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America's Cup- Regatta Director presents safety recommendations early

by Richard Gladwell on 23 May 2013
Iain Murray (ACRM) and John Craig ACEA - Photo Gilles Martin-Raget © http://photo.americascup.com/

Iain Murray, wearing the dual hats of America's Cup Regatta Director and Head of the Golden Gate Yacht Club's AC Review Committee has presented a series of findings, more than a week sooner than expected.

The announcement today was silent on the causes of the fatal incident involving the AC72 Artemis Racing on May 9, which triggered the establishment of the Review Committee.

Structural reviews of AC72 boats and wings, a 10-knot lower wind limit (23 knots maximum) and enhanced sailor safety equipment are among the 37 recommendations issued today to increase safety during the Summer of Racing at the 2013 America’s Cup.

Some of these involve amendments to the AC72 Class Rules and will require the consent of all competitors. The new restrictions on the AC72 rudders are believed to be controversial, and it is difficult to see the safety reason for the change.

As expected wind limits have been lowered, and are less than expected, but slightly more than those proposed by Luna Rossa three days after the incident.

Many of the recommendations are intended to increase the personal safety of the sailors and they include buoyancy aids, body armor, crew locator devices, hands-free breathing apparatus and high visibility helmets. Other recommendations are specific to the AC72 yachts, additional support equipment and race management, says the Media Release.

A full list of the recommendations can be found by http://cdn.sparkart.net/americascup/content/documents/Draft-Interim-Recommendations-22.5.13-1!clicking_herehere.

Regatta Director Iain Murray, progressing the work of the Review Committee, presented his '2013 America’s Cup Regatta Director Recommendations' at a meeting with the four competing teams and the America’s Cup Event Authority on Wednesday afternoon in San Francisco.

For reasons of insurance and liability, the Review Committee stopped short of making its own recommendations. Regatta Director Iain Murray has formulated the specific safety recommendations.

These additional recommendations have been incorporated into the safety plan produced by the America’s Cup, which was forwarded to the U.S. Coast Guard today.

'Producing and implementing the safety plan is within the scope of the America's Cup, as the sponsoring organization for this summer’s racing,' said Stephen Barclay, the CEO of the America’s Cup. 'This America’s Cup safety plan is a necessary component of the permit application submitted to the Coast Guard for their consideration.'

The Regatta Director will now form a number of task forces to bring in experts to define additional technical recommendations for specific safety items such as protective gear for sailors.

Since its first meeting on May 16, the Review Committee has worked diligently interviewing 25 team members including team heads, skippers, designers, engineers, sailors and support boat operators.

'All four competing America’s Cup teams have cooperated in an open, helpful and constructive way,' Murray said, 'and the Review Committee noted there is a clear desire on the part of the teams to ensure the safety of the America’s Cup as much as possible.'

'I want to thank the members of the Review Committee for their exceptional and efficient work,' Murray concluded.
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