Build It, And They Will Come
In a long-telegraphed move, GGYC today sent a stern warning to SNG that the American team would enforce the "Constructed in Country" portion of the Deed of Gift with respect to Alinghi’s catamaran and sails. BMW/Oracle asserts that Alinghi’s sails, which were molded in North’s massive Minden, Nevada plant, do not meet the requirements of the Deed and cannot be used. The team also believes that some other parts of the cat are noncompliant, with appendages and the "spine" modification in RAK both on the list.
Ellison’s team promises to bring the matter before the ISAF jury promptly if Alinghi does not respond, claiming that they want to "avoid post-match litigation." But at this point, does anyone think this thing isn’t going to back to court at the end of February?
GGYC’s position is, by no means, a slam dunk – even if there’s historical research that bolsters the US claim, there is zero legal precedent on the issue. So what, exactly, is the purpose of this new move? The Anarchists have their guesses.
One simple explanation is simply that a gamesman uses every tool available to win, and this is certainly one more tool that could distract and annoy Bertarelli and his minions. Another is that it could force Alinghi from their complete refusal to negotiate mutually agreed-upon rules with GGYC and Valencia. Still another sees this as a defensive move; to beat Alinghi to the punch if the Swiss intend to go after a DSQ of the US team on the basis that the wing is not a sail, or a similar argument.
Whichever way it goes, yet another gauntlet’s been thrown down, and with Alinghi’s answer to GGYC’s breach-of-fiduciary-duty action due in just days, it must be getting hot at Alinghi HQ.
Wide Open Spaces
In other AC news, the Anarchists predicted the moment that the Ocean Lady would arrive in Panama for her Pacific-Atlantic transit, and they were off by minutes. The cargo carrier, with her special Christmas gift on deck, passed under the high-res webcam at the Miraflores locks this evening. Next stop: Valencia.
We’ll be there.