Sail-World New Zealand: July 5, 2013 - The Blame Game

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 06 Jul 2013

Sail-World New Zealand: July 5, 2013 - The Blame Game

Welcome to's New Zealand newsletter for July 5, 2013

Once again the news during the week has been dominated by the America's Cup off-the-water preliminaries.

In the last two days the event Organisers and Defender have been running a charm-offensive, in an attempt to straighten what they consider to be bent.

First of these was a media conference called by Regatta Director Iain Murray, which probably did more harm than good. The occasion provided Murray with a stage on which to vent his frustrations on some of the comments that have been made over the past few weeks, but publicly going after two of the teams, Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand, was not the smartest move.

Further, while Murray may have some strong views on AC72 design, which he expressed on Thursday, his comments need to be aligned with the 30 strong design teams of the Challengers in particular, who have been working on this project for more than two years, and have amassed some a very substantial understanding of AC72 structural stresses and forces.

34th America's Cup - Iain Murray press conference about safety  Gilles Martin-Raget: AmericasCup©

Further, he seemed almost dismissive of the time (almost 60 days in ETNZ's case) spent on the water, by at least two of the teams, in some quite extreme conditions and have come though largely unscathed - given they are sailing some very high performance boats, where breakdowns and incidents should have been expected.

In the Conference, he quoted some fairly impressive load numbers for rudder gear. but the point with the AC72 is that all of the numbers and stresses are very substantial. One got the impression that Murray was trying to save the teams from themselves.

We have a report on the Media Session plus the audio in this issue of's newsletter.

34th America's Cup - Opening Day at America's Cup Park  Gilles Martin-Raget: AmericasCup©

A second session took place later in the day at ,b>Oracle Team USA - the purpose of which seemed to be a second attempt to straighten the same bent record, that Murray had addressed a few hours before. Except this time it was CEO Russell Coutts who was doing the talking. In this edition we have a video of the full session at Oracle Team USA.

At present, there seems to be a degree of tension in San Francisco, ahead of the first race of the Louis Vuitton Cup on Monday between Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa. Both boats are believed to be measured in successfully. But both have applications in front of the International Jury who are now in San Francisco, and are attempting to resolve the matter through more mediation, and failing that with a Full Hearing on Tuesday.

At the heart of the matter, is not so much what shaped rudder elevators are allowed and what are not, but whether the regatta is going to be run in accordance with the Protocol and whether its provisions in regards to AC72 Class Rules changes and Protocol changes will be followed; or, if the Regatta Director has some override on those processes via the US Coast Guard and safety requirements.

This override process was signalled from the outset by the America's Cup Trustee, Golden Gate Yacht Club, and the very issue that is now before the International Jury, has been the subject of numerous stories in Sail-World, the first six weeks ago on May 24, 2013. The situation is not new.

The Media cluster - Oracle Team USA - Media Tour July 3, 2013  John Navas

Luna Rossa is the worst affected of the two given that they were the last into the 34th America's Cup, and have not had the same design time available that the other three have had. To find the rules changing just a week before the regatta, without the Protocol process for AC72 Class rule change being followed, is unacceptable to them.

Mr Bertelli is a man of very strong and clear principles, and those surrounding the America's Cup should be in no doubt that the team will be pulled, unless the regatta is run in accordance with the Protocol.

Interestingly while the Regatta Director addressed a lot of issues at his Media Conference. He did not address the reason why the Protocol provisions were not being followed, in regard to the AC72 Class Rule changes.

Russell Coutts with the Rudder Elevators - Oracle Team USA - Media Tour July 3, 2013  John Navas

There is some other sailing action under way, including three European Championshipsfor three of the Olympic classes. There are some surprises for the New Zealanders -and we have the daily reports from Yachting New Zealand in this edition.

We will continue to update over the weekend.

34th America's Cup - Opening Day at America's Cup Park  Gilles Martin-Raget: AmericasCup©
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Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor

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Working on the wingsail - Oracle Team USA - Media Tour July 3, 2013  John Navas

Luna Rossa testing in the final practice session, July 3, 2013  John Navas

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