Please select your home edition
Edition
InSunSport - International - Endure

America's Cup- Protocol changes rung ahead of Entry window opening

by Richard Gladwell Sail-World.com/nz on 9 Jun 2014
Golden Gate Yacht Club - Defender of the 35th America’s Cup © Richard Gladwell www.richardgladwell.com
The Defender of the America's Cup, Oracle Team USA has announced a series of changes to the Protocol for the next event.

The changes are said to be issued, as a result, of constructive feedback on the rules from prospective teams, prompting Hamilton Island Yacht Club, the Challenger of Record, and the Defender, Oracle Team USA to issue agreed amendments to the Protocol for the 35th America’s Cup.

The Protocol changes did not have comment from the Defending Club, Golden Gate Yacht Club, but by the skipper of the Defender, Jimmy Spithill, a competitor in the event.

'It’s been great to have positive and constructive contributions from prospective teams,' said Spithill in the official release which accompanied the changes.

'This process has echoed what we did with the Class Rules for the AC62 yacht, where feedback was taken on board and changes were made.

'Our goal is to make this the best America’s Cup ever and we can only do that when everyone is engaged and pulling in the same direction to make improvements.'

The most significant change is to the Protocol is for the responsibility for the appointment of the Regatta Director and his race officials shared by all Competitors, with one vote per Competitor, in line with how the officials are funded. (A Competitor in the America's Cup context means the Defender or a Challenger team.)

The Competitor Forum can also remove or change officials, however 75% of the Competitors must vote for a removal/change, but the new official only needs to receive a simple majority of the votes cast.

The Competitor Forum will appoint the Regatta Director, the Chief Measurer together with all members of the Measurement Committee, the Umpiring team and ant other Regatta officials required.

The effect of the change is to remove the right of the Defender and Challenger of Record to hire and fire key Race Officials, without reference to the other Competitors in the event. The independence of Regatta officials cannot now be questioned.

The point was also not lost that under the initial version of the Protocol, all the Competitors had to share the costs of the Regatta Officials, but had no say as to who was appointed, or their terms of engagement, or indeed the numbers of officials engaged.

The changes will both bring a level of control to the situation, and ensure that the Regatta Officials are seen to be independently appointed and insulated from team pressure/threat of removal.

Arbitration Panel Selection changes:
The Competitor Forum will have some control of the appointment of control of the Arbitration Panel, which has been established in the Protocol contrary to the International Sailing Federation regulations.

While an Arbitration Panel has been used in previous America's Cup, the ISAF changed its Regulations about two years ago to give itself the right to appoint International Jury and other key official for major events.

This was done to remain consistent with ISAF's objective of providing fairness of competition, without insinuation that officials were selected and, therefore, beholden to organisers, or a team (or both in the case of the unique nature of the America's Cup).

The ISAF also felt it necessary to adopt the right to ensure that only properly trained and qualified official were used in major regattas.

With the appointment of a member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport as its Chairman, the Arbitration Panel is set to bypass the ISAF's own adjudication officials used in every other regatta in the sport including Olympics and Volvo Ocean Race.

The first member of the panel will be selected by the Defender and Challenger of Record.

The Competitors Forum will select the second member of the Arbitration Panel and the first two members will select a third.

ISAF has no mention in the selection process, contrary to its own Regulations.

The yet to be appointed Regatta Director is still responsible under the Protocol for trying to come to an accommodation with the ISAF over the part the world body will, or will not play in the next America's Cup regattas.

However Article 12.2 of the Protocol will raise the blood-pressure of the ISAF hierachy: 'The terms of this Protocol shall prevail over the terms of any arrangements with ISAF'.

The first draft of the Protocol for the 34th America's Cup contained 11 references to the world body, including the use of its officials and rules. There are no such references in the 35th Protocol, which has been eight months in gestation.

Part of those discussions will not doubt involve the amount of fees paid to the world body, use of racing rules, and whether the world body will allow the officials it has trained and certified to be used in the America's Cup regatta.

As a federation of Member National Authorities (individual country sailing federations), it is likely that the ISAF will deal initially with the MNA's of the two countries involved in the Protocol. Those expected to be queried initially are US Sailing and Yachting Australia, along with the MNA's of any club whose teams enter the America's Cup, unless there is some accommodation reached with the ISAF.

The situation is not too different from break-out moves that have been made in other sports such as cricket, rugby and rugby league. All were driven by commercial considerations, when event organisers had a differing view of how their professional events should be run than the controlling world body.

Other changes in the Protocol include changes to the complex insurance requirements for competing teams.


Permission requirement altered
The rules requiring the America's Cup teams to have the permission of the AC Commercial Commissioner before competing in non AC35 events has been modified to make it clear that it applies only to America's cup teams.

'There was a similar rule in the last Cup but this time there was some confusion that it might restrict guys from sailing in the Olympics, for example,' Spithill said in the accompanying release. 'That was never the intent and although we don’t think the original rule did that, we’ve worked on the language to make it perfectly clear that this applies to America’s Cup teams – not individual sailors – competing in events in conflict with the Cup.'

