Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Melanin Lenses

America's Cup World Series- Oracle Team USA to be investigated by Jury

by Richard Gladwell on 9 Aug 2013
Oracle Team USA America’s Cup World Series San Francisco 2012 october - Race Day 4. ACEA - Photo Gilles Martin-Raget © http://photo.americascup.com/

The International Jury for the 34th America's Cup has launched an inquiry under Rule 69 of the Racing Rules, following a report from the Regatta Director that Oracle Team USA's AC45's and one Ben Ainslie Racing, appeared to have deliberately have breached the class measurement rules in the America's Cup World Series.

Both teams have voluntarily withdrawn from four of the America's Cup World Series regattas, and were ordered by the International Jury to return all trophies. All series have been re-scored.

Despite the withdrawal, the International Jury and Measurement Committee have taken the matter seriously and launched an investigation under Rule 69 of the International Sailing Federation Racing Rules, which relates to Allegations of Gross Misconduct.

A report issued by the International Jury stated 'The MC’s Report concluded with the phrase ‘The modifications appear to be intentional efforts to circumvent the limitations of the AC45 class rule, and are therefore serious in nature.'

Generally speaking, deliberate breaches of class rules are regarded very seriously, as they are very difficult to detect, and sailing is a sport which relies on the integrity of sailors not to take advantage of a situation, no matter how small or insignificant.

Oracle Team USA have issued statement, which did not mention the Jury investigation, or the fact that the matter had even gone to the International Jury:

Oracle Team USA's AC45 yachts have withdrawn, retrospectively, from the last four AC World Series regattas.

This follows an internal investigation led by CEO Russell Coutts, which determined that prior to racing in the regattas the yachts were modified without the permission of the Measurement Committee. The withdrawal is in spite of the fact that the modifications had no impact on the performance of the boats.

The AC45s are a class of 45-foot training yachts used in previous world circuit regattas and have not raced since Naples in April 2013. They are distinct from the AC72 yachts (72-footers) being raced in this year’s Louis Vuitton Cup and America’s Cup.

The modifications were made over a year ago by a small number of team members involved in the AC45 circuit, without the knowledge of management or the skippers, and without having followed standard internal procedures.

'Our team is very disappointed by this turn of events, and I believe that voluntarily withdrawing from these past AC45 regattas is the appropriate corrective action,' Coutts said. 'Going forward we remain focused on our AC72 training in preparation for the upcoming America’s Cup this September.'


However the International Jury have taken a darker view of the matter stating: 'Upon receipt of the Report from OTUSA, and the MC reporting that ‘The modifications appear to be intentional efforts to circumvent the limitations of the AC45 class rule, and are therefore serious in nature’, the Jury has commenced an investigation under Racing Rules of Sailing (America’s Cup Edition) Rule 69, and Protocol Article 60. This investigation is ongoing.'

The report against Oracle Team USA was lodged by the Measurement Committee (MC) on August 5, 2013, and a Confidentiality Order was immediately applied for by the Regatta Director (RD) and Oracle Team USA (OTUSA). That Order was removed on August 7, 2013.

Commenting on his AC45 being one of the boats withdrawn, Sir Ben Ainslie emailed the International Jury stating: 'BAR was loaned the AC45 for competition by OTUSA and the boat was prepared/maintained by OTUSA. As skipper of the boat I had no knowledge whatsoever that the boat was being raced out of measurement. I am deeply disappointed by this incident and will do all I can to assist the relevant parties in any further investigations.'

It is not clear how the addition of an additional 2.5kg of weight to the kingpost on the AC45's was discovered. But it is most likely to have been during scrutineering and boat equalisation ahead of the Red Bull Youth America's Cup.

An AC45 has two kingposts, one under the wingsail and one forward of that to brace the bowsprit. Both are parts manufactured by the builder are required to have identification stickers attached by the builder, at the time of manufacture. A measurer on seeing such a sticker on that part, would be entitled to presume that the part was as originally supplied and had not been altered in anyway.

In an email to the Regatta Director, team rules advisor, Richard Slater said: 'The team has recently discovered that both yachts did not comply with the AC45 Class Rule. The team prepared and lodged a report on this matter to the America’s Cup Jury on August 4, 2013.'

The circumstances of the matter will be investigated by the International Jury, who commented: 'The RD has advised the Jury that ‘as the racing aspects of the protest have been resolved by the retirement of OTUSA and BAR from the relevant ACWS regattas and as the Jury has commenced an investigation under the Racing Rules of Sailing (America’s Cup Edition) Rule 69, and Protocol Article 60, the RD has withdrawn the protest’. .

Penalties for deliberately altering a measurement condition of a boat are treated very seriously, often resulting in substantial bans from the sport on both those directly involved and those not directly involved, but who had knowledge of the situations and did nothing.

The most serious cases have involved offshore racers who have altered measurement certificates, used tankage as water ballast, and other ways of circumventing measurement rules to gain very small advantages.

It is not believed that the addition of the weight to the kingpost would have had any effect on boatspeed, or affected the outcome of the racing, and quite why it was added is not clear.

'A' Team sailors are not believed to be involved, however they will need to show the Jury that they had no knowledge of the additional weight. As many as 40 crew could be interviewed by the International Jury - hugely disruptive to the team as it builds in its final month ahead of the 34th America's Cup.

