by Bob Fisher
34th America’s Cup - Artemis Racing "Big Blue", trial day 2
The after-shock of the Artemis accident on May 9th is met with rule changes announced by the Measurement Committee and approved by Race Director, Iain Murray, early on Friday July 26th.
Into the AC-72s each team must incorporate features or equipment designed to restrain and protect crew members during a capsize, or severe deceleration or any manoeuvres with a risk of crew injury. Such equipment includes the cockpits, foot straps and hand-holds, tethers and jack-lines. The full list of the boat’s safety features must be supplied to the Measurement Committee before a racing certificate is issued.
Any coverings (fairings) on the cross structure must be made of predominantly transparent material if non-rigid, or incorporate sufficient transparent viewing panels if they are rigid. This is to allow for a visual search of a trapped crewmember.
Non-structural components are defined as items that are not essential to the structural integrity of the AC-72, such as beam fairings, endplates and include any spray deflectors attached to the trampoline. Compliance with these rules is to be determined by the Measurement Committee, but remains the responsibility of the team.
In addition, the number of soft sails carried while racing has been reduced from three to two. One of these must be a jib. Thus far in the Louis Vuitton Cup, the efficacy of soft sails has been dubious. Emirates Team New Zealand was still fast upwind in the race when her jib fell down and was not replaced, and no boat has set a genniker while racing.
As yet, there are no changes in the 'elevator' rules.