Quite how the rule is applied remains to be seen. Certainly it would affect several AC teams competing in the Extreme Sailing Series, and other events. Team New Zealand could have been impacted if they enter the America's Cup, and had elected to enter the Volvo Ocean Race.

However, a workaround is easy - just form a new sailing team and enter to non-AC event under that entity. Or, in the case of New Zealand, just operate under the banner of the already established NZL Sailing Team, which is owned by Yachting New Zealand, with whom Team New Zealand have a good working relationship.

The changes to the Protocol take effect immediately, ahead of the entry period, which is open from June 9 through August 8, 2014.

Naiad/Oracle SupplierSouthern Spars - 100Kilwell - 5

Related Articles

Gladwell's Line - Emirates Team NZ launches shadow AC50
Emirates Team NZ took a late but significant step along the road to the 35th America's Cup, with the launch of their AC4 Emirates Team NZ took a late but significant step along the road to the 35th America's Cup, with the launch of their AC45S - as the test boats are called in the Protocol which governs the 2017 event. The bloated Protocol, which now runs to 83 pages of legalese, is restrictive on the size of boat that can be built as a test platform but doesn't restrict the number that can be built.
Posted on 22 Jun
Platino recovery - Family confirms that tug has made rendezvous
Reports in social media say a salvage tug has made a rendezvous with the Platino earlier than expected. Reports in social media by family and friends of Nick Saull, the crew member killed during a catastrophic incident abroad the 66ft yacht Platino say the salvage tug which left on Tuesday night has made the rendezvous earlier than expected. The Facebook report says the tug, Sea Pelican, arrived on Friday morning, the weather in the area has eased and with a more favorable outlook.
Posted on 16 Jun
Rio 2016 - Double Olympic medallist on the delights of Guanabara Bay
Olympic Gold and Bronze medallist Bruce Kendall updates on the 2016 Olympic venue at Guanabara Bay. Olympic Gold and Bronze medallist, and now a windsurfer coach, Bruce Kendall has made several trips to the 2016 Olympic venue at Guanabara Bay. He updates on the pollution issue which is clearly not going to be resolved in a couple of months, and also shares his views on the venue from a sailing competition perspective.
Posted on 14 Jun
America's Cup - Artemis win Chicago as Team Japan wins two races
Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series got three races away on Super Sunday. After losing the first official day of racing due to light winds and the non-arrival of the onshore breeze, Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series got three races away on Super Sunday. From a racing perspective this was probably the best day of racing yet in the series which counts for points in the Qualifying Series of the America's Cup in 11 months time.
Posted on 12 Jun
America's Cup - Emirates TNZ NZ and Oracle capsize in Chicago Practice
Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA capsized in Practice Racing at the Louis Vuitton ACWS Chicago There was action aplenty on Practice Day at Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Chicago, after Emirates Team New Zealand capsized in their match with Oracle Team USA, and then Oracle Team USA capsized later in the day. Team NZ's skipper skipper Glenn Ashby performed some impressive acrobatics ejecting from the AC45 capsize, without injury.
Posted on 11 Jun
America's Cup - Changes proposed to control future Cup options
Changes are being mooted to put the America's Cup on a longer-term footing according to the Daily Telegraph (UK) News that changes are being mooted to put the America's Cup on a longer-term footing is being floated in the Daily Telegraph (UK) by the British Challenger, Land Rover BAR. According to the Telegraph, some of the teams in the 2017 America's Cup are keen to lock-in parameters which would bind successive holders of the a style and frequency for the next America's Cup Match.
Posted on 8 Jun
America's Cup - AC50 construction uncovered - Part 2 - Wings and Costs
Second part of a two-part series looking at the AC50 construction progress at Core Builders Composites Second part of a two-part series looking at the construction progress at Core Builders Composites, and features of the AC50 class which will be used in the 35th America's Cup in Bermuda. Tim Smyth takes us on a tour of the CBC facility in Warkworth, and hour's drive north of Auckland. Where several AC50's, components and wingsails are under construction or have already been shipped to the teams.
Posted on 5 Jun
America's Cup - AC50 building program well underway at Core Builders
For the first time in America’s Cup history, Sail-World can publish photos of America’s Cup yachts during construction. With the forthcoming America's Cup in Bermuda just under 12 months away, production of the wingsails and AC50 one design hulls and components are well underway at Core Builders Composites in Warkworth, about an hour north of Auckland. For the first time in America’s Cup history, Sail-World can publish photos of America’s Cup yachts during construction.
Posted on 3 Jun
America's Cup - Arbitration Panel Hearing over Kiwi Qualifier for July
ACEA CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. In a yet to be published interview in Sail-World, America’s Cup Events Authority CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. This is the first official indication that the three person Arbitration Panel had even been formed, however Sail-World’s sources indicated that it had been empanelled since last January, possibly earlier.
Posted on 27 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May