by Bob Fisher
Oracle Racing Coutts - AC45 - the fleet race of the AC World Series day 4, Plymouth, UK.
It wasn’t until Friday that the Measurement Committee issued some of its findings. These contradicted earlier reports that all three of Oracle Team USA’s AC-45s had been modified out of class. All three had been withdrawn from races in the series and the results were being re-processed.
Now it appears that No. 5, the boat named Oracle Racing – Coutts, had not been tampered with at all. The weight of the forward kingpost, that many refer to as the dolphin striker, was 0.002 kg more than the standard. Oracle Racing – Spithill – boat No. 4 – was 0.248 kg in excess, while the BAR boat was wildly out. Her dolphin striker was 2.328 kg too heavy.
The main kingpost – the one immediately under the mast – of the BAR boat was not weighed, but the one from the Coutts boat, which showed signs of some legitimate repair, was 0.364 kg too heavy and that of Spithill’s boat was 1.522 kgs in excess.
When the upper fitting of the kingpost on Spithill’s boat was removed, a plastic bag was uncovered that contained granular ferrous material. That was definitely placed with intent to alter the boat’s performance. Otherwise the other anomalies were considered within normal limits.
Boat No. 5 – Oracle Team – Coutts is to be reinstated in the ACWS and that will show in the re-scoring that is currently underway. (S-W understands that Oracle Team USA will apply to the Regatta Director/International Jury to be re-instated from the events from which they withdrew.)
Such confusion that arose, the Measurement Committee maintains, was due to bad communication or a misunderstanding on its part on previous statements made by ACRM boatbuilder, Glyn Davies, which had been misinterpreted. Such confusion arose because of the nomenclature of both of the structures being referred to as 'kingposts' without further specification.