Oracle doubts Alinghi’s boat meets rules

America’s Cup defender Oracle on Tuesday questioned if the boat which Swiss defending champion Alinghi plans to use in their multihull duel slated for February meets the event’s nationality rules.

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Under the 1887 Deed of Gift which outlines the rules for the yacht race, often referred to as sailing’s Formula One, the participating vessels must be constructed in the country where the sailing club which they represent is located.

In a statement, Oracle said the Alinghi 5 has been “sailing continually” with sails made in Nevada in the United States and it had asked the five-member international jury recently appointed by the International Sailing Federation to rule on the matter.

“Any remaining contentious issues should be dealt with properly before the match is sailed. No one wants the outcome of the match to have a question mark hanging over it,” the US team said.

Oracle said its commodore Marcus Young sent a letter on Tuesday to Alinghi in which he said that the US side had gone “to great lengths to comply with the Deed in all respects, including GÇÿconstructed-in-country,GÇÖ and expect that your Club will do so as well.”

“We find the Deed to be clear and unambiguous. It requires that the yacht, including its hull, appendages, mast and sails, be constructed in the country of the club it represents,” he added.

The matter has never been properly tested in previous America’s Cups and some have interpreted the word “constructed” in the Deed to mean “designed an built”.

Earlier this month The Supreme Court of the State of New York ruled that the 33rd America’s Cup must be held in the Spanish port of Valencia in February, rejecting an appeal by Alinghi which favoured the Gulf emirate of Ras al-Khaimah.

The ruling put an end to two and a half years of legal wrangling between the two teams that began after Alinghi won the last edition of yachting’s premier event in Valencia in 2007.


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