America’s Cup Arbitration Panel Adjourns
AMERICA’S CUP ARBITRATION PANEL ADJOURNS AFTER TWO DAYS HEARINGS – EARLIEST DECISION MONDAY
AUCKLAND, DECEMBER 8, 2002–The America’s Cup Arbitration Panel adjourned tonight after two days of hearings into an application for disqualification of the Seattle Yacht Club’s OneWorld Challenge for improper possession and use of other syndicates’ design information.
The five senior jurists who make up the Panel will meet tomorrow morning as they consider the merits of the application by the New York Yacht Club and the Yacht Club Punta Ala. For the last two days the Panel has heard cross-examination of witnesses for both sides, ending with lengthy summations this afternoon. Although a decision is possible tomorrow, it might take several days.
Notwithstanding the possibility of a finding against OneWorld Challenge, the first races in the Semi Finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup competition to decide the challenger for the America’s Cup will start tomorrow at 1:00 PM local time, weather permitting.
The Seattle Yacht Club’s OneWorld is slated to sail against the Punta Ala Yacht Club’s Luna Rossa. In the other match, the Swiss challenger Alinghi will race the Oracle BMW Racing’s USA-76 from the San Francisco Yacht Club.
In a separate action, a protest by Team Dennis Conner’s Stars & Stripes against OneWorld under the Unfair Sailing Rule is scheduled to start at 6:00 PM tomorrow before the International Jury. The protest is linked to the case before the Panel and is contingent on its outcome. The hearing is expected to be delayed until the Panel reaches a decision.
OneWorld’s counsel Ian Thain acknowledged to the Panel today that Ian Mitchell, one of its designers, had a backup computer zip disk with design information from Team New Zealand in his possession in violation of the Protocol governing the conduct of the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America’s Cup. He submitted it was a minor offence.
James Farmer, QC, for the applicants, said OneWorld had tried to recreate the benchmark that Team New Zealand had reached at the end of the last America’s Cup. OneWorld had done this by hiring Team New Zealand members and encouraging them to recreate the New Zealand designs as the springboard for its own design efforts.
While it awaits the outcome of the two cases, the crew of Team Dennis Conner’s Stars & Stripes has continued training and boat preparation to race in the coming series, in the event of a disqualification of OneWorld.
For additional coverage on the Official Louis Vuitton Cup web site, read “Arbitration Panel Starts Its Deliberations” http://www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com/story1313.html and “International Jury Set To Hear Rule Two Protest” http://www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com/story1302.html
Team Dennis Conner and the New York Yacht Club have partnered to put forth the finest team of American designers, sailors, boat builders and shore side support to win America’s Cup XXXI and return the America’s Cup to the United States. The America’s Cup season began on October 1, 2002 with a four-month challenger elimination series known as the Louis Vuitton Cup. The winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup will challenge Team New Zealand for the right to defend the America’s Cup in a best of nine series starting on February 15, 2003.
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Team Dennis Conner’s Suppliers are 3M, Air New Zealand, Airgas, Airtech, APL Limited, Arc Second, Bathysphere Digital Media Services, Columbus Line, Digi International, Dupont, Earth Tech, Itronix, Lewmar Marine, McLube, Media Bin, Munters, Nautica Eyewear, New England Ropes, Newport Adhesives & Composites, Omnisonics Medical, Pacer Technologies, Parker, Plastimo, Protector, Remy Amerique, Saucony, WiTango and Xygent.