BY APB Staff on 7 Dec 2023

The Court of Cassation has delivered a ruling that ends seven years of legal wrangling.

© Cannes Yachting Festival — Abracadabra Studios

Photo: Cannes Yachting Festival — Abracadabra Studios

The Court of Cassation, the supreme court for civil and criminal cases in France, has confirmed RX France’s right to operate the Cannes Yachting Festival up to 2041. This decision follows years of legal wrangling over management rights between the French leisure boating industry federation and RX France.

After the decision by the Paris Court of Appeal in 2021, which ruled in favour of RX France, the Fédération des Industries Nautiques (FIN) referred its case to the Court of Cassation which confirmed the ruling of the Court of Appeal on Wednesday (6 December 2023).

The ruling ends seven years of legal proceedings initiated by the FIN, during which the Féderation took out numerous litigation actions in relation to the contractual agreement it had entered into with RX France. FIN had its proceedings against RX France definitively dismissed by the Autorité de la Concurrence (Competition Authority) in 2017, and another action taken against the Nice-Côte d’Azur ICC was dismissed by the Nice Administrative Court in 2020.

“We welcome this favourable decision with great satisfaction as it definitively acknowledges our rights and clearly sets the record straight following all the counter-truths heard over the past 7 years,” says Michel Filzi, chairman of RX France.

“Even before this court ruling, we had opened a new page with the FIN. We renewed a calm, dispassionate dialogue with the new FIN chair, elected in 2022, and his new team, and at the most recent Yachting Festival, we were already able to work together, one example being the launch of the Posidonia initiative.

“Despite the difficult legal context over the past seven years, we have continued to innovate and increase the international reach of the event for the benefit of our customers and the global yachting community as a whole. By creating a new Sailing Area in Port Canto, expanding the in- water exhibition areas in the Vieux Port for motor boats, and highlighting the sustainable offering, we continue to work tirelessly to offer the French and international sailing community an exceptional experience.”

Cannes Vieux Port renovation area

Cannes Vieux Port renovation area.

Sylvie Ernoult, event director, adds: “I am very happy now that this unfortunate judicial saga is behind us. And I am proud of how the Cannes Yachting Festival has evolved over the past few years. In close collaboration with the French and international yachting community, and thanks to some highly innovative initiatives, we have succeeded in consolidating Cannes’s position as the leading in-water festival in Europe for all sectors, and the global leader for sailing boats. Over the last seven years, the Festival surface area has increased by over 50 per cent and the number of boats has increased from 630 to 705.

“The next three years will be marked by the transformation of the Vieux Port and the work this will entail. Therefore, in order to maintain both the Yachting Festival’s prestige and reputation all over the world and the high satisfaction rates of our exhibitors and visitors, we are continuing to work closely with the City of Cannes, the new port manager and other stakeholders in the sector in preparing the upcoming festivals.”

The next Cannes Yachting Festival, operated by RX France, will take place from Tuesday 10 to Sunday 15 September 2024.

Saxdor 400 GTO among Saxdor fleet at Cannes Yachting Festival 2023.

Ongoing renovation on the waterfront at Cannes means new areas are being created in Port Canto for the 2024 edition. The modernisation works means land-based and in-water areas of the show located in the Vieux Port will have to be modified, resulting in new areas being created in Port Canto.

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