Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Melanin Lenses

America's Cup- Oracle Team USA face very serious charge over kingposts

by Richard Gladwell on 20 Aug 2013
Oracle Team USA have been ordered to attend a Hearing under Rule 69 and Article 60 by the International Jury for the 34th America’s Cup ACEA / Photo Abner Kingman © http://photo.americascup.com

Oracle Team USA face an unprecedented Hearing under discipline provisions of the America's Cup and Racing Rules.

The minor incident which has escalated into the the most serious form of Hearing in the sport, relates to the finding on July 26, that a builder supplied part of three AC45's managed by America's Cup Defenders Oracle Team USA, had been tampered with, and had over 2kgs of ballast added to it.

The discovery was made by boatbuilders working for America's Cup Regatta Management (ACRM).

The amount of additional weight added was miniscule, and it is equally hard to understand why it would be located outside of the prescribed corrector weight area, however the point is that it was a breech of the class rules for the AC45 - which is a one design manufacturer supplied class.

It should have been a relatively simple matter of the team identifying the people involved, the circumstances, and providing the Measurer with an explanation - all within 24 hours. Had they done so, they could maybe have avoided the ignominy of withdrawing from the last four events of the America's Cup World Series, of which Oracle team USA had won three and finished second in the other.

The situation has dragged on for over three weeks and now the investigatory phase of a Rule 69 Hearing has concluded which involved a substantial number of the team members, at a time when they should be preparing for the Defence of the America's Cup.

If found to have committed a serious offense the Defender's Team and Principals could face very serious consequences, with just 20 days remaining to the 34th America's Cup.

The Hearing is expected to focus on the incident itself, but more significantly on the Team's actions once it became aware of the situation and whether it has been fully co-operative with the Measurement Committee and International Jury.

The timelines involved in the various steps in what should have been a relatively simple case, would tend to indicated that has not been the case - providing fuel for the latest, and very serious moves which were announced around 11.00am local time.

The International Jury have resolved to hold a Hearing under both Rule 69 of the International sailing Federation racing Rules, and Article 60 of the Protocol governing the America's Cup, against the Defender, Oracle Team USA.

The move is unprecedented against a team in the history of the America's cup and follows investigations that have taken place since July 26, when illegal weights were found in two, or three, of AC45 class yachts managed by Oracle Team USA in the America's Cup World Series.

The Jury began an investigation process on August 4, and that has escalated until today's announcement.

Sixteen members of the Oracle Team USA team have been interviewed and five members of the America's Cup Race Management team.

After considering the information from those interviews, plus various other reports and submitted material, the decision was taken that there was a case to answer under Rule 69 and Article 60.

That formal Hearing will take place on August 26, 2013 in San Francisco.

The issues to be covered in the Hearing are described in the Jury Notice:

(i) whether OTUSA has engaged in ‘conduct or any activity... on or off the water, that is prejudicial or detrimental to or against the welfare or the best interests of the America’s Cup, or the sport of sailing, or that may impair public confidence in the honest and orderly conduct of the America’s Cup, any Event, or in the integrity and good character of any Competitor, Official, selected venue, sponsor or other commercial partner of the America’s Cup’;

and (ii) whether OTUSA failed to ‘use its best efforts to ensure that no team member, owner, officer, employee, contractor, affiliate, agent or representative of the Competitor engaged in such conduct referred to above.


Such Hearings are largely a fait accompli, given the level of investigation that has already taken place, as there can be little dispute over the facts already uncovered by the Jury. Indeed Oracle Team USA's own investigation reported that one member of the sailing team and three members of the shore crew were involved.

Under Rule 69 of the ISAF's Racing Rules action can only be taken against a competitor or boat. neither is a defined term in the rules, which means that the normal dictionary meaning applies it would seem that it would apply only to a team as a whole or penalising a boat in a series. It is more difficult, but not impossible to get the rule to stretch to cover actions by a shore crew member or a coach.

Further when Rule 2 of the Racing Rules is considered it states that 'A boat and her owner shall compete in compliance with recognized principles of sportsmanship and fair play.' That sets the background as to who is ultimately responsible under Rule 69 - meaning that the team as a whole and its principals, and ultimately owner, Larry Ellison are directly accountable for the actions that have taken place.

Article 60 is more wide-ranging. Originally introduced, largely at the behest of the organisers of the America's cup Regatta at a time when Emirates Team New Zealand's managing Director Grant Dalton was being particularly outspoken about aspects of the regatta and its organisation over which he had concerns.

Article 60 was prompted dubbed the 'Dalton Amendment', and ironically it is now being used for the first time in the America's Cup against one of its key proponents, who some would say are being hoist by their own petard.

That provision of the Protocol is an escape clause for the team owners, as it allows the Jury to go down to the individuals in the team take any action prescribed. At its worst that could include exclusion from the Regatta, points penalty against the team and a whole manner of other options.

