America's Cup rules battle heads to jury

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 09:50 14/06/2013

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The America’s Cup has predictably taken an ugly twist with the battle over the regatta’s rules amendments in the wake of the tragic training capsize being passed on to an international jury to try to find some common ground.

Regatta director Iain Murray made the decision to bring in the jury, which includes New Zealand barrister Graham McKenzie, as a war of words erupted this week between Team New Zealand Artemis, the Swedish syndicate struggling in the wake of the costly accident in San Francisco.

TNZ are upset at Artemis’ decision to withdraw from the early rounds of the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series. Artemis have indicated they will only start competitive sailing in the semifinals.

The three-boat challenger series is fast turning into a farce. TNZ will be left to sail five early races against Italy’s Luna Rossa while Artemis try to get up to speed in their new, second catamaran.

The winner of the challenger series will eventually face American syndicate Oracle for the America’s Cup.

TNZ are questioning Artemis’ ability to forfeit races under the current rules.

TNZ and Luna Rossa had suggested postponing a start to the regatta from July 7 to July 19 to allow Artemis time to be involved in the initial round-robin phase.

Artemis, using its power as challenger of record, vetoed that proposal and that has TNZ questioning why the challenger series isn’t being run “on terms that meet the wishes of the majority of challengers” as “normal”.

So once again the America’s Cup is dragged into the jury room, this time before the 34th edition of sport’s oldest contest has even started.

The America's Cup Regatta Management released a statement outlining the initial process will see two days of mediation – next Wednesday and Thursday have been set aside. All teams have been asked to send two representatives to try to peacefully find some common ground.

If mediation can’t sort things out, the jury will have to make a hard decision.

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- Fairfax Media

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