Alinghi.
Alinghi Responds to CiC Legal Filings
Press Release

January 22, 2010

Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), the 33rd America's Cup defending yacht club, today presented its opposition arguments to the New York Supreme Court in response to Golden Gate Yacht Club's (GGYC) ninth lawsuit; a misguided interpretation of the 'constructed in country' (CIC) requirement of the Deed of Gift, the event's governing document. SNG's comprehensive set of papers reaffirms its interpretation that only the yacht or vessel has to be constructed in the country of the club holding the Cup, and that sails do not.

SNG's affirmations are supported by historical precedent, as reflected in the expert declaration of John Rousmaniere, a leading America's Cup historian,

“...the donors of the original Deed of Gift never contemplated limits on foreign sails or foreign sail technology. Those donors, in fact, hoisted British sails in first winning the Cup with the schooner America. In fact, in adding the CIC clause to the Deed in 1882, George Schuyler, the last surviving donor, sought to ensure that the Cup remained a genuinely competitive event, while preserving the Cup's international character. He thus struck that balance by limiting the CIC requirement only to a competing vessel's hull, but not its sails."

Additional documents presented to the court confirm that GGYC's CIC claim is factually wrong: SNG's sails were constructed in Switzerland and this fact is supported by an affidavit from Tom Whidden, president of North Sails, and an official certificate of Swiss origin from the Swiss Chamber of Commerce.

SNG is certain of our yacht's Deed compliance, including the ‘constructed in country’ provision and our interpretation is supported by the language of the Deed, historical precedent, and by the Cup donor's intentions, said Fred Meyer, vice-commodore of SNG. In any event, GGYC's CIC claim is factually wrong and we have submitted to the court substantial evidence proving that our sails are Swiss made. It is our view that we should go racing on 8 February. GGYC should end their legal strategy to try to delay the Cup and to try to gain competitive advantage over the Defender and should proceed with the competition on the water. If they wish, however, to pursue their latest lawsuit, then the judge should have a close look at BMW Oracle's yacht, which does not comply with GGYC's own interpretation of the Deed, he concluded.

"Constructed in Country" Counter Motion

In parallel to the opposition papers, SNG has presented a counter motion stating that, should GGYC's interpretation of the CIC in the Deed of Gift be validated by the Court, then its own boat would be illegal. Affidavits from a number of leading experts in the field of yacht design, such as Duncan MacLane and Nigel Irens, support the fact that GGYC's trimaran is in fact a French-designed boat and not American, as supported by photographic exhibits the boat also includes a number of non-American constructed elements. In addition, BMW Oracle's yacht is not even a sloop, propelled by sails, with a main and a jib, as declared in the American club's certificate of challenge, but a wing-mast rig.

SNG's set of documents showcases how this latest motion by GGYC is in contravention of the spirit of the Deed of Gift and how Larry Ellison's yacht club has forgotten the call for friendly competition between nations.

Excerpts from expert affidavits:

Excerpts from the declaration by John Rousmaniere (USA), America's Cup historian:
For more than a century of America's Cup competition, nationality concerned only yacht clubs and yacht hulls. There were no nationality restrictions on sails in the first race in 1851, when the American donors of the America's Cup used English sails. The first formal restriction of international exchanges of sail and other technologies was not established until after the nineteenth cup regatta in 1962. That was when the then trustee, the New York Yacht Club, issued what it would call an interpretive resolution limiting access to technology across national borders. Subsequently other, sometimes conflicting restrictions were imposed until all interpretive resolutions were rescinded by SNG and GGYC before the most recent cup races in 2007.

Unlike hulls, sails were not regarded as subject to nationality restrictions not by sailors, not by sailmakers, and not by the donors and the trustee New York Yacht Club.

Had a stringent constructed in country rule like the one proposed by Golden Gate Yacht Club in this action been in place and enforced, in most of those nineteen regattas either the challenger or the defender (and sometimes both) might have been disqualified.

Since the complaints about Atalanta concerned how identical her model, or hull shape, was to U.S. yachts, constructed can only have meant designed and built. Nothing was said or even implied in the Second Deed about sails, scantlings, or other construction standards.

Excerpt from the affidavit by Tom Whidden (USA), President of North Sails:
In Switzerland, I understand that the Alinghi team constructed the sails for Alinghi 5 by (1) joining the 3DL pieces/sections to construct the body of the sails; (2) finishing the sails by traditional sail-making methods; and (3) transporting the constructed sails to the location of Alinghi's yacht.

Excerpt from the affidavit by Nigel Irens (GBR), Multi-hull Designer at Irens-Cabaret:
In my view, the BOR yacht represents an extrapolation and adaptation of other current racing designs of the French firm, VPLP.

Excerpt from the affidavit by Duncan MacLane (USA), Multi-hull Designer:
Over the last ten years, there has been very little development of large performance multihulls in the United States. The larger racing multihulls have been concentrated in Europe, with European designers. The BOR 90 foot trimaran is clearly the offspring of European racing trimarans, particularly the ORMA 60's and their development programs.