In a rider to the Notice posted in the official Notice Board the Jury tellingly note: 'If OTUSA is found to have breached Protocol Article 60.1, the Jury may impose such penalties or orders as it believes to be just and equitable, including but not limited to those penalties set forth in Protocol Article 15.4(d)'

Oracle Team USA were previously found to have breached the surveillance provisions of the Protocol, by navigating to with 200 metres of the challenger, Luna Rossa in Auckland, and taking photos - contrary to the provisions of the Protocol. For this infringement they were suspended from five days of sailing in late April 2013, at the end of the second restricted sailing period.

Zhik Dinghy 660x82PredictWind.comAncasta Ker 33 660x82

Related Articles

A Q&A with US Sailing’s Malcolm Page about the Sailing World Cup Miami
I spoke with Malcolm Page, US Sailing’s Olympic chief, about the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami I talked with Malcolm Page (AUS), a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the Men’s 470 class and the chief of Olympic sailing at US Sailing, to get his pulse on the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami and discuss some recent coaching changes within the Olympic-sailing program.
Posted on 20 Feb
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ give first look at the pedaling AC50
Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. The team has been sailing for the previous two days making news headlines after it was revealed in Sail-World.com that the AC50 would become only the second yacht in America's Cup history to use pedal power.
Posted on 16 Feb
America's Cup - Kiwis sign Olympic Cyclist for the Tour de Bermuda
Ttop cyclist Simon van Velthooven, a 2012 Olympic Bronze cycling medallist had been signed by the America's Cup team Emirates Team New Zealand put in a second foiling display on Auckland's Waitemata harbour ahead of the official launching of their AC50 tomorrow. With brighter skies the cycling team took their places on the pedalstals and used leg power to provide the hydraulic pressure necessary to run the AC50's control systems for the foils and wingsail.
Posted on 15 Feb
A Q&A with Shawn Macking about the StPYC’s Sailing Center and OD fleet
I talked with Shawn Macking, the StPYC’s waterfront director, to learn how the club is getting more people out sailing. I caught up with Shawn Macking, waterfront director of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, via email to learn more about the club’s Sailing Center, its hefty investment in a new fleet of ten J/70s, and how the StPYC is using this infrastructure to expose more people to the sport we all love.
Posted on 13 Feb
A Q&A with Karen Angle about the 2017 Conch Republic Cup race to Cuba
I caught up with Karen Angle, executive director of the Conch Republic Cup, to learn more about this exciting event. If you’re like me and have arrived at saturation with winter’s cold rain and snow, imagine racing to Cuba as part of a 13-day cross-cultural event that’s designed to lower barriers of entry at a time when some Americans see a need for taller walls. I caught up with Karen Angle, executive director of the Conch Republic Cup, to learn more about this exciting event and the adventures it affords.
Posted on 23 Jan
A Q&A with Anna Tunnicliffe about her return to competitive sailing
I talked with Anna Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing. Anna Tunnicliffe won gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in the Laser Radial before shifting her sights to the Women’s Match Racing event for the London 2012 Olympics. Here, she came up shy of expectation and left sailing for the CrossFit Games, but now she is returning to her roots. I talked with Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing.
Posted on 23 Jan
A Q&A with Dick Neville, Quantum Key West Race Week’s RC chairman
I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for the Quantum Key West Race Week, to learn more about the event. For the past 30 years, international sailors have gathered in Key West, Florida, each January for Key West Race Week, a regatta that has achieved legendary status due to its calendar dates, its location, and the impressive level of competition and racecourse management that this storied event offers. I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for this year’s Quantum KWRW, to learn more.
Posted on 16 Jan
A Q&A with Daniel Smith, the Clipper Race’s new deputy race director
I talked with Daniel Smith, the Clipper Round The World Race’s new deputy race director, to learn more about his role. I was fortunate to sail with Daniel Smith [36, SCO], skipper of “Derry~Londonderry~Doire” for the 2015/2016 edition of the Clipper Round The World Race, when the fleet reached Seattle last spring. Now, Smith has been hired as the event’s deputy race director-a job that will test many of the skills that he polished as a skipper. I caught up with Smith via email to learn more about his new job.
Posted on 9 Jan
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Suck it up, sunshine!
The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour, another two million watching on TV, and the constant buzz and whir of media helicopters overhead. 88 boats, from Australia, USA, UK, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Japan, Korea, China, oh and New Zealand, had lined up on three start lines.
Posted on 31 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - More merriment on the airwaves
Here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and Hobart Race Control So on December 29, 2016, after the River Derwent had let just three boats home (Perpetual Loyal, Giacomo and Scallywag, all inside the old race record, she went to sleep for a lot of the day. This made it frustrating for the sailors, some of whom saw the lighter side. So after seeing some of those in Dark & Stormy, here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and HRC
Posted on 29 Dec 2016