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America's Cup- 'Itiwi' partnership gets all clear from Jury

by Richard Gladwell on 13 Feb 2012
Emirates Team NZ and Luna Rossa waiting for the wind in their AC45’s © Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz

In a Decision just announced, the partnership between Italy's Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand has been given the all clear by the International Jury.

The Swedish Challenger of Record for the 34th America's Cup had queried the Partnership Agreement signed between the two long-standing Cup rivals, aimed at providing Emirates Team New Zealand with a training partner; and providing a means for the Italian team to catch up with a late America's Cup campaign.

Luna Rossa have purchased the design for Emirates Team NZ's first AC72 catamaran, and the two will sail together in Auckland in the latter months of 2012. The Luna Rossa boat is under construction in Italy, and the hulls will be shipped to New Zealand for assembly, before she is launched.

In an earlier Decision from the International Jury responded to the Defender, Golden Gate Yacht Club (USA) through their team Oracle Racing who questioned the operation of a Partnership Agreement - the first signed in the 160 year history of the America's Cup.

The Defender posed a series of questions based around a partnership Oracle Racing and a hypothetical 'Competitor B'.

The International Jury answered those questions, and then some America's Cup pundits did a text replace, substituting the names of Emirates Team NZ and Luna Rossa to determine whether their partnership was consistent with the hypothetical scenario proposed by Oracle Racing, and the boundaries constrained in the Jury Decision AC06. (That case and its decision were given the reference number of 'AC06' - being the sixth decision in this America's Cup cycle.)

Subsequently the Challenger of Record, Kungliga Svenska Segel Sällskapet (KSSS), through their team Artemis Racing, requested ' that the Jury review and retain the version of the ETNZ/Luna Rossa collaboration agreement which was summarized in the ETNZ November 26th submission relative to case AC06, as well as any amendments to such agreement.'

That request from KSSS came two weeks after the initial Jury Decision, on 28 December last year, in respect of Oracle Racing and 'Competitor B', in which Emirates Team NZ had provided a summarised copy of the partnership agreement, as part of their submissions in rest of the hypothetical competitor case AC06.

In the Hearing, presumably conducted like the others by an exchange of emails and phone calls, rather than a formal face to face meeting, Emirates Team NZ and Luna Rossa submitted the full agreement to the Jury, on the basis that it remained confidential to the Jury and would remain so for the duration of the 34th America's Cup.

The two teams also made a declaration that they were operating in accordance with the Agreement.

In its Decision the Jury, chaired by David Tillett (AUS), determined that their request had been met for a declaration from the two teams that there had been no Protocol Breach, by either team. And further that 'The Jury has no reason to believe there has been a breach.'

The Decision continued: ' The Jury is satisfied that provided the parties comply with the requirements of their Agreement with its Amendment, there would be no breach in the future as a result of the Agreement.'

A further request from Artemis Racing that the Jury should 'contain enough information so that other
Competitors can determine their own position regarding any cooperative sailing or design sharing' was denied.

The Jury felt that it had already given sufficient information in its Decisions on 'related cases' for Artemis Racing and others to be able to draw their own conclusions on cooperative sailing or design sharing, without additional interpretation by the Jury.

The only other point of interest in the Decision is the reference to the 'Agreement with its Amendment' - possibly implying that the original agreement between Luna Ross and Emirates Team New Zealand was amended to effectively preclude the sharing of telemetry between the two teams from their first two AC72's. (That Jury Decision was hard on the sharing of performance data between teams, which was taken to mean the sharing of telemetry, on which there is another view.)

The AC72's will be sailed in the 34th America's Cup, and are set down for launch in July and September this year. Sharing of telemetry would have provided a useful basis for Emirates Team NZ to carry into aspects of their second boat (given that it would have commenced construction in that time).

For both teams the sharing of telemetry would have provided information which could have led to boat modification, and certainly wingsail and softsail development, as well as foil performance. As it stands such collaborative work will be constrained to working up against each other on the basis of observation only, with each team allowed to do its own data gathering on the other.

In another Decision, Team China were given the all clear to sailing in the Extreme Sailing Series without infringing the rules governing sailing in a Surrogate boat - or one that is longer than the 33ft permitted - the Extreme 40's used in this series exceed this length by 7ft.

The full Decision (AC07) can be read by http://tinyurl.com/8ydvgcb!clicking_here

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