Sailing: BMW Oracle takes Alinghi back to court over sails
By PAUL LOGOTHETIS
AP Sports Writer
MADRID — BMW Oracle returned to the courts Wednesday, arguing that Alinghi's sails breach America's Cup rules because they were not made in the team's home country of Switzerland.
The American team said it was contesting the Swiss team's sails, which it says have been constructed in the United States. Rules decree a team's boat must be manufactured in its home country.
The latest return to a New York court could see the 33rd edition of the competition moved beyond its Feb. 8 start since it could take weeks for Alinghi to make new sails.
"Once the court ruling comes down and the courts agree that the process breaks the country requirements of the Deed (of Gift), what we've offered to do is give Alinghi a chance to build compliant sails," BMW Oracle chief executive Russell Coutts said in a conference call. "That would hopefully avoid a lengthy delay."
Coutts said BMW Oracle had no choice but to take legal action since Alinghi showed "total disregard for the Deed" after two days of talks in Singapore broke down at the "11th hour." Coutts said Alinghi backed out at the last minute.
Alinghi said it was reviewing the decision and would comment later.
The two sides have been dueling in the courtroom since Alinghi won the 32nd edition in July 2007, which has led to the so-called Deed of Gift match. It's a best-of-three race series to be held in Valencia.
Coutts expected a decision on the sails before Feb. 8, although an Alinghi appeal was also expected should the Americans win.
"It's not minutia we're arguing over — it's a fundamental cornerstone of the Gift," Coutts said.