sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : America's Cup: Oracle found guilty as charged on Italian spy incident
America's Cup: Oracle found guilty as charged on Italian spy incident

'Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand, racing on the Hauraki Gulf, December 2012'    Luna Rossa Challenge 2013    Click Here to view large photo

The International Jury for the 34th America's Cup, has just posted its Decision in Case 19, which was initiated by the Italian Challenger, Luna Rossa, over an incident where a surveillance boat from Oracle Team USA was within half the distance allowed for viewing competitors while training.

The International Jury found that Oracle broke the rules on surveillance because of a novel interpretation of the word 'navigating' and compounded their transgression by continuing to take pictures from closer than the permitted range.

Luna Rossa protested Oracle Team USA in early November, alleging that Oracle Team USA’s Matt Mason had been within a distance of 200 meters and taking pictures of the Italian AC72. Luna Rossa alleged that Mason’s actions violated Article 37.2(g) of the 34th America’s Cup Protocol, which prohibits competitors from navigating within 200 meters of each other.

In its discussion and conclusions, the International Jury determined that the 'pivotal question is whether Oracle Team USA’s vessel was ‘navigating’ within 200m.' The International Jury referred to the Oxford English Dictionary (as stipulated by Protocol Article 1.3) to determine the definition of 'navigating.'

It concluded that 'the word ‘navigate’ as it is used in Protocol Article 37.2(g) is to be interpreted such that a vessel is still being ‘navigated’ while it is stationary if there is someone in command of it with the ability to manoeuvre the vessel.'

Long lens at work again in the Viaduct Harbour as the Emirates Team NZ AC72 prepares to pass through the Viaduct Bridge -  Richard Gladwell_©   Click Here to view large photo
Oracle Team USA submitted that 'to breach Article 37.2(g) OTUSA had to ‘…manage, steer, control or direct the course…’ of the OTUSA Protector to within 200m of the yacht(italics ours)', suggesting that their vessel needed to be moving towards something in order for the driver to be 'navigating a vessel.' The Jury disagreed with that view.

The Jury was satisfied that the taking of photographs during the incident was 'an attempt to gain information about another Competitor' and that there was no prior consent by Luna Rossa.

The International Jury has invited parties to make submissions on the appropriate penalty, if any. It has also instructed Oracle Team USA to hand over to Luna Rossa and the International Jury all photographic material taken while the Oracle Team USA vessel was within 200 meters.

Eight options for a penalty
A decision on the penalty is yet to be determined.

Had the usual Racing Rules of Sailing applied, Oracle Team USA could have been disqualified - the standard penalty for any boat which infringes a Rules (unless another type/range of penalties are prescribed). However a modified set of Racing Rules and Penalty options applies to the America's Cup Regatta.

The Int Jury have eight options set out in section 15.4 (d) of the Protocol, which range from Expulsion from the 34th America's Cup to Censure. Neither of these extremes look to be a likely option. In fact, none of the other six look realistic look practical except for a Fine.

In its deliberations, the International Jury will have to chose a penalty, which recognizes the gravity of the infringement. The usual options are a monetary penalty, loss of points, action against the individuals involved. A second issue is that the Defender will clearly have gained some knowledge from the images - even it was to confirm their own thinking.

In terms of a monetary penalty, the Int Jury will be aware that Oracle Team USA are backed by a billionaire, and on a previous occasion when a $100,000 fine was levied, it was dismissed by another billionaire backer as 'ice-cream'. It is difficult to imagine what level of financial penalty would actually have an impact of such a team.

Loss of points is a possibility, and as a Challenger would have been a option in the Qualifying Rounds, and a deterrent to a team and others. But as Defender Oracle go straight into the America's Cup Match and such a penalty might be considered too detached from the incident. But if it were applied, then certainly it would be a deterrent - and there would be no repeat offence.

A spy boat watches Emirates Team NZ AC72 on her final day of sailing on December 12, 2012 -  Richard Gladwell_©   Click Here to view large photo
Prohibiting Oracle from further surveillance in Auckland is certainly an option - both afloat and ashore. But this in not one of the eight penalties which may be imposed under the Protocol.

It is relatively easy for teams who are being photographed to take a photograph in return. Emirates Team NZ have previously commented on the number of cameras with big lenses which are in apartments adjacent to their bases, and trained into the work areas and sheds. Whether the Italians suffer from the same level of supervision in their Westhaven location is not known.

Because Emirates Team NZ did not protest, they are unlikely to be a direct beneficiary of a protest lodged by another team - except to have additional impact on Oracle Team USA. Possibly relevant, is the fact that Emirates Team NZ claimed that this was not an isolated incident, but again as no protest was lodged, the Int Jury could not act.

Action against the individuals involved is unlikely, as it seems to be reasonably clear they were acting on team orders, and team principals have not dissociated themselves from the illegal surveillance.

