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4 February 2010, 03:24 pm
First Decisions Published By America's Cup Jury
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33rd America's Cup
Valencia, Spain

Following the hearings of Cases AC33/01 and AC33/02 by the International Jury on 1 and 2 February, the decisions have now been published.
The decisions relating to the following Requests For Redress made by the Challenger, the Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC), have all now been published in full:

01/1 Incorrect Rules Precedence
01/2 Changing the Rules to Outlaw Wind Detection Equipment
01/3 Failure to Mutually Agree the Starting Times
01/4 Imposing Wind and Wave Limits That Directly Affect SNG's Own Yacht
01/5 Imposing Rules Regarding Skin Friction Reduction

For Case AC33/02, relating to the position and volume of water ballast on board when the boat is measured, a summary of their decision has been published in advance of their full reasoning which is expected later today.

Click here to read the full text of the Decisions.

Decisions Summary

Below a round up of the decisions is published, some key extracts and the net effect.

Request 01/1: Incorrect Rules Precedence.

Decision: The Request is upheld. The OA and RC are directed to issue an amendment deleting NoR 1.02/SI 1.2, and replacing them with 'The Deed of Gift shall prevail over any other conflicting rule'.

In effect: the Deed of Gift prevails, so precedent falls to The Racing Rules of Sailing.

Reasons given (key extract from 5)

"The RRS is the document that empowers the publication of the NoR and SI. The RRS are clear that some of its rules may not be changed by the SI. To give precedence to the NoR and SI over the RRS may result in conflict between the rules of the event. Such a conflict may give rise to the possibility that a boat's score could be made significantly worse through no fault of her own."

Request 01/2: Wind Detection Equipment:

Decision: Jury has allowed the request to be withdrawn.

In effect: mutual consent reached to amend NoR, the on board wind detection equipment is permitted

Reasons given (key extract from 5): " ........The parties advised the Jury they had mutually agreed in satisfaction of this request that NoR 14.2(d) (which previously read "lasers, radar or other detection equipment for measuring the relative position of the opponents yacht, other vessels and obstructions; and.....") will be deleted and replaced with: '(d) onboard lasers, radar or other detection equipment operated solely from onboard; and.....' "

Request 01/3: Failure to Mutually Agree on Start Time....

Decision: The Request is denied.

In effect: published start time is deemed appropriate, 10:06 is 'reasonable' and 'appropriate'

Reasons given: (key extracts from six)

"...... the clause in the Deed does not require the parties to agree a time for the start; rather it allows the Defender to delay naming its vessel until an agreed start time for the first race. If no start time is agreed then the OA has no alternative but to set a start time to facilitate a Match.

The OA had engaged with the Challenger and attempted to agree a start time. USA had wanted an afternoon start time. No agreement was reached.

The Jury is of the opinion that in the absence of agreement as to a first race start time, the OA has the responsibility to set appropriate start times.

The OA has set a scheduled start time of 10:06."

Request 01/4: Imposing wind and wave limit.

Decision: Redress is granted. NoR 6.7 Deleted.

In Effect: No wind and wave limit imposed, down to RC's discretion

Reasons given: (key extracts from three)

......." the RRS contain adequate provisions for a RC to delay starting a race because boats are unlikely to complete the course within the time limit, or because of safety concerns. After the start the RC may 'abandon the race because of foul weather' or 'because of insufficient wind making it unlikely that any boat will finish within the time limit' or 'for any other reason directly affecting the safety or fairness of the competition.' (RRS 32.1)

........Jury concurs with the view of USA that to impose wind and wave height limits, which are not provided for in the Deed, without the consent of the Challenger is an improper action that may result in a boat's score being made significantly worse through no fault of her own."

Request 01/5: Request to Impose Rules Regarding Skin Friction Reduction

Decision: Request denied,

In effect: The skin friction reduction technology is permitted

Team's Response

In response to the Jury's decisions, both team's issued media releases containing their summary of the decisions.

"We welcome the Jury's involvement and decisions for the sport. We are confident racing will go ahead as scheduled on Monday - weather permitting - and we are looking forward to finally getting this competition on the water," said Alinghi team skipper and tactician Brad Butterworth.

"This brings some degree of common sense back to the rules," commented GGYC spokesman Tom Ehman. "The pinnacle event in our sport, contested by the world's best sailors, ought to allow racing in conditions that even kids in the Optimist trainer class would say were too light to be any fun."

The ISAF-approved International Jury for the 33rd America's Cup Match consists of Chairman David Tillett (AUS), John Doerr (GBR), Josje Hofland (NED), Graham McKenzie (NZL) and Bryan Willis (GBR).

Click here for more details on the International Jury.

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