Rule 69 investigations are almost with precedent in the America's Cup, with the closest being the transfer of design data between teams ahead of the 2003 America's Cup. However that was undertaken under the provisions of the Protocol governing the event and not the International Sailing Federation racing rules, which prescribe for complete bans from the sport, which the Protocol cannot do in itself.

The full report from the International Jury can be read by http://noticeboard.americascup.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/JN096.pdf!clicking_here

X-Yachts AUS X4 - 660 - 2Abell Point Marina 660x82 MoorMondo Travel - Americas Cup Tour - 4885

Related Articles

The Great Dane dies at 88 + Video
One of the heroes of sailing, Paul Elvstrøm (DEN) has died at the age of 88 years. One of the heroes of sailing, Paul Elvstrøm (DEN) has died at the age of 88 years. Known as the Great Dane, and winner of four Olympic Gold Medals, and many world championships in multiple classes from dinghies to keelboats, Elvstrøm put a footprint on the sport like no other.
Posted on 7 Dec
America's Cup - Kiwi lodges Appeal against Jury in San Francisco Cup
Former Oracle Team USA crew member, Matthew Mitchell (NZL) has lodged an Appeal against a Decision to dismiss his case Former Oracle Team USA crew member, Matthew Mitchell (NZL) has lodged an Appeal against a Decision to dismiss his case taken against the International Jury for the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco. On October 28, 2016, US District Judge Vince Chhabria dismissed Mitchell's claim against the five-person International Jury on the basis that it was lodged too late.
Posted on 2 Dec
A Q&A with Nick Bice about the recent changes for the 2017/2018 VOR
I caught up with Nick Bice, the VOR’s director of boats and maintenance, to learn more about the VOR’s new directions. I recently had the pleasure of hearing Nick Bice, the Volvo Ocean Race’s director of boats and maintenance, deliver a keynote speech to an audience of marine-industry professionals and official Volvo Ocean Race suppliers at the 2016 METS trade show in Amsterdam. I caught up with Bice after his presentation to learn more about the new directions that the race is taking for its thirteenth edition.
Posted on 28 Nov
A Q&A with Sharon Green about the prep work that ensures great images
I talked with ace photographer Sharon Green to learn more about the prep work that goes into each image that she snaps. I caught up with ace photographer Sharon Green at the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds to learn more about the behind-the-scenes preparation work that goes into each image that she snaps. While some of Green’s tips are specific to professional shooters (e.g., helicopter time or juggling multiple camera bodies), plenty of amateur lensmen will be well served to consider Green’s racecourse-proven tips.
Posted on 23 Nov
Dockside with CQS - radical, revamped supermaxi up close
The revamped supermaxi CQS is currently in Auckland's Silo Marina, ahead of her first race on Friday The revamped supermaxi CQS is currently in Auckland's Silo Marina, ahead of her first race on Friday - the White Island Race which will double as Rolex Sydney Hobart Qualifier. Originally the 90ft Nicorette designed by South African Alex Simonis, the new project to upgrade to a 100ft supermaxi has been led by Brett Bakewell-White (NZ) and Bakewell-White Yacht Design.
Posted on 22 Nov
Cabbage Tree Island Race 2016 Video
A warm evening saw the start of this year’s CYCA Cabbage Tree Island Race in a yellow haze with the fleet initially mix A warm evening saw the start of this year’s CYCA Cabbage Tree Island Race in a yellow haze with the fleet initially mixing it with the various twilighters. A 15 knot NNE saw the fleet reach their way through the Heads before heading into the breeze and up the coast. Bow Caddy caught the full fleet out of the harbour.
Posted on 20 Nov
Gladwell's Line - President Croce caught at helm in Perfect Storm
No real surprise that incumbent President Carlo Croce (ITA) was unseated mid-way an eight-year term After a year or more punctuated with issues that should not have happened, it is no real surprise that incumbent President Carlo Croce (ITA) was unseated mid-way through what should have been an eight-year term. Also gone is one of his lieutenants, Chris Atkins (GBR) as Vice President, who remarkably polled 13th out of the 15 candidates.
Posted on 15 Nov
Farr 40s One Design Trophy – Kokomo leads after Day 1 + Video
The first round of the Farr 40s One Design Trophy was contested with less wind than predicted but enough to encourage The first round of the Farr 40s One Design Trophy was contested with less wind than predicted but enough to encourage close racing between the seven competitors. Kokomo won the second and fourth races with Estate Master taking the first and the third leaving Kokomo in first place at the end of Day 1. Bow Caddy was on the harbour and caught some of the action.
Posted on 23 Oct
Gladwell's Line -The America's Cup settlement deal
The 'News' today that Emirates Team New Zealand has won their case before the Arbitration Panel is not news The 'News' today that Emirates Team New Zealand has won their case before the America's Cup Arbitration Panel is not new - Sail-World reported the same story in the first and second weeks of September. The Hearing on the amount of compensation to be paid is yet to be held. So far we have been unable to discover a date if indeed one has been set. Maybe next year?
Posted on 11 Oct
CYCA Lion Island Race 2016 - Race Finish Video
A constant 22 knot southerly wind made for a very quick trip up to Lion Island and back to Sydney Harbour for the CYCA A constant 22 knot southerly wind made for a very quick trip up to Lion Island and back to Sydney Harbour for the CYCA fleet in the latest of the Ocean Pointscore races. Bow Caddy caught the first six boats at they came around North Head on the return leg. Look out for the whales when the whale watching boat is in shot.
Posted on 8 Oct