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America's Cup- Barclay claims shortcomings in Sail-World story

by Sail-World on 24 Jun 2013
San Francisco (USA,CA) - 34th America’s Cup ACEA - Photo Gilles Martin-Raget © http://photo.americascup.com/

Sail-World has received a letter from Stephen Barclay, CEO of America's Cup Events Authority regarding comments made in a story on the America's Cup Mediation published in Sail-World, to which the writer, Sail-World's NZ and America's Cup Editor, Richard Gladwell responds:

Dear Richard.

Regarding your story ( http://www.sail-world.com/USA/Americas-Cup:-Protagonists-believed-to-be-well-apart-on-key-issues/111079!click_here to read )

While many of the items you refer to in this story have been the subject of Jury mediation and therefore remain confidential, you also write about items in the public domain, like the racing schedule, which I feel I am compelled to comment on.

Regrettably, what you published about the race schedule is both factually inaccurate and your analysis in misleading.

Fact - Emirates Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton has said that he and his team agree with the safety recommendations (http://emirates-team-new-zealand.americascup.com/news/50788/team-supports-safety-review-recommendations!Click_here to read)

Fact - Artemis Racing is not seeking favors under a 'new' race schedule. Artemis Racing is among the teams willing to race under the schedule previously agreed by competitors as per the Protocol (and amended down to five Round Robins by the safety recommendations as per team requests for more time between racing)

Fact - Emirates Team New Zealand repeatedly rejected alternative schedules by saying it was happy with the original schedule

Fact - Emirates Team New Zealand latterly proposed a revised schedule that was rejected by other competitors

Fact - Under the original schedule, previously agreed by competitors, no team would be eliminated before the semi finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup. Under the ETNZ proposal, one team would be eliminated after a shortened Round Robin series

Fact - At a press conference shortly after the Artemis Racing accident, Luna Rossa called for the elimination of any fine or penalty for a team electing not to race

Fact - One of the 37 Regatta Director Safety Recommendations eliminates fines for not racing

Fact - Artemis Racing has indicated it will not be ready to race in its first matches. It will forfeit the right to earn points in matches that it misses, but it will not be fined

Fact - Any other team can elect to do the same

Fact - As there is no longer a fine for not racing, neither Luna Rossa, nor Emirates Team New Zealand are, as you suggest, compelled to race in winds of up to 20 knots. They, like Artemis Racing, are free to forfeit points for not racing

Fact - Due to the uncertainty the above brings to the early race schedule, the America's Cup issued refunds for all spectator tickets it had sold to watch races in July during the Round Robins of the Louis Vuitton Cup

Yours faithfully,

Stephen Barclay, CEO, America's Cup Event Authority

Richard Gladwell, Sail-World's NZ and America's Cup Editor responds:

Thanks for this Stephen

As you may be aware I am an International Judge of some 20 years standing, plus having been an Int Umpire for a couple of cycles, so I am fairly confident of my ability to analyse racing documents and understand their implications, plus I conferred with several other sources to make sure that what I was saying was right.

My information is that it was Luna Rossa who put forward the revised race schedule, I have this in writing from a source I would expect to know what he was talking about, and that ETNZ supported it.

The numerous points on the fines removal are correct; they were set out in Protocol Article 21 bottom of this note. You will note that the requirement to race is set out in 21.1 and the fines are in 21.2. It was the fines section which was deleted, not the requirement to race as it is in a separate part of the Protocol.

Your tweet, Stephen, saying that a boat would be required to sail the course to get the point, is correct.

This is standard match racing practice. However that rule is used in an exceptional circumstance only, and I am not aware of any other event in which two thirds of the competitors have to sail the course alone for the majority of its races to just go through to the next round.

Most Race Committees would meet, require a report from the non-starter that they were not in a position to race, and would then modify the sailing instructions so that the other competitors got the point through a default process, and generally acted in the best interests of the event.

Sometimes you might have a situation where a boat has to sail a bye, but that is rare and exceptional, and would not usually last more than an afternoon.

We have been consistent in saying that a single AC72 sailing the course for the majority of its races in the RR will be a ridiculous sight, and it is in the best interests of the event that this farcical 'racing' is stopped before it starts.

