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Committee to Resolve Cup Battle : * Sailing: Despite this request, challengers say rule puts their boats at a distinct disadvantage.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The perceived threat of an America’s Cup boycott by challenging syndicates was defused Thursday when the challengers asked the Trustees’ Committee to resolve a dispute about when their boats must be in San Diego for next year’s competition.

The America’s Cup Organizing Committee, as agent of the San Diego Yacht Club, has said 10 challengers’ boats must be identified by measurement by Dec. 20, although trials will not start until more than a month later. The challengers say anytime before the start of their trials should be soon enough.

Even so, the challengers say they will be at a disadvantage because the two defenders may replace a boat used in their trials anytime before the final Cup match in May. The challengers are allowed no substitutions once their trials commence.

Stan Reid, chairman of the Challenger of Record Committee, said the early deadline is a departure from previous multinational Cup competitions.

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“San Diego Yacht Club is not prepared to accept that the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup (challenger trials) is the logical date,” Reid said. “We therefore have no choice but to ask the Trustees to decide.”

Tom Ehman, executive vice president of the ACOC, met with Reid this week but remains firm on his position.

“We believe it’s fair and it’s right,” Ehman said. “We disagree on the interpretation of the Deed of Gift, so we’ll get it resolved.”

The Trustees’ Committee, representing the San Diego, New York and Royal Perth Yacht Clubs, was established in 1988 to resolve such disputes without going to court.

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Requests for its actions must be addressed and participants are pledged to accept its decisions. The clubs will be represented by their commodores--Sandy Purdon, Dyer Jones and Phil Mostyn, respectively. Purdon said they probably will meet the week of Oct. 14.

“We’ll sit down with the two parties and try to be fair,” Purdon said. “I hope I can go beyond just the interest of the club and look at what’s best for the Cup.”

Purdon added, “It looks to me that by accepting the (new America’s Cup) class, that’s tantamount to giving the dimensions of the boat.”


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