Kiwi AC team to withdraw legal action

Grant Dalton speaks to the media at the Emirates Team NZ base, earlier this year.

Emirates Team New Zealand says it will withdraw its legal action against Alinghi to ensure the success of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series. ETNZ managing director Grant Dalton said today that Alinghi has committed to sending a competitive team to Auckland if the legal proceedings were withdrawn.

'I have talked to Brad Butterworth tonight and have confirmed our position in writing.

'It is our view that this regatta - and Alinghi’s participation in it – is an important initiative towards repairing the harm that recent events have done to yacht racing at this level.

'For that reason we are prepared to respond positively to Alinghi’s commitment to the regatta by meeting its condition of discontinuing our proceedings.'

Dalton said the regatta promised to be a big event for New Zealand. Louis Vuitton and team are well down the track in organising it. We have an obligation to the many organizations and individuals who are now working with us to do anything we can to ensure its total success.

'For obvious reasons the regatta would not be the same without Alinghi’s participation. For a start our sailing team would like nothing more than meeting Butterworth and his team on Auckland Harbour in January-February.

'Entries close on October 31 and we needed to give Alinghi time to get their entry in.'

The Louis Vuitton Pacific Series will be sailed from January 30 to February 14 2009.

Twenty three sailing teams have expressed an interest in competing and up to 12 teams can be accommodated.

Sail-World comment:

Alinghi has yet to comment on this development. However the announcement last week that they were seeking to have an America's Cup regatta organised for 2010, would seem to go a long way towards satisfying Team New Zealand's requirements for certainty as to the dates of the next America's Cup.

It would seem that a deal has been done to allow Team New Zealand to plan for an America's Cup in 2010 and for the ancillary events involved in the build up to 2010.

The early date of 2010 will work heavily in favour of teams who are currently financially secure, and own AC V5 yachts, and who have a working sailing team together. From Team New Zealand's perspective, having just secured further Emirates sponsorship, they would be keen to get back into the AC regatta circuits as well as running the just announced TP52 campaign for 2009.

If Alinghi does compete in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series, it will mean that the 12th position in the series is taken. It will also provide the opportunity for Alinghi to race against BMW Oracle Racing, who are also entered in the Louis Vuitton organised event.

Sail-World understands that the Alinghi parties will wait until the New York Supreme Court opens, at 0900 EST, the suit is withdrawn by Emirates Team NZ, and then Alinghi will enter the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series.

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor