The group managing the America's Cup defense by Stars and Stripes said Sunday it is not trying to block an expected return trip to court by New Zealand following this week's yachting's extravaganza.
Malin Burnham, chairman of Sail America, sent a letter Saturday night to the New Zeland group, advising that any protests must be lodged with the race jury under terms of the International Yacht Racing Union.Michael Fay, head of the New Zealand group, has protested skipper Dennis Conner's plan to race a speedy catamaran against the larger monohull yacht. Fay says he intends to take the matter to court immediately after this week's series.
The Kiwis called a late-night news conference Saturday to reject the use of a jury to decide the catamaran issue, saying the matter falls under the Deed of Gift, the document governing the America's Cup. The New Zealanders insist all issues concerning the Deed must be handled by a judge.
"I think it's a non-event," Burnham said. "We are not taking it to the jury. We are suggesting (to New Zealand) that there is a course of action and if they don't take it, they may regret it later in a New York court."
"If the court decides at a later date that this could have been settled by the jury, then what?"
What concerns Fay's camp is the prospect of the jury ruling in favor of the San Diego Yacht Club. IYRU jury decisions are final and, should the matter return to court, could be used as ammunition by Sail America against Fay's contention the catamaran is unacceptable.
"I'm sure that if we got back to court it would be mentioned," Burnham said.
New York Supreme Court Justice C. Beauchamp Ciparick deliberated over the catamaran vs. monohull issue for several weeks before ruling in July the races should be held first and then brought back to her.
Sail America would be holding a trump card if the matter did go to the race jury. Under cup rules, San Diego does not have to name its defender until the day of the first race.