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America's Cup- Smiles break ice at Skippers Media Conference

by Richard Gladwell on 6 Jul 2013
34th America’s Cup - Press Conference with Skippers Americas Cup Media

Despite their much published differences, and hard words, it was almost all sweetness and light between the four America's Cup skippers at the Media Conference to open the 2013 America's Cup Regatta.

The full video replay is included in this story.

Key points from the Conference came from Iain Percy, skipper of Artemis Racing who disclosed that they had received a lot of help from the teams, but the boat was not ready to sail. In fact it was currently upside down in the Artemis Racing shed, and was undergoing stress testing ahead of a launch, and would not be a couple of weeks yet. The team is working seven days a week and 24 hours a day to get back racing. Structural testing will start next week. 'Some big loads are going to be put through our yacht', he said.

Sitting alongside Regatta Director, Iain Murray, Luna Rossa skipper Max Sirena said the Murray was 'one of the people I respect the most in this game. This is nothing personal with him,' Sirena added. 'I have to do the best for my team. I just want to say something simple - I think it is unfair to change the class rules a week before the event.'

With that comment and big smiles all around, Sirena turned and shook the Regatta Director's hand. To which Murray added 'I agree!'

The good humour continued with the next question from founder of the Louis Vuitton Cup, Bruno Trouble, asking if the Jury Meeting could be bought forward a day, and that Luna Rossa could then race?

'I like this question!' Sirena quickly interjected.

Murray's response was a little guarded, saying that there was an application before the Jury to hear Luna Rossa's protest before Sunday, and that the Jury was still assessing that Application.

(Generally if there are two Applications or protests on the same point they will be heard together.)

The issue of whether boats would have to sail the course in uncontested races to get the point. Murray revealed that in that situation, if the boat was sailing in an unsafe situation - with the winds close to the wind limit - whether the Race Committee should be able to declare a winner.

Iain Percy responded for Artemis Racing, said that they were very happy for other teams to be awarded the point to be awarded to the other boat in their Match when there was an uncontested sail-over. Artemis Racing were very cognisant of the dangers of teams sailing in an uncontested race in marginal conditions, with Percy adding the comment that he believed that it was almost more dangerous to sail in that state than in a race. 'With our experience we would hate to see a boat sailing around alone, and we are happy for the point to be awarded to the other team.'

'First and foremost it has to be a safe competition, that is something that is very important to use. We have to measure in within the current rules to get out there. After that we are happy to let everyone fight amongst themselves.'

For Luna Rossa, Max Sirena ruled out the possibility of Luna Rossa dropping out of the Regatta if the International Jury ruled against them after their Protest Hearing. 'We are here to race, the reason we are not racing on Sunday is from a principle point of view,' he explained.

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