It is believed that the International Jury for the 34th America's Cup has ruled on a protest lodged by the Italian Challenger Luna Rossa, against the America's Cup defender Oracle Team USA.
Sail-World's information is that the US team have been found in breech of the Surveillance provisions of the Protocol.
In the incident complained of by the Italian Challenger, Oracle Team USA's spy boat was stopped some distance from Luna Rossa's AC72, and took photos from close range as Luna Rossa sailed towards them. Evidence produced by the Italians showed that the US team's spy boat was 105metres from the Italian catamaran - around half the distance permitted under the Protocol, unless permission had been given - which had not occurred in this case.
If correct, the implications of the finding could be quite serious, as this is one of the first in America's Cup history where an actual team member has been caught in the act of spying on another team - usually it has been third parties such as divers etc who have been seen or apprehended.
It is believed that International Jury has called for Submissions on the matter, and also a recall of the photographs taken.
The return of photographs will not erase the knowledge gained by the individuals and design teams, and a fundamental of sailing rules is that a team cannot gain in any way through a rules breech or 'professional foul'.
A further issue is whether the crew on the spy boat in Auckland, were acting under orders from the USA, or if they were acting of their own volition.
Claims by Emirates Team New Zealand that they had been subject to the same actions by Oracle Team USA, were not expected to be considered as no protest had been lodged as a result.
The Italian protest was accompanied by photographs of the incident and distance calculations based on the camera lens used. These showed the OTUSA spy boat between the Italian Chase boat and its AC72, Luna Rossa.
The background to the Protests was outlined in an earlier Sail-World story, which can be read by clicking here
by Richard Gladwell
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4:02 AM Thu 20 Dec 2012GMT
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