(La Republica, December 2, 1987)
“Dear George, for this America’s Cup we bled, fought among ourselves, suffered criticism and controversy, that’s enough. After all, the cup is yours, you decide what you do with it.” Jerry Elbridge, the dean of the New York Yacht Club, was embittered in the fall of 1887. For thirty years, the America’s Cup took place amid incredible absurdities and polygons that threatened to undermine its prestige and credibility. “Dear Jerry – answered George Schuyler – I am now old, I won’t be able to live much longer but I want the cup to go on. We can’t carry on with unfair rules brazenly favoring Americans but we can’t encourage foreigners too much who defy us. We prepare a new slate and go to the judge to sign it, and whoever comes after us will have a certain document for reference.” George Schuyler was the last survivor of six Sailboat America owners who won in August 1851 at Cowes, racing against thirteen English sailing ships, the 100 Guinness Trophy presented by Prince Albert and later called the America’s Cup.
Schuyler was a gentleman who enjoyed his life after investing (well) in the fledgling American railroad to study literature and play sailing. After Schuyler’s victory, brothers John, Edwin Stevens, Hamilton Wilkes, Jimilton and Beckman Finley enjoyed displaying the silver trophy, which weighs more than four kilograms, in their stately mansions for several years. They were tired of the cup coming and going, at one point they thought about melting it down and getting six commemorative medals. Then American pride prevailed and they decided to return the trophy for their capture. Let’s see if these picky Brits can win on their own turf. They thus loaned the Trophy to the New York Yacht Club of which they were members by agreement that as the original owners they would always have the last word on the fate of the Trophy and the race associated with it. The first agreement with the club was signed in 1857 and subsequently amended several times. On October 24, 1887, George Schuyler and 76-year-old Commodore Jerry Elbridge went to Judge Hamilton in the New York Supreme Court and signed the deed of giftIt is a trophy donation instrument. Schuyler died a few years later and verb The only law remained in the America’s Cup. For example, it stated that boats permitted to enter “if they have only one mast, must have a waterline of not less than 44 feet (13.41 m) and not more than 90 (27.43 m)”. But it also states that the challenger “may give ten months’ notice of the next challenge”, and that “the challenger’s boat shall travel by its own means to the ranger’s racecourse”, which “must be built in the country in which the club launching the challenge belongs”.
Since then, all subsequent versions of the cup have followed these exact rules. Until 1956, when the Americans re-launched the competition (which had been “sleeping” since 1939) they unilaterally decided to reserve it for international banks of the 12-meter type that cost much less than the dinosaurs of the past of 40 and more. meters. To do so, they succeeded in obtaining two amendments to the New York Court deed of gift: Reducing the minimum length (to allow 12m re-entry) and eliminating the hard boat obligation to sail to the United States. Since then, everyone has negatively agreed to this situation. On the other hand, New Zealand banker Michael Fay, who carefully re-read the piece of paper, realized that he would not be at all wrong when he asked to play the next cup in ten months and with a boat of different sizes. So last August he launched a challenge this June with a boat that, instead of staying at the minimum scale planned, is at its maximum: 90 feet at the waterline. The Americans argued that this was inadmissible but the New York court agreed with Faye. “A different decision – the court rightly noted – would have violated the grantor’s will.”
The Americans took it poorly, too, because the type of boat Fey proposed saw New Zealand designers outperform on a global scale. The San Diego Yacht Club (which holds the trophy for winning it in February with Stars and Stripes) will give its answer tomorrow: If he accepts Fay’s challenge, he’ll have to choose the race track and type of boat to oppose him. kiwi. If he does not accept, he will have to return the trophy to the Perth Yacht Club which will bring it back again for capture in Australian waters. Ignore this last hypothesis, which seems implausible (but is expected in deed of gift), let’s see what would happen if they accepted in San Diego. The deed of gift The Challenger gives the possibility to choose the size of the boat, but it does not require the ranger to run with a boat of the same type and size. So the Americans could, revolution after revolution, decide to defend the trophy with a raft, the kind of boat in which their technology excels and which can be faster.
A catamaran versus a 30-meter “derivative” with a 60-meter mast: the regatta will be truly unforgettable. Americans could also cut off Faye’s legs in another way: by choosing a race track so windy that a New Zealand boat could not be managed by bringing it to the shipwreck border. With that in mind, Hawaii has already been mentioned as a potential competition field for next June. With winds gusting 25-30 knots in those parts, Faye’s boat would be really at a disadvantage. There is one hitch, however: The city of San Diego and its sponsors were willing to invest billions in the next America’s Cup as long as it was taking place under its windows rather than thousands of miles away. But racing with Faye in San Diego where the winds are light would mean giving the trophy to New Zealand. There are those who argue that Americans have a secret move in store: reintroduction deed of gift Competitor’s obligation to reach the United States by sea. Fey’s boat, so fragile and light, will never work. Third and final premise: San Diego Yachting Club will appeal to the US Supreme Court with the (very weak) hope of disqualification of New Zealanders in court rather than on the racetrack.
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