Do yacht clubs really matter in the America’s Cup?

Posted on 12 December 2010 by Valencia Sailing

According to the Deed of Gift, the basic set of rules that govern the America’s Cup, “any organized yacht Club of a foreign country, incorporated, patented, or licensed by the legislature, admiralty or other executive department, having for its annual regatta an ocean water course on the sea, or on an arm of the sea, or one which combines both, shall always be entitled to the right of sailing a match for this Cup”. In the 32nd edition of the world’s oldest sailing event, a few exceptions were granted. The Spanish challenged through their national sailing federation, the Chinese through the newly-created Qingdao International yacht Club, while finally the Germans opted as well for a previously non-existent club.

Then in June 2007, Alinghi lowered the bar even further and together with their sinister bedfellows, the then President and Vice President of the Spanish Sailing Federation, Gerardo Pombo and Manuel Chirivella, created the Club Nautico Español de Vela (CNEV) in a week in order to have a hip-pocket challenger of record for the 33rd Cup. Although duly registered as a yacht club, the CNEV didn’t exist beyond paper. BMW Oracle filed a lawsuit and the rest is history.

Start of the first race of the 2010 Aleph Cup. La Grande Motte, 27 November 2010. Photo copyright Aleph Yacht Club

However, and despite its rhetoric during the long and tedious legal battle of the 33rd America’s Cup, the current Defending yacht club, Golden Gate Yacht Club, accepted and validated on Friday, December 10th, a formal challenge by a yacht club that is a barely a month old (officially registered on November 4th) and held the first edition of its annual regatta just two weeks ago, on November 27th.

We are referring to the newly-created Aleph Yacht Club that will be represented by Aleph Team France, the team headed by Bertrand Pacé and Alain Gautier. I think this is another proof that the yacht clubs are mere technicalities and the organizers focus instead on the credentials of the project rather than the underlying club and of course you could hardly get stronger credentials in France than the duo Pacé-Gautier. The yacht club, obviously, meets the criteria set by the Deed of Gift, but just the strict minimum.

The offices of Aleph Yacht Club are in Paris and their regatta was held at the premises of the Yacht Club de La Grande Motte (YCGM) in southern France. This is understandable since the French capital is not anywhere near an “ocean water course on the sea, or on an arm of the sea”. It’s puzzling though that not one single member of the club took part in their first ever annual regatta, as per the score table!!

Maybe that’s why the America’s Cup is still at the pinnacle of our sport and if they ditch that antiquated rule they might just become another circuit like the Volvo Ocean Race or the AUDI Medcup.

10 Comments For This Post

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Coutts Ehman and co have really no pride. They have the guts to accept what they fought during two years in court. And saying CNEV was the CoR is crap. What difference does it make?

    Another proof GGYC should be relieved from its duty of Trustee.

    But when you are in lack of challengers, you suddenly feel many things become suddenly acceptable.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Lot of words, but little logic, sorry…

  3. Anonymous Says:

    @ 4:37 PM anon

    BMWOracle can not just, at free will, reject entries that they do not "like". As long as the entry is deed legal and the required entry fee is beeing paied they have to accept the entry.

  4. Sara Says:

    Great spot you Flintstone. I'm sure that the Defender made sure the annual regatta HAD been HELD before the paperwork was submitted, just to get another boat on the starting grid.

    Don't worry yourself about the Deed of Gift. This is do as I do, not as I say.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Am supporting Aleph entry. Fully. Just saying BOR takes a very different stand from what they had when opposed to ALinghi.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I am specially happy to see how BOR is smashing the same strategy than Alinghi but well done.
    AC's been always like this.

    It must hurt Ernesto, eh?


  7. Anonymous Says:

    i wish Alinghi were still doing those cartoons they could have a field day with the way these guys are behaving. Pierre why don't you start a series?

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Alinghi didnt handle the CNEV situation too well, I think EB even admitted that.

    ML is as much of a hip-pocket challenger as CNEV was, maybe even more some because we expected more from ML.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    You can trust GGYC and BOR lawyers to clearly make the difference between a Deed legal yacht club and an illegal one can't you?
    I don't see any optimist on your picture.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    9:58 AM

    CNEV was not deed legal
    Aleph is.
    That is a BIG difference, isn't it?


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