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America's Cup- Oracle let off lightly on spying penalty

by Richard Gladwell on 30 Dec 2012
San Francisco (USA,CA), 34th America’s Cup, Oracle Team USA AC72 training ACEA - Photo Gilles Martin-Raget © http://photo.americascup.com/

Oracle Team USA have been left off lightly by the International Jury, who have announced their penalty for spying within the 200 metre radius permitted in the Protocol governing the 34th America's Cup.

Just before Christmas, the Int Jury, which is completely independent of race and event organisers, upheld a complaint from Italian Challenger, Luna Rossa, that the US Defender had taken photos of their AC72, within the specified 200 metre distance.

Despite some strong words in the Discussion leading to the Penalty, the Int Jury prescribed that Oracle Team USA will be prohibited from sailing either of their boats for a period of five days at the end of the next no-sail period. That period runs from February 1, 2013 to May 1, 2013 - and teams are allowed to sail for 45 days in that three month period.

The restriction on sailing days was bought in ostensibly as a cost reduction measure, the teams are currently in the first restricted period from July 1, 2012 to January 31,2013 in which they are allowed to sail 30 days maximum in the six month period. Only one team looks as if it will use all its allowed 30 days.

Oracle's penalty comes at the very end of the second and last restricted sailing period, and will probably come in handy to catch up on some boat maintenance and enhancements. After the end of the second restricted sailing period, any restrictions on sailing days will be removed completely. The US team still keeps its entire 45 sailing/training days, the only inconvenience is how they spend their allowed 45 days.

Probably more significant is the awarding of costs against the America's Cup Defender of Euro 11,500.

Oracle Team USA returned only 10 photos to Luna Rossa and the Int Jury. It is not known if any video was taken.

Both Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand sought far more substantial penalties, with each giving several options - none of which was taken on board by the International Jury.

Oracle Team USA claimed that no penalty was required as costs would be sufficient, an issue that OTUSA had conceded should be awarded against them in the Submission phase, before the penalty was announced. The 'no further penalty' view was also rejected by the Int Jury

The full Decision on the Penalty can be read by http://noticeboard.americascup.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/JN060.pdf!clicking_here
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