Monday, November 5, 2007

Gasolina al fuego

Gasoline on the fire. Somebody else's words, not mine.

But unless and until otherwise advised, there is no reason to assume that the publication of a box rule for 90-foot America's Cup monohulls moved the legal ball more than about six inches.

Por ejemplo (for example) . . .

Over the weekend at the Barcelona boat show, two of the big players on the Spanish scene gave a press conference. Think Gerardo Pombo, president of la Real Federación Española de Vela, sitting alongside the president of challenger of record CNEV, el Club Náutico Español de Vela (if only they had a web site, I'd give you a hotlink), who is Manuel Chirivella, who is also, cosily, vice president of la Real Federación Española de Vela.

If this keeps on keeping on, I'll have to work up a flow chart.

The reporter on the scene was Jacint Felip of, and I received my relay by reading Spanish sailing blogger Jaume Soler Albertí, who declared that his colleague, Jacint, was "stupefied" as he listened to the proceedings.

What Pombo was quoted as saying that rings loudly in my ears is that, "It is Spanish law that applies, not American law" ( “La que es válida es la ley española, no la americana”).

Does that open the door to complication, or what?

Jaume, meanwhile, seemed most taken aback by a claim by Pombo and Chirivella that it was politicians in Valencia who drove the formation of the Spanish yacht club, CNEV—or maybe it's not a yacht club, that is what a judge in the commercial division of the Supreme Court of New York is still tasked to decide—rather than the officers of the Spanish national sailing authorities or the sailing team, Desafio Español.

Or perhaps it was the statement by Chirivella describing CNEV as a legal agreement (“el CNEV es un ajuste jurídico”) to allow Desafio Español to assume a role of responsibility in the next Cup match.

The Spanish team certainly doesn't seem worried about unloading 2007 souvenir merchandise, not if this is any indication. At I find their 2007 belts marked down from 34 euros to 30.60. Not exactly a fire sale when the new price converts to something like US $44.32. Better move quickly.

Meanwhile - sorry to use something that is filtered through other writers. I'm inevitably affected by their point of view, but there's no way around it this time. And while I believe it's too late for Golden Gate Yacht Club's attorneys—or Alinghi's attorneys, if they wanted it—to "nuance" any of this into court documents already filed, it hints to me that everything you touch is still hot.

For the record, it was Jacint Felip who, describing Chirivella's comments about the possibility of an appeal to a New York court decision, used the words gasolina al fuego—Kimball