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Key officials named for 36th America's Cup Regattas

by America's Cup Media/Sail-World.com/nz 9 Jul 2019 14:36 PDT 10 July 2019
Challenger Selection Series - America's Cup 35 - Race Committee - Bermuda - June 2017 © Richard Gladwell

The Defender and Challenger of Record organisations for the America's Cup presented by Prada have announced the specialist race management, rules and measurement teams chosen for the competition's 36th edition taking place in Auckland, New Zealand in 2021.

Only one New Zealander is named in the line-up across the three Committees - which is a major hand-off for the Defender which traditionally tries to keep some control of the event through the appointment of officials. In fact there are only two officials domiciled in US, and the other five of the eight named across three committees are not compatriots of any of the competing teams.

The limitation on the powers of the Committees is set out in the Protocol and Class rule. None of the Committees can change the Class Rule except with the unanimous consent of all competitors (who must also be paid up and "financial").

If a Competitor feels that an interpretation does effectively create a new class rule, as happened in the 2013 America's Cup when the Measurement Committee made an Interpretation which effectively made foiling illegal, then that can be referred to the three person Arbitration Panel for a final and binding decision.

America's Cup stalwart John Craig (CAN) has been named as Regatta Director and will be in ultimate charge of all racing activity, including in 2020 the America's Cup World Series events and the Prada Cup Challenger Selection Series, and the America's Cup Match in 2021.

Highly experienced rules expert Richard Slater (AUS) has been chosen as Chief Umpire and as such oversees a hand-picked team of umpires responsible for ensuring fair racing at all America's Cup events.

A dedicated committee of rules experts has been introduced for this latest edition of the America's Cup to provide the competing teams with official interpretations on the AC75 Class Rule as they each design and build their revolutionary foiling monohull yachts.

The AC75 Class Rule Committee is made up of internationally-renowned sailing experts Stan Honey (USA), Carlos de Beltràn (ESP) and Hasso Hoffmeister (GER) and has already been active for the last year responding to the teams' requests for specific clarification of the Class Rule. It will not travel to America's Cup events.

Measurement Committee

The Measurement Committee is responsible for conducting all measurement-related checks of the teams' AC75 foiling monohull yachts - which are expected to be launched over the coming months - and for issuing AC75 Class certificates.

Shaun Ritson (AUS) is the coordinator of the Measurement Committee, with the supporting expertise of Daniel Jowett (NZL) and David McCollough (USA).

Commenting on the appointments, Russell Green, rules and legal advisor for the Defender Emirates Team New Zealand, was instrumental in bringing the race officials together for the 36th America's Cup.

"We are fortunate to have secured the services of such well respected international officials with established reputations at the top level of our sport including previous experience in the America's Cup," Green commented.

Matteo Plazzi - Technical Director at the Challenger of Record America's Cup 36 - the organisation responsible for running the Prada Cup Challenger Selection Series and the America's Cup World Series - said each of the appointees: "brought a wealth of experience and integrity to the 36th edition of the America's Cup".

"Their appointments reinforce our commitment as Challenger of Record to fair competition and exceptional racing for the Challenging teams in the events we are organising in 2020 and 2021, as well as in the America's Cup Match," Plazzi said.

Background and experience:

Race Management

John Craig (CAN) - Regatta Director
A hugely experienced and well-respected race management expert, Craig was principal race officer at the 34th America's Cup and the associated challenger selection series and America's Cup World Series regattas. He also oversaw the inception of World Sailing's Sailing World Cup international regatta series and was race manager for US Sailing's prestigious Miami Olympic Classes Regatta, as well as serving as race director for the Extreme Sailing Series and the Red Bull Foiling Generation series.

Richard Slater (AUS) - Chief Umpire
Slater is a World Sailing qualified international umpire and judge and was the chief umpire at the 35th America's Cup in Bermuda. He also is the vice chairman of the World Sailing racing rules committee, a member of the international umpires sub-committee and chairs or is a member of numerous World Sailing working parties. He also headed up the World Sailing working party which created the high-speed rules that are used by many classes of high-performance boats. As well as his race management experience, Slater has worked with several professional sailing teams as a rules advisor and in team management - including teams that have won the America's Cup three times and the Volvo Ocean Race once. Slater also provides support to the Australian Sailing Team ahead of the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games.

AC75 Class Rule Committee

Stan Honey (USA)
One of the world's best-known racing navigators, Honey's achievements include winning the Volvo Ocean Race around the world and setting a Jules Verne record for the fastest non-stop circumnavigation of the planet - as well as contributing as a navigator for multiple other 24-hour-distance, transatlantic, transpacific and singlehanded records. Honey holds a bachelor's degree in engineering and applied science from Yale University and a master's degree in electrical engineering from Stanford. He is a three-time Emmy Winner for technical innovation in Sports TV, and a member of both the US National Inventors and the Sports Broadcasting Halls of Fame. A prolific inventor, he holds 30 patents associated with navigation, tracking, and augmented reality graphics and led the development of the yellow 'first-down line' widely used now in the broadcast of American football. He is also responsible for the ESPN "K-Zone" baseball pitch tracking and highlighting system, as well as the Race/FX tracking and highlighting system used in NASCAR.

Carlos de Beltrán (ESP)
De Beltrán joined World Sailing as technical and offshore director in 2017 and has been involved with the last four editions of the America's Cup. He has also served as chief measurer for the M32 and RC44 class associations and was the equipment inspector for three editions of the Volvo Ocean Race. He holds two master's degrees - one in naval architecture and one in product design.

Hasso Hoffmeister (GER)
Hoffmeister has worked for Classification Society DNVGL (formerly Germanischer Lloyd) since graduating as a naval architect in 1993. He is an expert in the assessment of marine structures, yachts and rigs and has developed several standards and guidelines, amongst which are the GL Guidelines for Structural Design of Racing Yachts. His particular field of expertise is the evaluation of composite structures. While working with Germanischer Lloyd, Hoffmeister was also rig designer of United Internet Team Germany's during the 32nd America's Cup.

Measurement Committee

Shaun Ritson (AUS) - Coordinator
Ritson has been a consultant naval architect for the past 25 years. He is a World Sailing international measurer for the Moth Class and served on the Measurement Committee for the 31st, 32nd and 34th America's Cup editions. He was also a measurer for three Volvo Ocean Races, including serving as chief measurer for the 2011-12 edition.

Daniel Jowett (NZL)
An experienced navigator with many offshore racing miles to his name Jowett trained as a mechanical engineer specialising in yacht aerodynamics and has worked as an engineer at the Yacht Research unit and Twisted Flow wind tunnel in Auckland, as well as with Vspars. He has been involved in two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race, working in race control during the 2013-14 edition and as the electronics team leader in 2017-18.

David McCollough (USA)
McCollough operates McCollough Yachts LLC, a yacht design and engineering firm in Newport, Rhode Island. He studied mechanical engineering at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and yacht design at The Landing School in Kennebunkport, Maine. McCollough Yachts has been responsible for several race-winning multihull sailboats as well as luxury cruising boats and has recently leveraged foiling knowledge gained from racing sailboats into innovative foil-assisted power catamarans. As a member of the team which wrote the class rule for the 34th America's Cup, McCollough has an excellent understanding of the unique intricacies of this competition.

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