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AC34 controversy and LVC racing—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 5 Jul 2013
Oracle Team USA testing in the final practice session, July 3, 2013 John Navas ©
Rudder elevators and rudder wing size/shape continue to dominate sailing headlines as the America’s Cup world braces itself for controversy. While Emirates Team New Zealand’s (ETNZ) protest will be heard by the International Jury on Monday, no date has yet been set for Luna Rossa’s protest. Sailors, spectators and fans, however, are gearing up for the first few days of the Louis Vuitton Cup (LVC), which officially kicked off on July Fourth in San Francisco.

This weekend’s LVC itinerary includes the official opening ceremony for the America’s Cup Park, an airshow, an AC72 boat parade, AC72 time trials, as well as the first match races of the LVC, which will be contested on Sunday between ETNZ and Italian-flagged challenger Luna Rossa.

As far as the problematic rudder elevators, Regatta Director Iain Murray has found himself in the middle of viscous crossfire this week regarding the list of 37 safety recommendations that he presented to the teams following Artemis’ tragic May 9 accident. According to ENTZ and Luna Rossa, Murray has stepped beyond his authority as Regatta Director; because of this, these teams are protesting Murray’s action with the International Jury, while Oracle Team USA maintains that Murray is simply doing his job as the event’s commissioner.

'I made these recommendations to the teams on May 22, over six weeks before the first race of the Louis Vuitton Cup,' said Murray in a recent press release. 'At that meeting, all of the teams agreed to all 37 of the safety recommendations.'

'Disappointingly, for competitive reasons, two of the teams are now protesting over some of these safety recommendations,' continues Murray. 'But I don’t believe you can pick and choose. These safety recommendations are a package and together they increase safety for our sailors and they are now Rules of the event.'

Murray went on to add that, if his safety recommendations are not accepted by all teams, he would have to report back to the United States Coast Guard, who could in turn potentially pull the event’s crucial Marine Event Permit. Inside, be sure to get the scoop on this AC controversy, and stay tuned to the website this weekend for the latest news from San Francisco, as it unfurls.

Meanwhile, Quantum Racing was able to fly the Stars & Stripes high and proud on Day Three of the 52 Super Series, which is currently taking place in Ibiza, Spain. Here, the American-flagged team posted two bullets and a fourth to take over the pole position.

'It started out today a little bit cloudy and unusual, and filled in enough to get a start off and we were not sure where it was going to go next,' said Quantum’s American skipper, Ed Baird. 'Because it was cloudy and earlier in the day it went left, and we happened to be on that side and so we were happy. Second race we went right and won that side and 'Azzurra' won the left and came out about length and a half ahead of us at the top mark. We got a little tangled up in traffic and ended up with a fourth, but it was still a strong finish.' More, inside, including some great image galleries, courtesy of top international shooters Ingrid Abery and Max Ranchi.

Also inside, be sure to get the latest reports from the Clipper Around the World Yacht Race, the Stena Match Race Sweden and the upcoming Rolex Fastnet Race.

And finally, best wishes to you and your family for a happy, safe and festive Fourth of July. Enjoy!

May the four winds blow you safely home,

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