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America's Cup- Int Jury to hold Hearing into Oracle AC45 claims

by Richard Gladwell on 21 Aug 2013
The strict one-design AC45’s, including two boats from Oracle Team USA, lined up ahead of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. ACEA - Photo Gilles Martin-Raget © http://photo.americascup.com/

The International Jury has announced that it will hold a preliminary inquiry into an Application lodged on August 19, by Oracle Team USA alleging that members of the Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand have infringed one of the provisions on Reconnaissance of the Protocol governing the America's Cup.

The exact nature of the claims by Oracle Team USA are not stated except that it claims the incident occurred 'when team members of both Competitors trespassed onto OTUSA owned AC45 Yachts in an attempt to gain information about OTUSA.’

The provision claimed to have been breached says:

RECONNAISSANCE
37.2. The Competitors are prohibited from engaging in any of the following in an attempt to gain information about another Competitor:
(a) any illegal act;


In the published information, Oracle Team USA does not seem to have publicly stated the exact nature of the incident, and what could have been learned from the one design, single manufacture AC45 yachts, that could have been relevant to the two Challengers' America's Cup class catamarans.

Neither does it state whether the allegation relates to the team's two AC45's being used for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup, or the two foiling AC45's used for development work. However the Jury Directions in the case identify the two boats involved as being those involved in the Red Bull series.

They are the same two boats which are centrestage in the Article 60 and Rule 69.1 Hearings, being conducted by the International Jury on August 26, relating to the modification of those boats, plus the AC45 of Ben Ainslie Racing, also maintained by Oracle Team USA. The measurement discrepancy was reported almost a month ago on July 26, 2013.

Oracle Team USA have requested the International Jury to undertake an investigation and report back to Oracle Team USA.

The International Jury has stated that it will hold a preliminary hearing, Tuesday, August 21 at 9.30am to address whether the actions complained of 'can amount to an illegal act ... in order to gain information in respect of the AC45 yachts.

If there is found to be a case to answer, the International Jury will issue further directions, which will address Oracle Team USA's interim request.

Emirates Team NZ have dismissed the claims as 'laughable', saying they were providing support to a 'Yachting New Zealand crew which is competing in the Youth America’s Cup is using the Emirates Team New Zealand’s AC45. ETNZ has provided support, including helping to prepare the yacht for competition. The YNZ AC45 was parked alongside an Oracle yacht on common ground at Pier 30/32.'

No further penalty from boarding incident
In another case, bought by the Regatta Director the International Jury has decided to proceed no further in the aftermath of an Emirates Team NZ support crew boarding the team's AC72 before a race had finished, after she suffered a total power loss in Race 2 of the Louis Vuitton and was claimed to be drifting.

While the Jury found that the team had broken the rules regarding the time and process for support crew to come aboard an AC72, they were done for real concerns about safety of the AC72.

Both attending parties, being Luna Ross and America's Cup Regatta Management submitted that there should be no additional penalty imposed. Emirates Team New Zealand submitted that the fact they had been Disqualified from the race was sufficient penalty.

The reason for the rule, is believed to be to prevent support crews boarding a broken boat prematurely and thereby gaining more than the 30 minutes allowed between races to effect repairs. A breach may have carried a significant penalty. However given that the second race for the day was postponed due to winds exceeding the wind limit, the incident was less serious than would otherwise have been the case.

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