- Rousmaniere quote: SNG MOL in opposition to GGYC improper motion to enforce the April 7, 2009 order and judgment, page 3.
- Rousmaniere excerpt 1: Rousmaniere affidavit, pages 2 & 3
- Rousmaniere excerpt 2: Rousmaniere affidavit, page 6
- Rousmaniere excerpt 3: Rousmaniere affidavit, page 7
- Rousmaniere excerpt 4: Rousmaniere affidavit, page 15
- Whidden excerpt: Whidden affidavit, page 4
- Irens excerpt: Irens affidavit, page 2
- MacLane excerpt: MacLane affidavit: page 2

Accompanying Legal Documents Filed in Response (all in pdf format):
(These are large files, over 20MB in total)

Notice of Cross-Motion
Memorandum of Law in Support of Cross-Motion
Memorandum of Law in Opposition to GGYC Filing
Exhibits AA Through XX in Support of Memoranda
Declaration of John Rousmaniere (Historical Background and Sources)
Affidavits of Irens, Whidden, Masmejan, Maclane, Vrolijk, Sahli, Pattison, Tournier

BMW Seeks Redress on CIC Issue.

Tom Ehman, GGYC Spokesman:

Tonight GGYC filed its response to Société Nautique de Genève’s (SNG) submissions to the New York Supreme Court of last week.

There are two important questions before the Court: In an America’s Cup “Deed of Gift match,” must the sails of competitors’ yachts be constructed in the country they represent? Were Alinghi’s sails constructed in Switzerland? GGYC believes the answers are clear: yes, sails must be constructed-in-country; and, no, Alinghi’s sails were constructed in the USA, not Switzerland.

Last week SNG let go an avalanche of papers to obscure these simple questions. The Swiss defender has long appeared to be suffering from snowblindness over the fact that the 33rd Match is not a normal regatta. It is not even a normal America’s Cup. It is a “Deed of Gift match” in which the clear wording of the Cup’s ruling document must be adhered to by both teams.

Highlights of GGYC’s briefs filed tonight (and available in full at


The Deed of Gift does not say that only the hull of the defender’s vessel must be constructed in the defender’s country. Neither does it carve out an exemption for the vessel’s sails – the component that propels the boat and one of the major determinants of a vessel’s competitiveness. Nor does it say that yachts may be constructed in pieces abroad so long as they are “assembled” or “finished” in country. This fundamental part of the Deed of Gift has shaped the character of this great sailing competition for nearly 130 years.


GGYC went to extraordinary efforts to comply with the Deed of Gift’s constructed-in-country provision.


This is not a complex issue to resolve. It rests on three simple propositions: (1) the Deed of Gift requires that the defender’s “yacht or vessel” be constructed in the defender’s country, (2) sails are part of a yacht or vessel, and (3) SNG has admitted that its sails were custom-made in pieces in Nevada. All that is required is an application of a plain and unambiguous provision of the Deed of Gift to admitted facts.


In a transparent attempt to distract the Court from its own blatant violation of the Deed of Gift’s constructed-in-country requirement, SNG has brought a baseless cross-motion against GGYC seeking – once again – to disqualify GGYC’s challenge vessel.


GGYC is not seeking to delay the race; it is ready and eager to begin the match on February 8. It is not trying to disqualify SNG’s yacht; that is why it is seeking to have this issue resolved now, before the race. SNG has rejected every attempt by GGYC to reach mutual consent on constructed-in-country and other issues, most recently at a meeting in Singapore on 12 January. An agreement was negotiated between SNG and GGYC representatives. It was signed by GGYC and the International Sailing Federation (the world governing body), only to be rejected by SNG/Alinghi.

Alinghi’s constructed-in-country violation is yet another example of SNG’s reckless disregard for the Deed of Gift, and of their repeated attempts to gain an advantage by shamelessly breaking the rules.

GGYC hopes the Court will resolve this issue next week, before racing for the 33rd Match starts in Valencia on 8 February.

GGYC and BMW Oracle Object to Notice of Race Changes and Sailing Instructions

Will Ask America's Cup Jury for Redress

Golden Gate YC has stated objections to the Notice of Race (NOR) and Sailing Instructions that Defender SNG and Alinghi released Tuesday. Calling the documents "riddled with errors" and part of a continued pattern by SNG to make rules favoring their entry and harming the chances of the Challenger, Golden Gate YC says that they will take the matter to the America's Cup International Jury for redress.

From GGYC Press Release (excerpt):

Specifically, SNG has:

• Effectively re-inserted Racing Rule 53 (“Skin Friction”) after obtaining a New York Supreme Court ruling to delete it.

• Set the starting time for the races despite the Deed of Gift’s requirement that this be agreed by mutual consent.

• Set wind and wave limits to favor its own yacht.

Changed the latest draft of the Notice of Race to ban certain wind detection equipment now being used by BOR that, previously, was permitted under all earlier drafts of the NOR.

• Re-arranged the hierarchy of the applicable rules so that SNG’s Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions would, in the case of conflict, overrule the Racing Rules; this is highly irregular and contrary to normal practice in yacht racing.

From the America's Cup Media Center in Valencia.

Over 2 billion viewers will have access to the America's Cup on TV
With less than two weeks until the first races of the 33rd America’s Cup, a massive TV broadcast reach has already been secured which should ensure that the dramatic, never seen before multihull races between the Defender Alinghi and the Challenger BMW Oracle Racing have the capacity to reach a huge global audience.
Through the agreements with the European Broadcasting Union, which reaches 56 territories and has an audience of over 650 million and,globally, with Sports News TV spanning 160 territories, broadcasting to over 1.4 billion people and also with Transworld Sport with a global audience of over 302 million, the America’s Cup News packages are assured of a massive international audience of over 2 billion viewers

Among the broadcasters are Great Britain’s BSkyB, TVE/Teledeporte and Canal 9 in Spain, French based Eurosport and Showtime in the Middle East. Broadcasters will take all of the America’s Cup output, including the 26 minutes race day Highlights package, Race News package as well as the 52 minutes summary wrap up programme at the end of the event.

Also, for the first time in the history of the America's Cup, races will be broadcast live free of charge on