The details, if you haven’t seen them yet, are as follows: When setting up the AC45s for the RedBull Youth AC, measurers discovered lead hidden inside the kingpost – the dolphin-striker-like post that extends downward from the forward beam – of the BAR boat. Oracle did their own investigation and found that two of their boats were similarly modded. The Jury protested the boats, and Oracle and BAR withdrew from the regattas in question. Coutts says that management knew nothing about it, and while many one-design sailors will question the dodging of responsibility, there is a plausible explanation: Murray raised the minimum weight on the AC45s a couple of times in response to the gradual fattening of boats due to repairs. Teams were supposed to add weight in specific locations, and it seems that OTUSA’s boatbuilding team, possibly in conjunction with some of the sailing team, decided to put the weight in a position more advantageous to performance than inside the dotted lines they were given.
What really happened? We may never know; what we do know is that heads are going to roll thanks to an ISAF Rule 69 hearing…stay tuned.
SAN FRANCISCO — After Italy’s Luna Rossa handily won its third race in the Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals Friday, skipper Max Sirena lashed out against Oracle Team USA, which is under investigation for hiding lead pellets in the boats it raced in the America’s Cup World Series last year.
“I’m not happy for my sport, not happy for the people watching us and especially because they are always the guys that are playing these games really clean and nice, but in reality they are always the guys that try to cheat,” Sirena said with a strong Italian accent after Friday’s decisive win over Sweden’s Artemis Racing. “I don’t even look at them anymore. I lost my — how do you say in English? — my respect. I lost my respect for
The latest trouble to hit the America’s Cup is an embarrassing humiliation at the least for Oracle Team USA. The team has already forfeited its World Series trophies, but whether the team will be penalized by the international jury investigating the matter, or whether the America’s Cup next month will be affected, remains to be seen.
Russell Coutts, CEO of Oracle Team USA, acknowledged Friday that the infraction is “serious,” even though it occurred in 45-foot catamarans during four races in the ACWS last year.
The infraction was a “mistake” committed by unnamed workers without the knowledge of the team’s management or skippers, Coutts said. When the problem was brought to the team’s attention, the team immediately forfeited its titles.
“We don’t condone breaking the rules,” Coutts said. “We had a policy in place. That policy wasn’t followed.”
Coutts said this incident is nothing if not “stupidity,” because adding “lead shot” inside the front “king posts” didn’t help the overall performance of the boat.
“It’s pretty obvious it’s not designers that were involved,” he said. “If you had designer input, they would have told you not to do it. It’s actually going to make the boat go slightly slower.”
The extra weight was discovered by a boat builder preparing one of the AC45s for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup next month. After America’s Cup measurement committee members inspected it, they concluded that “the modifications appear to be intentional efforts” to circumvent the class rules “and are therefore serious in nature.” The three AC45s in question were sailed by Oracle, as well as Ben Ainslie Racing.
Ainslie, an Olympic gold medalist who borrowed an Oracle boat to sail for Britain in the ACWS last summer, and Emirates Team New Zealand issued comments Friday.
“As skipper of the boat I had no knowledge whatsoever that the boat was being raced out of measurement,” Ainslie said in a statement. “I am deeply disappointed by this incident and will do all I can to assist the relevant parties in any further investigations.”
Grant Dalton, managing director of the New Zealand team, said he was “stunned” by the revelations.
“I find it difficult to believe that what we learned last night actually happened at the top level of our sport,” Dalton said.
The only team making light of the news was Iain Percy, skipper of Sweden’s Artemis Racing. He said he was so busy preparing for Friday’s race against Luna Rossa that he barely had a chance to focus on Oracle’s troubles, except to “have a chuckle, feel sorry for my mates across the way then get on with the race today.”
The revelations overshadowed Race 3 of the best-of-seven Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals between Luna Rossa and Artemis Racing. On Friday both teams sailed their best races, with each improving its tactics and speed. Luna Rossa had a perfect start, hydrofoiled well through its downwind turns and beat Artemis by 1 minute, 18 seconds.
The teams face each other at 1:15 p.m. Saturday. If the Italians win, the Swedes will be eliminated and Luna Rossa will advance to the Louis Vuitton finals against New Zealand.
The Golden Gate Bridge never fully appeared, but the show went on anyway. Lots of boats and lots of capsizes. The breeze out of the West at about 15 knots. The wind and tide were flowing in the same direction during racing , so the water was flat. The racing was close to the Green. I think, having seen the racing, here and in Newport, that in fact, the viewing was better in Newport.
Some images of the racing in Newport, a reminder of what is to come in San Francisco.
The AC 45’s have been practicing all week ahead of the regatta scheduled for next week. Click on the link and see the action.
Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to go out with the Prada tender. I am still adjusting to how the Event works. I will confess I learned a great deal yesterday.
After a fleet race which determined the pairing for the match race series in which each pair would sail 3 races and the winner would advance to the semi-finals today. The New Zealand team had an unfortunate capsize. I was very surprised how long it took to right the boat. I cannot confirm but one report said that this was the first time that a boat had capsized with a mast extension. I have to assume that it quickly filled with water, acting as a counterbalance, rendering the normal procedures difficult. The New Zealand team drifted with the current for more than an hour before successfully righting the boat and towing it back to the base camp for repair.
we watched helplessly as the team’s tenders made numerous attempts to right the boat. The Italian team offered help and stood by.
I wonder after this experience with a 45 foot catamaran what might be considered with the future 72 foot cats?
Tonight is the America’s cup Hall of Fame induction at Marble house. the inductees are: Gerard Lambert, Patrizio Bertelli, and Jon Wright
Clear skies and a nice breeze coupled with flat water made it a perfect day for these boats. Russell Coutts seemed to be having trouble with the furler on the genniker on his boat; but that is what practice is for.
This is why I hurried back to Newport after the Bermuda Race. It is unlikely that I will ever get closer to the boats than this. The America’s Cup village has been likened to a circus. I think it is an appropriate analogy. They arrive and set up completely self-sufficient.