Another legal tussle for America's Cup holder

Friday sees the latest assault on the beleaguered America's Cup holder, Ernesto Bertarelli's Swiss-based Alinghi, threatening a tens of millions of dollars of compensation. But the pharmaceuticals and property billionaire is not worried about what a federal court in New York may say about the claim by Team New Zealand.

Kiwi boss Grant Dalton was in Geneva at the weekend to see Bertarellli have to be content with third place in the 600-boat classic Bol d'Or, a 70-mile hike up and down Lake Geneva.

But Dalton knows that his case could take months and years to grind its way through the complex American system. Of more immediate concern to Bertarelli, smiling and relaxed despite the disappointment, are the deliberations of the appellate division of the New York courts, considering his request to overturn a previous decision by the supreme court to impose rival billionaire Larry Ellison's San Francisco-based BMW Oracle team as the sole challenger for the America's Cup.

This has derailed many other challengers, including Britain's origin team, headed by Sir Keith Mills, aided and abetted by Carphone Warehouse boss Charles Dunstone.

Bertarelli's right hand man, Australian Grant Simmer, could offer little hope of any early resolution. "I see this whole thing being battled out every step of the way," he said. "This is not a nice period for the America's Cup. In the immediate future, there are not any bright lights." In theory, Alinghi should meet BMW Oracle in a first to two wins head-to-head at a venue of Alinghi's choosing and using giant, hugely fast, terrifyingly complex multihulls.

But Simmer is not confident the matter would end there. He fears that BMW Oracle would seek grounds for further legal action if they were beaten and, although at first saying they would "probably lick our wounds and decide where we go from there" if Alinghi lost, added that there were issues to be resolved over the legality of the BMW Oracle boat - or could that be boats. As there can even be dialogue and unofficial talks between sworn enemies like the Israeli government and Hammas, he was asked if there were any secret talks between the two camps. "There is no dialogue," he said emphatically. "It's like divorce; there are a lot of divorces where people do not talk to each other."

He was referring to the split between Bertarelli and his skipper, three times cup winner Russell Coutts. Coutts is now ceo and skipper for Ellison and has the bit between his teeth. His replacement at Alinghi is Brad Butterworth, a long time confidant, tactician, and golf rival. "I only hope, when this is all over, that they will be friends again," said Simmer. "My only job now is to get this boat designed and built - work has begin further up the lake at Villeneuve. I will be happy the date it goes sailing. Right now I just want to get it over, defend the cup and defend our pride."

Recently, Sir Keith has expressed fears that the whole process could stretch until 2013 before there is a multi-challenge staging of the cup. Equally, there are fears that, if BMW Oracle were to win, Ellison may spring a fast turnaround for as early as 2010, leaving potential challengers minimal time to raise finance, design and build a boat and be ready to race.

Meanwhile, in Hyeres, southern France, Alinghi came head to head with Origin at the second iShares Cup regatta for Extreme 40s. A win for Rob Greenhalgh and crew in the double points final race of 18 over three days was not enough to stop Alinghi's Ed Baird from topping the table. After winning the Lugano lottery which was the opener in Switzerland, Shirley Robertson, in J P Morgan, was seventh in the 11-boat fleet which now moves to the Isle of Wight as part of Skandia Cowes Week at the beginning of August.

election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'