Team New Zealand will have internal discussions before responding to America’s Cup yachting defenders Alinghi’s proposal to hold the next multi-challenger regatta in 2010.
Team NZ managing director Grant Dalton said today that the issue was far from straightforward.
He said it could take several months before the New York State Appeals Court made what would be the final ruling in the legal battle between American syndicate Oracle and Alinghi.
Until that ruling was handed down, Alinghi would not know if they were in a position to go ahead with their plan.
If the decision went against Alinghi, the Swiss defenders would be forced into a one-on-one cup match with Oracle, with the winners organising the next multi-challenger regatta.
“So the uncertainty remains,” Dalton said.
Team NZ also have legal action going against Alinghi, claiming tens of millions of dollars in compensation because of the delay to the next multi-challenger event, originally scheduled for next year.
Dalton said Team NZ had been in discussions with Alinghi for some weeks regarding settlement, but without result so far.
Alinghi, headed by billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, announced today that they hoped to relaunch the America’s Cup before the credit crunch forced teams to abandon the event.
They said entries had been reopened until December 15.
The proposed timetable was to have pre-regattas next year using the existing class of boat, followed by a cup match in 2010 with a new, faster monohull to be drafted by the entered teams.
Racing would be off the Spanish city of Valencia, the venue for last year’s cup regatta.
Alinghi skipper Brad Butterworth said both Oracle and Team NZ were invited to abandon their respective legal proceedings and join the competition.
“We feel that there is an opportunity to move ahead with the competition,” New Zealander Butterworth said.
“We want to get this competition going and get the entered challengers to participate in a constructive process.”
Last year, Alinghi and Team NZ produced one of the most thrilling finals in the cup’s 157-year history.
Since then, efforts to organise the 33rd edition of international sport’s oldest competition have blocked, as Oracle seek to establish themselves as challenger of record (COR), or representative of the challenging syndicates.
Oracle argue that the COR recognised by Alinghi, Spain’s Club Nautico Espanol de Vela (CNEV), was an invalid entity under the Deed of Gift, the 19th Century document governing cup racing.
They say rule changes made by Alinghi with CNEV were unfairly weighted towards the defenders.
In March, a New York court ruled in favour of Oracle, but the decision was overturned in July by an appellate court.
Oracle, headed by billionaire Larry Ellison, have launched a last-chance appeal and indicated on Thursday that they would stick to the courts.
“We remain very receptive to engaging in direct discussions about the future of the America’s Cup with Alinghi, and including all the other competitors, but without Alinghi’s unreasonable preconditions,” Oracle said in a statement.