« みなさま、よいお年を! | トップページ | ニューヨーク・ヨットクラブがアリンギ・CNEVを非難する意見書をNY州裁判所へ提出。 »

2008年12月31日 (水)

N.Y. court should deny America's Cup challenge

米国の著名ヨット評論家であるEric Sharpが、デトロイト・フリープレス紙にアメリカスカップの現状に対する提言を寄稿しています。非常に的確な指摘をしており、私個人的には彼の意見に100%同意します。現在旅先なので翻訳は端折りますが、興味のある方はご一読ください。

Detroit Free Press: N.Y. court should deny America's Cup challenge

I've known a lot of people who belong to yacht clubs that have defended or challenged for the America's Cup. Their club members raised funds, helped organize the teams and a few even designed and sailed the boats in the premier event in their sport.

At the end of the day, they could sit at the club bar over a beer and swap sailing yarns or plan their next voyage or discuss new gear.

The members of Club Nautico Espanol de Vela (CNEV), the challenger of record for what may or may not be the next America's Cup, can't do that. The four members of CNEV can't sit at the bar because there is no bar, nor is there a clubhouse. There are no boats, which is good, because there are no docks to tie to them to. There are only legal papers and a telephone number.

A Spanish journalist who tried to find out how people could join CNEV learned that the only members are four officials from Spain's national sailing federation.

Despite the protests by CNEV and Alinghi, the Swiss defender of the America's Cup, there's no way around the fact that the Spanish club is simply a sham designed to keep the event in Valencia and give the Swiss unprecedented and unfair control over the challenger selection series and the finals.

The New York State Supreme Court is expected to decide in the next few weeks whether CNEV is a legitimate challenger under the terms of the 1887 Deed of Gift that governs the oldest continuous team event in sports. If those judges can understand the simple English and clear intent of the sailors who wrote that deed, they'll have no choice but to toss the Spaniards out and force the Swiss to meet an American challenge in giant multihulls.

But as one of my sailor-lawyer friends says, 'The only thing sure about a court case is that someone is going to get the shaft.' You can just never be 100% sure which side it will be.

I've been adamant that Alinghi's plans to hold an America's Cup in 2010, with CNEV as challenger of record, make a mockery of the Deed. The proposed rules changes give Alinghi almost unbeatable advantages.

That said, some 19 teams -- 16 from Europe -- have signed up for 2010, assuming the New York court rules for the Swiss. The American BMW-Oracle team is among the few boycotting the event, and if the court rules against Oracle, it will be the first America's Cup in 160 years without an American team.

After the schooner 'America' won the cup in England in 1851 and brought it back to the New York Yacht Club, the rules were simple: A single foreign yacht, British or Irish or Canadian, sent a letter to the NYYC saying, 'We challenge you for the Cup. Here's a brief description of the boat we'll build, and you have 10 months to get ready.'

The NYYC replied, 'OK, here are the dates. But we get to pick the place to sail and choose any boat we like to defend, as long as it meets the size limits.' And those races always were off New York or Newport, R.I.

But eventually there were multiple challenges at the same time, so a system was set up where one foreign club became the challenger of record and ran an elimination series to determine who would meet the American defender.

By using -- and sometimes abusing -- every loophole in the Deed of Gift and the rules of sailing, the Yanks held on for 132 years until Australia II took the Cup Down Under in 1983. Since then, the Cup's peripatetic path has taken it to San Diego; Auckland, New Zealand; and latterly Switzerland, whose Alinghi team defended at Valencia because that city offered the best mix of weather, infrastructure and commercial incentives. (The fact that the Swiss don't have an ocean also was a factor.)

But now Alinghi wants to transform the America's Cup into a money-maker, combining elements of Formula One car racing and the soccer World Cup. I'm passionate about the America's Cup because I've been covering it for 30 years and sailing since I was 10. I remember the excitement of 1987 when Dennis Conner went to Fremantle, Australia, and retrieved the America's Cup in a fabulous series on the wild seas of the Indian Ocean.

I spent three months in Fremantle for that event and remember how we American journalists were puzzled by all the calls we were getting from friends back home wanting more information. We didn't realize that America's Cup fever had gripped a lot of people at home -- sailors and landlubbers alike -- who were sitting up until 3 a.m. to watch television images of "Stars and Stripes" defeating "Kookaburra III."

And that's why I hope the court will rule for the Americans, and that the next America's Cup will be a race between two giant multihulls from America and Switzerland, dicing around the marks at 30 knots and ripping downwind at 50. It will show the great mass of people who know nothing about sailing that it can be as exciting as any sport and help get American kids enthused about it.

And all we need for that to happen is judges who understand English.

by Eric Sharp, Detroit Free Press

ブログランキング・にほんブログ村へにほんブログ村 マリンスポーツブログ ヨットへにほんブログ村 マリンスポーツブログへ

|

« みなさま、よいお年を! | トップページ | ニューヨーク・ヨットクラブがアリンギ・CNEVを非難する意見書をNY州裁判所へ提出。 »

コメント

コメントを書く



(ウェブ上には掲載しません)


コメントは記事投稿者が公開するまで表示されません。



トラックバック


この記事へのトラックバック一覧です: N.Y. court should deny America's Cup challenge:

« みなさま、よいお年を! | トップページ | ニューヨーク・ヨットクラブがアリンギ・CNEVを非難する意見書をNY州裁判所へ提出。 »