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Page last updated at 13:52 GMT, Thursday, 27 March 2008

America's Cup goes back to court

Swiss America's Cup team Alinghi
Alinghi beat Team New Zealand to win the 32nd America's Cup

Defending champions Alinghi will take challengers BMW Oracle back to court for a final ruling on the dates for the next America's Cup.

The two teams failed to reach an agreement at a meeting on Wednesday.

BMW Oracle want to race Alinghi in October, while the Swiss team would prefer to wait until January.

Alinghi have requested a hearing with the same New York judge who, in November, ordered the rivals to race a head-to-head series in multihulls.

Alinghi are contesting that the 10-month preparation time laid down in the competition's 121-year-old rules began only when Judge Herman Cahn confirmed his ruling last week.

The sooner we get this thing on the water the better

Tom Ehman

"[The] present effort to dictate a race date in 2008 is, simply stated, an effort to seize the America's Cup through litigation rather than by winning on the water," Alinghi's lawyers said in a letter handed to the court.

BMW Oracle spokesman Tom Ehman insisted that his team had no concerns about going back to court.

"We believe the date we offered them is valid and that the judge will confirm that," said Ehman. "The bottom line is that the sooner we get this thing on the water the better."

Alinghi beat Team New Zealand to win the 32nd America's Cup, sailing's most prestigious prize, in Valencia, Spain, in July 2007.

Soon after, Alinghi named Spain's Desafio Espanol as the Challenger of Record, and set the rules with a Spanish yacht club for the next Cup in Valencia in 2009.

But American syndicate BMW Oracle challenged the protocol, claiming Alinghi were building an unfair advantage, and took the Swiss team to court.

Organisers postponed the proposed 33rd America's Cup five days before the New York State Supreme Court found in BMW Oracle's favour.

The court ruled that Alinghi had chosen an illegitimate yacht club as challenger because it does not hold an annual regatta.

The winner of the two-boat multihull series will have the right to organise the subsequent America's Cup event under the more usual multi-team, monohull format.

Several teams have already entered the next Cup, including Mascalzone Latino of Italy, Shosholoza of South Africa, Team Origin of Britain, Team New Zealand and United Internet Team Germany.

see also
America's Cup postponed over row
22 Nov 07 |  Sailing
Alinghi sailor fails doping test
01 Oct 07 |  Sailing
Coutts to lead Oracle challenge
24 Jul 07 |  Sailing
Alinghi secure America's Cup win
03 Jul 07 |  Sailing

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