Professional Foul
The difficulty the Int Jury will have is that while the images can be returned, the knowledge gained cannot be erased, and Oracle is therefore in the position of benefiting from a professional foul.

Additionally Oracle's capsize of October 16, limited their data gathering opportunities to just eight days from their own boat, so information on other teams could have an additional urgency.

Oracle did not seek the prior interpretation of the word 'navigate' - which is the normal action when there is doubt about the way a rule is interpretative. Instead Oracle took the course of applying their own interpretation and then argued their case in front of the Int Jury, after a complaint by a team and after having gained the information they sought. In other words, instead of asking permission Oracle begged forgiveness. The issue being that their actions cannot be undone.

Compounding their error, which could be dismissed as being inadvertent, is the fact that the Oracle Team USA members continued to film instead of leaving the area they had 'strayed' into.

The fact that the team have profited from their infringement, will probably be the single issue that will weigh most heavily on the minds of the Jury.

What is to be done, will require the Wisdom of Solomon.

The full Decision can be read by clicking here

Sail-World's earlier story can be read by clicking here and click here for comment and links to the original protest by Luna Rossa.


by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=104907

7:37 PM Fri 21 Dec 2012GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
2013 America's Cup

Related News Stories:

21 Dec 2012  America's Cup: Oracle Team USA's second wingsail starts journey to USA
20 Dec 2012  America's Cup: Latest news - Oracle Team USA - December 19, 2012
20 Dec 2012  America's Cup: Oracle Team USA reveal state of repairs and re-launch
20 Dec 2012  America's Cup: Oracle believed to be on wrong side of spying Decision
19 Dec 2012  America's Cup: One year on for Luna Rossa
19 Dec 2012  America's Cup: Back to Foiling School in the SL33's + Video
14 Dec 2012  America's Cup: Old photo evokes design assistance claims
14 Dec 2012  America's Cup: End of the sailing road for the first AC72
13 Dec 2012  America's Cup: Emirates Team NZ design chief looks to the second AC72
13 Dec 2012  America's Cup: Artemis Racing sailing on Day 8
MORE STORIES ...






News - USA and the World



































































Six Metre European Championship - High temps and little wind on day 3
Women’s Match Race Golfe du Morbihan - Light wind opener in Vannes
International Moth Worlds: Rashley ahead as Aussies close in
ISAF Youth Match Racing Worlds - American unbeatable on day 1
RS Feva World Championships - All set at Yacht Club de Carnac
ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards - Nominations now open
BIC Techno 293 Worlds - Steady winds on day 2 + Video
29er North American Open Championship - Qualifying series wraps up
Opening ceremony O'pen Bic World Cup, Travemunde Week, Germany
Six Metre Europeans - Wind fails to make an appearance on day 2
Edgartown Race Weekend - Let the sailing (and good times) begin
ISAF Youth Match Racing World Championship - Action commences July 23
International Moth Worlds - Mothballed on day 4 + Video
Spirits high as Team Alvimedica completes Transatlantic crossing
Gladwell's Line: A change of direction needed in the America's Cup *Feature
29er North American Championship - Day 1 in Kingston
Red Bull 49erFX: First look at the Olympic sailing venue at Rio
Fuerteventura Kiteboarding Grand Slam - Classic conditions on day 3
NYYC Race Week Part II images by Rolex/Daniel Forster
Drowning or electric shock? What you need to know to help save a life
BIC Techno 293 Worlds 2014 - Day 1   
Six Metre European Championship - Blazing sunshine on opening day   
National Sailing Hall of Fame to present Lifetime Achievement Award   
International Moth Worlds: Greenhalgh and Rashley tied at the top   
PWA Pozo World Cup - Fantastic finale determines winners   
Six Metre Class British Open Championship - Llanoria and Valhalla win   
Anna Tunnicliffe set to compete at the CrossFit Games   
America's Cup: Oracle Team USA holds foiling camp at Wangi SC   
Volvo Ocean Race: Abu Dhabi OR completes double Atlantic crossing   
Volvo Ocean Race: Team SCA has a 'pull through day' off the Canaries   
No tiller sailing - how to steer using just the sails + Video   
International Moth Worlds: Three bullets in a row for Greenhalgh   
U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship - Sophia Reineke wins   
BIC Techno 293 Worlds 2014 - Day 0 Opening   
Fuerteventura World Cup - Slalom action highlights day 2   
2014 Governor's Cup - Sam Gilmour of RFBYC victorious again   
Farr 40 West Coast Champ - Skipper Alberto Rossi leads Enfant Terrible   
Flying Dutchman World Championships - Magyars are the Masters   
Final day shakes up standings at Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek   
2014 -15 Volvo Ocean Race: Team Alvimedica pushing towards Southampton   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT