AC34- Oracle penalized, RBYAC—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond
by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 4 Sep 2013
The International Jury has issued their findings and handed down penalties in the hearing involving Oracle Team USA and miniscule amounts of illegal weight that had been added to the kingposts of several of the AC45 catamarans that the team maintained. Two points will be subtracted if and when Oracle wins any races in the 34th America’s Cup (AC34; September 7-21), three members of the team have been banned from participating in the 34th America’s Cup, and the team was issued a relatively small fine. This situation sadly represents the worst case of cheating in the history of the America’s Cup.
Both Oracle boats testing trim and speed against each other. - America’s Cup Chuck Lantz © http://www.ChuckLantz.com
Importantly, the International Jury found that only a small number of Oracle sailors were involved in this ugly matter and that none of the team’s senior management were aware of the illegal weight. 'While we disagree with the unprecedented penalties imposed by the Jury, we have no choice but to make the necessary changes to personnel on our race boat and do our best to use the next four days for the new team to practice and get ready for the start of the 34th America's Cup,' said Oracle Team USA’s CEO, Russell Coutts.
While Oracle Team USA was also fined $250,000 U.S. dollars, odds are 100-percent that the team is a lot more focused on the lost points than their pecuniary penalty. Given that AC34 is a best-of-seventeen affair, Oracle Team USA will now have to win eleven races, while Emirates Team New Zealand-the official Challenger-only has to win nine.
This places even more importance on boatspeed and design, as a two-point deficit is a tough proposition, even for a team as well-funded and well-polished as Oracle. It also places a serious emphasis on crew work, as one of the three Oracle team members banned from participating in AC34 is Dirk de Ridder, the wingsail trimmer on Oracle’s A-boat. Needless to say, this is a key position and one that involves a lot of communication and trust with skipper Jimmy Spithill.
Get the full report inside, and be sure to stay current with the website as more details about this bizarre incident emerge.
On a much more positive note, the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup (RBYAC) is delivering tight racing and plenty of big grins on San Francisco Bay. After three days of racing, 'New Zealand Sailing Team with ETNZ' tops the leaderboard, followed by 'Full Metal Jacket Racing' and 'American Youth Sailing Force,' with a single day of racing remaining.
According to reports, the Americans likely would have faired better, but unfortunately David Liebenberg, the team’s tactician, missed his hiking strap on a maneuver and went swimming. 'That was kind of a setback,' said team skipper Mike Menninger. 'It’s hard to sail these boats with five guys. Our maneuvers weren’t as crisp and our boatspeed took a dip.' More inside, and be sure to stay tuned to the website for the latest RBYAC news, as it unfurls.
Meanwhile, the fortunate few have been enjoying light-air conditions at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, which is currently taking place in Sardinia at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. 'We’ve written our name five times on the wall next to the door to the Yacht Club (Costa Smeralda), the idea of putting it there a sixth time, which I think would be a record for any name, is a terribly exciting idea,' reported Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, owner of the Wally Centos 'Magic Carpet 3', who is currently sitting in second place in the Wally division. Get the full report, inside.
Also inside, get the scoop from the ongoing Laser European and World Championships, the also-ongoing Star Worlds, and the upcoming Oakcliff International 2013, which is the final event in the GRAND SLAM Grade 2 Match Race Series.
And finally, be sure to devote some solid eye-candy time to Carlo Borlenghi’s great image galleries from the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup.
May the four winds blow you safely home,
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