New Zealand has won in court what it didn't win on the high seas - sailing's coveted America's Cup. But the San Diego Yacht Club hasn't decided whether it will relinquish sport's oldest trophy without an appeal.
"This is not a hollow victory when you see the issues that were at stake," Michael Fay, leader of the New Zealand sailing syndicate, said Tuesday after a New York judge ruled that San Diego's defense of the Cup was illegal.Kiwi joy contrasted with shock and bitterness in San Diego.
"There is a feeling that we've been had," yacht club attorney Mark Smith said.
A decision on whether to appeal will be made in the next few days, after attorneys brief the boards of the yacht club and its event organizer, the America's Cup Organizing Committee, said club Commodore Pat Goddard.
Skipper Dennis Conner had sailed the twin-hulled Stars and Stripes to an easy sweep of the Mercury Bay Boating Club's single-hulled New Zealand last September. Conner's 60-foot catamaran was lighter, faster and more maneuverable than its 133-foot challenger.
But in the first disqualification in the event's history, New York state judge Carmen Ciparick called the best-of-three series a "gross mismatch" and said San Diego had "paid lip service to the Cup as a competitive event."
The judge said the 102-year-old Deed of Gift that governs the race does not specify a boat size or number of hulls.