Equally I cannot recall a serious sailing event where the start was delayed by weeks to allow a competitor who was not ready, to compete. If you can give some examples we would be pleased to see them.

Grant Dalton's comment about agreeing with the Safety provisions was made in the context where he separated the 37 Recommendations into those involving Safety, Class Rules and Protocol. He agreed with the ones in Safety. We have always been careful to stick with this differentiation, as it aligns with our analysis of the situation and we were consistent in that line in the first stories written. Against that backdrop it is not surprising that the competitors agree with the majority of the Recommendations.

As you are probably aware it has always been the skipper's responsibility to decide whether or not to race.

It is not held to be sound practice for officials to put on a race in marginal conditions, tell the competitors that it is their responsibility as to whether or not to race, and then let matters take their course, and say that it is the competitor's bad decision that there was a serious incident involving incident or death.

Most, in fact all race committees have taken the lead responsibility in the matter, and have delayed race starts, or cancelled racing - even though many competitors may be quite happy to vehemently state in a sailors meeting that they are happy to race. The current situation with Artemis not contesting races in the Louis Vuitton Cup, has the twist in it that a competitor could be forced to sail to get the point, and sustain serious damage. As we know in both of the incidents that have occurred to date, the boats were both caught in unfortunate and somewhat unseen circumstances.

Requiring the boats to sail the course to get a point does not make any sense, and we have been consistent in stating this point. A responsible race committee will address this situation, rather than just let the rules take their course.

Sorry this note is longer than I intended but it covers the reasoning for many of the points that we have consistently made.

RG

Emirates Team NZ's Rules advisor described his reaction to the Review Committee recommendations http://www.sail-world.com/NZ/Americas-Cup:-Review-Recommendations-not-all-sweeetness-and-light/109900!here - published on May 26, 2013

Richard Gladwell's initial commentary on the same Recommendations http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=109794!here - published on May 24, 2013

As matters currently stand the first race in the Round Robin of the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup will take place on July 7 between Luna Rossa and Emirates Team NZ, the pair will also race on July 13, 21 and 23, they may sail their Round Robin 5 match on July 28.

With the announced no-show of Artemis Racing the racing planned for July 9, 11, 14, 16, 18, 20, 25 will be sailovers with only Luna Rossa or Emirates Team New Zealand sailing the course alone and being required to finish to get the point.

Artemis Racing may sail July 27, 30 and August 1. By that stage the first Finalist will have been determined, and the other boat will go to the Semi-Finals. The other teams may elect to sail against Artemis Racing, or they may leave them to enjoy a sail-over.

There will only be video coverage of the contest races, of which there could be just four in the Round Robin instead of the original 15 days on the original schedule.

Each race in the Round Robin will be a single race per day of approximately 60 minutes duration.

America's Cup Protocol extract:

21. Requirement to Race
21.1. Competitors are required to race in all regattas of the Event for which they are eligible. Unless the Race Officer considers conditions too rough, the race committee intends to start races when the approximate average true wind speed is between:
(a) 5 and 33 knots for the AC World Series and the Match;
(b) 5 and 28 knots for the ACCS final; and
(c) 5 to 25 knots for the balance of the ACCS;

measured as a rolling (box car) average of one hertz samples over 60 seconds using a Gill wind-sonic on the race committee signal boat at 10m above the water. Refer amendment 15.05

21.2. Unless the Regatta Director is satisfied on reasonable grounds that a failure to race was due to unintended damage or circumstances beyond the reasonable control of the Competitor:
(a) for a failure to attend a World Series Regatta racing where the Competitors are racing
an AC45 Yacht, the Competitor shall be fined US$150,000;
(b) for a failure to attend a regatta in which the competitors are racing an AC72 Yacht,
the Competitor shall be fined US$500,000;
(c) for a second failure to attend a regatta the Competitor shall cease to be eligible for
the Event and for entitlements under Articles 5, 27 and 41; and
(d) for a failure to race when attending a regatta, the Competitor shall be fined
US$50,000 when racing an AC45 Yacht and be fined US$100,000 when racing an
AC72 Yacht.
For the avoidance of doubt, a Competitor may appeal the decision of the Regatta Director
to the Jury.

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