Presenting yet another (probably minor) hurdle for Larry Ellison's moment of yachting glory, a lawsuit has bubbled up for the second or third time from a North Carolina-based sailing team that sought to challenge Oracle Racing in the America's Cup. The suit claims that Golden Gate Yacht Club, which holds the previous trophy and is hosting this year's race, did not give good-faith consideration to the team known as African Diaspora Maritime, a non-profit sailing club which trains African-American sailors. A.D.M. was the only American team to get an application in before the March 2011 deadline to challenge Oracle; however, it remains unclear that the team ever had the financial backing necessary to present a serious challenge the four teams participating in the race have all spent at least $100 million so far.
Golden Gate Yacht Club had discretion to determine whether each applicant team had "the necessary resources (including but not limited to financial, human, and technological) and experience to have a reasonable chance of winning the America’s Cup Defender Series." A New York law firm representing A.D.M. believes they have a case, and may seek an injunction to delay the America's Cup finals, which are scheduled to start on September 7. A New York court initially dismissed the case, but now a state appellate court has bounced it back again, and thus the news has made the New York Times as yet another embarrassment for for the troubled race.
It's unclear what A.D.M. and its lawyers are actually after here. There is a very detailed brief to the appellate court arguing the various terms surrounding the race and its protocols, but whether the team actually has a boat to put in the race is unclear. As founder Charles Kithcart says on the organization's website and in the video below, A.D.M. was put together specifically in order to race in the America's Cup and raise awareness of African American mariners. But this may end up proving to be an example of litigation for litigation's sake.