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America´s Cup - Jury restates the obvious

by Richard Gladwell on 13 Jul 2013
A pensive ACEA CEO, Stephen Barclay (red), alongside Regatta Director Iain Murray - at this morning’s America’s Cup media Conference Chuck Lantz ©

Part of the Editorial from Sail-World New Zealand's newsletter of July 12, 2013 by NZ and America's Cup Editor, Richard Gladwell. the full newsletter can be read by!clicking_here

The 34th America's Cup Regatta lurches on in San Francisco, with the International Jury ruling this week on the protest applications that have been lodged by Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa.

The Jury handed down a simple, and clear Decision, which just restated the Protocol governing the 34th America's Cup, and AC72 Class Rule changes, in particular.

That decision should have come as no surprise to anyone. Sail-World first made the comment back on May 25, 2013 the day the Recommendations were announced. 'Changes to that AC72 rule can only be done with the consent of all the teams – a simple majority is not enough.'

That was virtually all the International Jury wrote after six weeks of posturing, abuse, four days of mediation and finally an eight plus Jury Hearing. Why? The Louis Vuitton Cup didn't need this.

The Jury Decision was entirely consistent with one handed down in October 2012 on a similar Application where the again, simple Jury Decision said 'Under Protocol 15.4(f) the Jury determines that the Measurement Committee has, in PI 22, amended the Class Rule and therefore exceeded its jurisdiction. '

The question must be raised as to whether some parties can actually understand the Protocol. Or, did they read its provisions, and then wish it said something else. Or, are they being deliberately obtuse?

Some would herald this as a win for Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa. It's not. No one's a winner - there's no change in the Rules - they are what they always were. The Jury has just restated what the rules already clearly said.

But it is a major loss for the beleaguered America's Cup Regatta. Again not for the Decision, which is a no-change. The loss comes from the damage done by those attempting to pervert the Rules - reflected in the constant general media droning about the litigious face of the America's Cup once again peering over the parapet, of what should be the pinnacle event in sailing.

While fan enthusiasm in San Francisco might be flat, in New Zealand that is far from the case. The Decision dominated sports talk back shows all day, plus Breakfast television, and the topic has been flicking around the airwaves for six weeks. It has dominated sports TV news on both major channels, and often the lead stories in prime time news. These stories aren't the style seen overseas - a few facts wrapped in a cotton wool of background explanation in the level of telling of a naughty child which had once again misbehaved. In New Zealand, this is a hard news story, for an intelligent audience. The story has legs and characters. It's been running hard since the Artemis capsize on May 9.

The early signs were that event organisers had taken on board the Jury's Decision and had stepped back from the extreme and threatening positions adopted before the Hearing. Now, cooler heads seem at last to be prevailing.

The debacle shoreside in San Francisco has been offset by the first three races of the Louis Vuitton Cup, where fans have watched a speed trial, instead of a boat race.

And fascinating it is, initially.

Never before have we seen an America's Cup yacht scorch around the race course at speeds of up to 25kts upwind, and over 40kts downwind. Combine that with some very slick crew work, good boat positioning on the racecourse, and the self-belief that allows the crew to sail 'pedal to the metal' for the duration of the 40 minute race.

Look too for the foiling gybes - will they pull one off? How much does the speed drop? What is the top speed? What is the race time?

All are questions that run through the fan's mind, as we watch something that has never been seen before.

Following the Jury Decision, Luna Rossa sailed - and gave us a different set of performance numbers.

Those in turn will give us the first glimpse of the shape of this America's Cup. Will it be close? Will it be a one boat race, with daylight a clear second? We'll find out for sure on Sunday when they go head to head with Emirates Team New Zealand.

We feature a lot of America's Cup material in this edition.

Sail-World has a team of three in San Francisco - with the world's top international sailing correspondent, Bob Fisher providing his thoughts on the day. Videographer John Navas is providing some excellent insights of the racing and practice. With long-time America's Cup photographer Chuck Lantz providing daily galleries of still images. Plus we have the images provided by the teams and official photographers.

Earlier in the week, we ran an interview based on a Media Tour conducted by Swedish Challenger of Record, Artemis Racing.

This week week we have published a 14 minute video produced by the team, which features comments from all the key players. It's a rare insight behind the scenes in the team's base in Alameda. there's also images of the team preparing their beautiful blue AC 72 for stress testing.

John Navas has put together a similar video for the Oracle Team USA media tour - a series of narrated still shots which make interesting reading and listening for those interested in learning more about the AC72's.

Our guess is that they are running behind time, and won't make any of the Round Robin phase of the Louis Vuitton Cup, and will come in at the Semi-Final stage, most likely against Luna Rossa. Unless Artemis Racing have an AC72 that is fast straight out of the box, it is hard to see them getting to Luna Rossa's state of readiness and performance.

But then we are almost a week into the Regatta and haven't seen two boats in a race yet - so maybe calls like that are premature.

For the full editiorial and NZ newsletter!click_here

To subscribe to the Sail-World Newsletter!click_here

PS: If you are lucky enough to live in New Zealand, the first real race of the Louis Vuitton Cup will be broadcast free to air, and LIVE, by Television NZ - on TV ONE at 7.00am on Sunday July 14, 2013

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