Please select your home edition
Edition
Collinson and Co

America's Cup- Oracle Team USA principals called to Hearing on Friday

by Richard Gladwell on 29 Aug 2013
Jimmy Spithill sailing Oracle Team USA’s first AC45 - San Francisco Guilain Grenier Oracle Team USA © http://www.oracleteamusamedia.com/

Several of Oracle Team USA's top management have been named as witnesses in a Hearing to be conducted on Friday, August 30, 2013 in San Francisco.

Those named include Russell Coutts (OTUSA CEO), Grant Simmer (OTUSA General Manger), Jimmy Spithill (OTUSA Skipper), Mark Turner (OTUSA Shore Team Manager), Richard Slater (OTUSA Rules Advisor) and Andrew Henderson (Rig Team Manager).

Also called as a witness is Chief Measurer, Nick Nicholson. The team and International Jury may call other witnesses as required.

The date of the Hearing under Article 60 of the Protocol governing the 34th America's Cup has been twice moved, originally to accommodate the unavailability or Oracle Team USA's legal counsel, Phil Bowman. The team will also be represented by Golden Gate Yacht Club Vice Commodore, Tom Ehman an acknowledged rules expert and with an America's Cup Jury and Rules experience stemming back to 1980.

The Article 60 Hearing, to determine whether the team has bought the event into disrepute, is being conducted under the provision of the so-called Dalton Amendment - implemented after event organisers took exception to some comments being made about the conduct of the regatta by Emirates Team NZ Managing Director and grinder, Grant Dalton.

The Hearing on Friday, follows a separate Hearing under Rule 69.1 of the International Sailing Federation Rules governing Allegations of Gross Misconduct. The details, and indeed date of that Hearing has been kept confidential. It is possible that it has already been held. A transcript from that Hearing will be included in the evidence in Friday's Hearing.

Generally Rule 69.1 can only be be used against a boat (meaning the crew collectively), and/or its owner - who is deemed to be responsible event though he or she may not be directly involved. But under the America's Cup version of the Racing Rules it is extended to include any person 'associated with a competitor', meaning that non-sailing crew are embraced.

The fact that the principals have been called as witnesses should not be taken as an indication that they were directly involved.

Also included will be various reports from the Measurement Committee, reports from Oracle Team USA as to its own investigations into boat tampering, after measurement, on two of its AC45's used in the America's Cup World Series. A third boat was involved, sailed by multiple Olympic Gold medalist Ben Ainslie (his boat was supplied and managed by Oracle Team USA), and significantly Ainslie has not been named in the witness list, indicating that he has been exonerated of wrong-doing.

The initial report from Oracle Team USA stated that three members of its shore crew and one member of their sailing crew were involved. It did not name the individuals, or say if the sailing crew member was an 'A-Lister'.

Molehill turns into a Mountain
The Hearings bring to a close what should have been a minor measurement incident that has escalated into the most serious form of disciplinary Hearing in the sport.

It relates to the finding on July 26, that a builder supplied part, a kingpost, of three AC45's managed by America's Cup Defenders Oracle Team USA, had been tampered with, by having additional weight added to them.

The kingposts, also known as dolphin strikers, are struts that are located under the wingsail and sprit, through which support rigging is run and tensioned to spread structural loads in the AC45's and indeed most multihulls. The AC45's have two kingposts.

The weight discrepancy was discovered by boatbuilders working for America's Cup Regatta Management (ACRM), not members of Oracle Team USA.

The amount of additional weight added was miniscule, and it is equally hard to understand why it would be located outside of the prescribed corrector weight area, however the point is that it was a breach of the Class Rules for the AC45 - which is a one design manufacturer supplied class.

A second report from the Measurement Committee highlighted the fact that the length and end fittings on some of the kingposts used in the Oracle Team USA 45's were of a different length and internal construction than the factory supplied kingposts. And further that while other kingposts had been removed and repaired by other teams they were all identical to the factory supplied items. While two of those from the Oracle boats had a measurable variance.

This issue should have been a relatively simple matter of the team identifying the people involved, the circumstances, and providing the Measurer with a full explanation - all within 24 hours. Had they done so, they could maybe have avoided the ignominy of withdrawing from the last four events of the America's Cup World Series, of which Oracle Team USA had won three and finished second in the other, together with the two Hearings.

One of the reports to be considered by the International Jury will be from America's Cup Events Authority commenting on its views as to what they consider to be the impact of Oracle Team USA's actions on the sport and America's Cup. That report was to be filed on August 28.

The Jury has indicated that penalties which may be imposed will not be limited to those prescribed in the Protocol. Penalties imposed under Article 60 are restricted to just the America's Cup. The International Jury cannot impose an all-of-sport penalty which may only be done by the International Sailing Federation after receiving and considering a report from an International Jury, after a Hearing conducted under Rule 69 of the ISAF's Racing Rules, or the national sports body of the host country, in this case US Sailing.

Suspensions from the sport are moderately common in Code of Conduct style cases, whether or not they are also criminal offenses.

Zhik HydrobaseMake Fast MooringsMondo Travel - Americas Cup Tour - 5385

Related Articles

New Pacific 52 class makes its debut in San Francisco
The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. Invisible Hand for San Francisco's Frank Slootman replaces his earlier RP63 of the same name. She will soon be joined by a second Cookson build, Bad Pack (Tom Holthus) from the same moulds. A third, RIO 52 is for RIO 100 supermaxi owner Manouch Moshayedi.
Posted on 18 Mar
Securely moored to the quay, or cast adrift?
With boating, you have to cast the lines off in order to go and get into it. With boating, you have to cast the lines off in order to go and get into it. However, when it comes to your insurer, you kind of expect that they’re going to be as bound to you as the standing rigging is to the mast, the ring frames to the hull, or the engine mounts to the runners, and the propellers to the shafts, skegs and cutlass bearings. Whom would you rather be insured with?
Posted on 15 Mar
Gladwell's Line - Of Carnage, Characters and Colour
About this time of an America's Cup season, the sap begins rising as new boats are launched About this time of an America's Cup season, the sap begins rising as new boats are launched, and Cup fans get their first sight of the various team designers' response to the latest America's Cup Class rule. In the monohull days, of course, we initially only got a partial glimpse thanks to the shrouding practices adopted by all teams to hide the nether regions of their America's Cupper
Posted on 13 Mar
So what’s it really like?
For ages now, these editorials have talked about multihull this, record that, outrageous boat speed and 24-hour runs For ages now, well it seems like that anyway, these editorials have talked about multihull this, record that, outrageous boat speed and incredible 24-hour runs. In their own very unique way they totally represent the technical avant-garde, and thank God for that. Where would we be without their impressive shapes, wonderful rigs, and now of course, foiling magic.
Posted on 6 Mar
JJ Giltinan 18ft - Kiwi Champion the subject of two protests in Sydney
Overall series leader Yamaha will have her position put on the line in a series of protest hearings on Friday Overall series leader Yamaha will have her position put on the line in a series of protest hearings Friday morning in Sydney. She faces two claims - both from Appliancesonline (David Witt). The first is an attempt to re-open the Hearing held on Wednesday morning after Yamaha was suffered damage in Race 3 as a result of a collision with a give way yacht, and Yamaha received redress of average
Posted on 3 Mar
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ give first look at the pedaling AC50
Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. The team has been sailing for the previous two days making news headlines after it was revealed in Sail-World.com that the AC50 would become only the second yacht in America's Cup history to use pedal power.
Posted on 16 Feb
America's Cup - Kiwis sign Olympic Cyclist for the Tour de Bermuda
Ttop cyclist Simon van Velthooven, a 2012 Olympic Bronze cycling medallist had been signed by the America's Cup team Emirates Team New Zealand put in a second foiling display on Auckland's Waitemata harbour ahead of the official launching of their AC50 tomorrow. With brighter skies the cycling team took their places on the pedalstals and used leg power to provide the hydraulic pressure necessary to run the AC50's control systems for the foils and wingsail.
Posted on 15 Feb
A Q&A with Anna Tunnicliffe about her return to competitive sailing
I talked with Anna Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing. Anna Tunnicliffe won gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in the Laser Radial before shifting her sights to the Women’s Match Racing event for the London 2012 Olympics. Here, she came up shy of expectation and left sailing for the CrossFit Games, but now she is returning to her roots. I talked with Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing.
Posted on 23 Jan
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – Race record smashed
On Day Three (just) of the 72nd Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race Perpetual Loyal smashed the race record On Day Three (just) of the 72nd Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, in the strongest downwind conditions in recent times, certainly as good as the 1999 iteration of the blue water classic, Anthony Bell’s supermaxi, Perpetual Loyal, the former Speedboat and then Rambler 100, smashed the race record for the famous 628-nautical mile event.
Posted on 27 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – right turn means record in mortal danger?
A while ago we talked about not unprecedented conditions, but certainly ones that had not been seen for ages. A while ago we talked about not unprecedented conditions, but certainly ones that had not been seen for ages. Those that did a lot of Hobarts in the 90s would scoff at the thought of using the kite sheets for the whole journey. Their memories would be why they even bothered to clip them onto the rail at all.
Posted on 27 Dec 2016