Please select your home edition
Edition
PredictWind.com 2014

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.

Mackay BoatsPredictWind.com 2014Insun - AC Program

Related Articles

An interview with Patrick Kennedy about the Ida Lewis Distance Race
I interviewed Patrick Kennedy, chair of the 2017 ILDR, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution. With this year’s Ida Lewis Distance Race set to unfurl the weekend of August 18-20, I caught up with Patrick Kennedy, chair of the 2017 ILDR, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution, its challenges, and the event’s new partnership with the 2017 J/Fest New England.
Posted on 14 Aug
An interview with Marianne Davis about the CORK International Regatta
I interviewed Marianne Davis, co-chair of the CORK International Regatta, to learn about the regatta’s state of affairs. While the various CORK regattas' registration lists include international sailors, these events are some of the gemstones in Sail Canada’s yearly championship calendar, making them of extra importance to Canadian sailors. I recently caught up with Marianne Davis, co-chair of the 2017 event, via email, to learn more about the CORK International Regatta’s evolution and its current state of affairs.
Posted on 7 Aug
A Q&A with the RORC’s Nick Elliott about the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race
I caught up with Nick Elliott, RORC Racing Manager, via email, to learn more about the world-famous Rolex Fastnet Race. When one stops to consider the world’s best ocean races, the Royal Offshore Racing Club’s Rolex Fastnet Race, which starts on Sunday, August 6, 2017, is never far from mind. I caught up with Nick Elliott, RORC Racing Manager, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution, its challenges, and the amount of work that goes into pulling off this world-famous regatta.
Posted on 1 Aug
Ian Walker - Musto Ambassador on the Volvo Ocean Race, America's Cup
Ian Walker on his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup We speak to Musto ambassador Ian Walker about his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup, his new desk job, sailing for fun, and 20 years of the John Merricks Sailing Trust.
Posted on 23 Jul
Black Jack Yachting. Bigger boat. Bigger team. Even bigger performance
Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus. Some were sail makers, like Skipper Mark Bradford and also Vaughan Prentice from North Sails’ Brisbane loft. Others were riggers, such as Bruce Clarke, and there are even boat builders, like Gary van Lunteren, as well as Ash Deeks.
Posted on 20 Jul
A Q&A with Tom Trujillo about the Transpacific Race’s 49th running
Sail-World interviewed Tom Trujillo, the Transpac Race’s PRO, via email to learn more about this classic bluewater race. The Transpac Race (est 1906) is in a rarefied group of four races that are considered sailing’s greatest bluewater Corinthian challenges, and it welcomes a wildly diverse fleet of bluewater-worthy boats. The 49th running of this classic race is currently underway, so Sail-World caught up with Tom Trujillo, the race’s principal race officer, via email to learn more.
Posted on 7 Jul
Gladwell's Line - America's Cup returns to its new home and thinking
Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness and will open a new era of America's Cup, New Zealand and World Sailing. A rookie crew won the most prestigious trophy in sailing, and one of the most difficult to win in any sport.
Posted on 29 Jun
SuperFoilers Are Go!
SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets in the great scheme of things, they come together in the one form as harmoniously as a Rolls Royce, and also deliver intense energy way past the sum of their parts, just like some amazing band.
Posted on 28 Jun
A Q&A with Kimball Livingston about San Francisco high school sailing
I emailed with my friend and colleague Kimball Livingtston to learn about San Francisco’s latest sailing revolution. I started hearing whispers of shifts in the San Francisco Bay high school sailing scene a couple of months ago. A few inquiries led me to my good friend and colleague Kimball Livingston, a world-class sailor, scribe, and StFYC staff commodore who isn’t one to keep his seaboots dry when the topic turns to opportunities for the next sailing generation. I caught up with KL via email to learn more.
Posted on 13 Jun
A Q&A with Andrew Howe about winning the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race
I interviewed Andrew Howe, the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race’s winning co-navigator, to learn more about their race. In 2015, skipper Greg Marston and the crew of Ti, a 1967 Alden Mistral, racing under celestial rules, were the overall winners of the Marion Bermuda Race Founders Division, beating boats that were enjoying GPS accuracy. On the eve of the 2017 edition of the race, I reached out to Andrew Howe, the team’s co-navigator, to gain perspective on this impressive win and hear about his 2017 plans.
Posted on 7 Jun