MADRID: A New York judge could rule on a battle between Alinghi and BMW Oracle over the next America's Cup in a couple of weeks, the teams said after a court hearing on Monday.
A swift decision could yet avoid the 33rd America's Cup being postponed beyond 2009, when Alinghi is due to defend sailing's most coveted prize in Valencia, Spain.
BMW Oracle has taken Alinghi to court arguing that the Swiss defender chose an illegitimate yacht club to help set the rules for the next America's Cup, which the San Francisco-based team says are unfairly weighted in Alinghi's favor.
"We are pleased Justice (Herman) Cahn said he would settle it soon. We all understand that to be in the next two to four weeks," Tom Ehman, spokesman for BMW Oracle's home yacht club GGYC, told Reuters by phone.
Alinghi and BMW Oracle met before the hearing at the New York Supreme Court to try to reach a compromise, but again failed to settle their three-month row.
Both sides said the talks had been "constructive" and would go on over the next few weeks while the judge considered the case.
In the past months, Alinghi has clarified and changed some of the rules and allowed more teams a say in the design of the new America's Cup yachts to try to settle the suit out of court.
Alinghi says that every time it moves to answer BMW Oracle's concerns, the U.S. team throws up new arguments.
Monday's hearing focused on whether Alinghi's challenger of record, Spanish yacht club CNEV, met the rules set out in the "Deed of Gift", the document that has governed the America's Cup since 1887.
Some critics, not only within BMW Oracle, say the Spanish team is too inexperienced to represent all the challengers and act as a strong counterweight to Alinghi in the running of the event.
"The argument is a technical one. It is a straight-out legal interpretation of the Deed of Gift," Alinghi General Counsel Hamish Ross said in a statement.
Source: China Daily/Agencies