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September 24, 2009

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Home » Sports » Sailing

America's Cup challenger wins ruling in court

AMERICA'S Cup challenger BMW Oracle Racing received good news and a surprise admonishment from a New York judge on Tuesday.

Justice Shirley Kornreich of the Supreme Court of the State of New York denied a motion by two-time defending champion Alinghi of Switzerland to disqualify BMW Oracle Racing because the US-based syndicate hasn't provided a measurement certificate for its 27-meter trimaran.

Kornreich said BMW Oracle Racing, owned by software tycoon Larry Ellison of Oracle Corp, must provide Alinghi with the final documentation at least two weeks before February 8, the scheduled start date for the best-of-3 showdown off Ras al-Khaimah, United Arab Emirates.

Alinghi has been demanding the documentation for more than a year as part of a bitter legal fight between the powerhouse sailing teams, both owned by billionaires.

The ruling means BMW Oracle Racing can conntinue to modify the monster trimaran, including installing an engine to trim the sails and move ballast.

Earlier this year, Alinghi, owned by biotech tycoon Ernesto Bertarelli, broke with America's Cup tradition by launching a 27-meter catamaran with an engine to trim its gigantic sails and move water ballast from one hull to another.

The Americans have argued that a Certificate of Documentation, the modern-day version of a Custom House Registry, can't be obtained from the Coast Guard until the trimaran has been proved seaworthy.

BMW Oracle Racing continues to test the space age-looking craft off San Diego. It has also been modifying the boat, which was launched more than a year ago in Anacortes, Washington.

Alinghi wants the documentation to confirm that BMW Oracle Racing has built its boat to the specifications included in its challenge issued in July 2007, shortly after the Swiss successfully defended the America's Cup by beating Team New Zealand off Valencia, Spain.

"We will do it as soon as possible, as we've said all along," BMW Oracle Racing spokesman Tom Ehman said.

"This vindicates us entirely. They wanted to misread the Deed to say we had to give them one, then after that, we couldn't change the boat. She has struck them down on both those points."


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