27 Oct 2009

NY Supreme Court to consider another AmCup legal battle

9:25 am on 27 October 2009

The New York Supreme Court will tomorrow consider whether the next edition of the America's Cup can take place in the Gulf emirate of Ras al-Khaimah, as planned by Swiss defender Alinghi.

US challenger Oracle has filed suit over Alinghi's choice of the site for their February duel in multihull boats to decide the 33rd edition of sailing's premier competition.

Oracle has argued that the venue is unsafe due to its proximity to Iran as well as being a violation of the rules.

The "Deed of Gift", the 19th century rules that govern the oldest competition in international sport, say that the race cannot be held in the northern hemisphere between November first and May first.

But Alinghi said that the New York court had authorised a venue in either hemisphere, and that the team had submitted affidavits from experts on how the race could be safely held.

Oracle has called for the race be held in the Spanish Mediterranean port of Valencia, where the last America's Cup, won by Alinghi, took place in 2007.

Whatever the outcome, the losing side appears likely to appeal, which would threaten plans for the February event in Ras al-Khaimah.

Alinghi and Oracle, owned respectively by Swiss biotech billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli and American computer billionaire Larry Ellison, have been engaged in a two-year legal battle over the Cup.

Alinghi has already taken its giant catamaran to Ras al-Khaimah, while the Oracle crew is training on its trimaran in San Diego, California.