The America's Cup Defender, Alinghi, and its yacht club, the Société Nautique de Genève today issued a press release announcing Ras al-Khaimah, in the United Arab Emirates, as the venue for the 33rd America's Cup Match in February 2010. The UAE had been hinted at as the venue for the past month.
However, Tom EHMAN, spokesman for the challenger Golden Gate Yacht Club immediately issued a statement saying, “Golden Gate Yacht Club believes Société Nautique de Genève's choice of this venue, without our mutual consent, is contrary to the Deed of Gift and the decisions and orders of the New York courts. We are reviewing our options.”
In the Court Order from the Supreme Court of the State of New York on 13 May, where it was confirmed that the 33rd America's Cup Match would take place in early February 2010, it was also ordered that “the location of the match shall be in Valencia, Spain or any other location selected by the SNG, provided SNG notify GGYC in writing not less than six months in advance of the date set for the first challenge match…”. However, The Deed of Gift also includes a stipulation, that unless agreed by mutual consent between the Defender and Challenger, no match can take place in the Northern Hemisphere between 1 November and 1 May. The GGYC argue that stipulation in the Deed still applies and the Court Order makes an exception only if Valencia is chosen as the venue.
The full release from Alinghi reads:
The America's Cup Defender, Alinghi, and its yacht club, the Société Nautique de Genève, today announced the venue for the 33rd America's Cup in February 2010.
“We are pleased to announce that Ras al-Khaimah, in the United Arab Emirates, will be the Host Country for the 33rd America's Cup,” said Fred MEYER, Vice-Commodore of the Société Nautique de Genève (SNG). “This is a venue that offers perfect weather and great sailing conditions for a Match in February; the authorities have shown tremendous interest in, and support for hosting the America's Cup; and the country has experience in organising first-class sporting events such as ATP tennis, PGA golf and Formula One. They will make a purpose-built island available at the Al Hamra Village in Ras al-Khaimah to provide the America's Cup teams, sponsors and fans with an outstanding venue.”
Having won the 32nd America's Cup in 2007 in Valencia with its yacht racing team, Alinghi, the SNG is granted the right to choose the venue for the next America's Cup which is scheduled to start on 8 February 2010.
“Our absolute priorities in making this decision are the prevailing weather conditions and the resulting safety that they bring to both teams,” explains Alinghi skipper Brad BUTTERWORTH (NZL). “We looked everywhere for a venue that suited having good racing for the Match dates in February. We had trained in the UAE in the winter with Alinghi before and in the end we settled on Ras al-Khaimah in particular because of the infrastructure in Al Hamra Village and because it has a great building sea breeze during the day, similar to Mediterranean conditions in the summer, making it good for these boats and safe for all concerned.”
His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr AL QASIMI, Crown Prince of Ras al-Khaimah, expressed his satisfaction, “It is a great moment for us to host the America's Cup here. It is significant because it reflects how the Emirates have become a place for hosting international events. It is a reflection on what we have achieved in terms of becoming the destination for tourists and trade and industry and is a reflection of our integration in the world at large. This announcement reflects the nature of our country and its aim of becoming host to many nationalities who live side by side in peace. It is a hope and dream that this is the kind of space that we want to have on our globe. It is a great moment for us to host this prestigious event and to welcome all the sports people to the UAE and to Ras al-Khaimah to watch this great event; we are looking forward to its success.”
Ras al-Khaimah literally means ‘the top of the tent' in Arabic. One of the seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), it covers an area of 656 square miles (1,700km2) and borders on Oman, situated in the southern part of the Persian Gulf. The emirate has a population of approx 300,000 and is ruled by HH Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammad Al Qasimi. The Deputy Ruler is Crown Prince HH Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi. The capital city of Ras al-Khaimah is located 45 minutes from Dubai airport and is also served by the Ras al-Khaimah International airport.
A 22-hectare purpose-built island inside the Al Hamra Village lagoon will host the team bases and all the necessary facilities for the media, the sponsors and the public. The Al Hamra Village is a new luxury resort with more than 3,500 residences on the coast of Ras al-Khaimah.