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America's Cup On Rocky Waters

The back and forth battle between Swiss billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli and American billionaire Larry Ellison doesn’t seem to be getting any closer to resolution.

The America's Cup trophy
AP
The America's Cup trophy

Late yesterday, ahead of today’s hearing in front of a New York Supreme Court judge, Ellison’s legal team -- represented by David Boies and Phillip Bowman of Boies, Schiller & Flexner -– requested that the parent company of Bertarelli’s Alinghi team, Societe Nautique de Geneve (SNG), be replaced as the trustee presiding over the 33rd America’s Cup battle between the two teams.

SNG became the trustee of the prestigious sailing race by virtue of winning the 32nd version of the race in July 2007. But Ellison’s Golden Gate Yacht Club, which manages the BMW Oracle boat, has alleged that SNG has since breached its fiduciary obligation.

Ellison’s team only became the challenger of record after they successfully sued SNG for challenging a team in Spain for the America’s Cup. While the most public argument has since been about the security of the venue SNG has since picked — a lesser-known emirate named Ras Al-Khaimah — the latest filing levies ugly allegations against SNG.

Ellison’s legal team alleges that SNG entered into a secret arrangement with the International Sailing Federation that would allow for SNG to change the rules of the race as it wants when it wants. They also say that the location of the race violates the prohibition of having a race in the Northern Hemisphere between November and May.

The first race of the 33rd America’s Cup is scheduled to happen in February, but with the way things are going, who knows if that’s ever going to happen?

Here is my interview with David Boies on the topic yesterday.

Please note that the BMW Oracle boat is not docked in the UAE.

The boat has been in San Diego.

Update: The judge ruled on Tuesday afternoon that America's Cup can't be raced in Ras Al-Khaimah because it not consistent with the Deed of Trust.

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