News January, 21st 2010 by

Oracle vs Alinghi in America's Cup

America’s Cup challengers Oracle sailed their trimaran “USA” for the first time in Valencia on Tuesday despite doubt over the planned duel with Alinghi.

The US yacht, with its 50m fixed-wing sail, took to the waters off the Mediterranean port of Valencia, Spain.

Oracle and holders Alinghi are due to meet in a best-of-three event from 8 February to decide the 33rd edition of yachting’s most prestigious prize.

But the event remains in doubt amid a legal row between the bitter rivals.

“Everyone was very excited to get out on the water,” said Oracle team boss Russell Coutts.

“It’s been quite a process to get here, get set up and be ready to sail. But that’s the point we’re at now and it’s a big milestone for the team.”

BMW Oracle and Alinghi – owned by billionaires Larry Ellison and Ernesto Bertarelli respectively – have been arguing in court over the rules of the America’s Cup since the Swiss syndicate won the last edition in Valencia in 2007.

America’s Oracle last week asked the Supreme Court of the State of New York to rule on whether Alinghi had infringed nationality rules by allegedly using US-made sails for their catamaran.

Alinghi have claimed the sails are made in Switzerland.

On Monday, Oracle offered to drop the court action if Alinghi signed a deal to resolve the issue that the two had negotiated in Singapore.

But Alinghi refused, saying “it isn’t possible to negotiate under the threat of a lawsuit”.

Oracle have said they are prepared to give Alinghi “several weeks” to change the sails if the New York court rules in their favour.

The New York court ruled in April 2009 that the Cup should be settled by a one-on-one multihull duel between the two sides in February 2009.

Traditionally the event, the oldest trophy in sport, features a host of teams racing in a challenger series to decide who takes on the holders for the Cup.

The America’s Cup was first raced for around the Isle of Wight in 1851. 

Simon Schönbeck

A serial entrepreneur and Founder of this very site.

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