PERTH, AUSTRALIA, NOV. 26 -- Australian millionaire Alan Bond's yachting syndicate, which won the America's Cup from the United States for the first time in 1983, today hailed a judge's decision that cleared the way for a 1988 challenge in boats measuring 90 feet on the waterline.

The syndicate's manager, John Longley, said he had expected the New York Supreme Court to rule in favor of New Zealand's Michael Fay.

"It has vindicated our belief that the 90-footers have a right to participate in the challenge," Longley said.

Bond, who used the Australia II 12-meter yacht to wrest the prestigious trophy from the United States, and Warren Jones, the syndicate's executive director, were not available for comment.

Longley said his syndicate supported Fay's surprising challenge to the San Diego Yacht Club (SDYC), which won back the trophy in February, and already had begun building a 90-footer for the next series.

The SDYC wanted to hold the competition in traditional 12-meter boats in 1990-91. Fay claimed the 1887 Deed of Gift, which governs the regatta, allows a foreign yacht club to challenge for the Cup as early as 10 months after the last race and allows the challenger to determine the location of the race and type of vessel to be used.

Longley said his syndicate's boat would not actually race unless the SDYC decides to allow multiple syndicates to race in an elimination series to decide a challenger instead of having a one-on-one series with New Zealand.