Syndicates still undecided on Cup safety rules

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 05:00 21/06/2013
Dean Barker
Team New Zealand
CHANGE OF SCENE: Dean Barker and San Francisco Giants second baseman Nick Noonan.

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While the America's Cup syndicates' powerbrokers tried to negotiate a way forward for the troubled regatta, the four crews enjoyed a day at the baseball in San Francisco yesterday.

Team New Zealand's Dean Barker shared the honour of throwing the first pitch with his three rivals. Unlike a couple of his opponents, Barker managed to get the ball into the glove of San Francisco Giants player Nick Noonan on the full, though it certainly wasn't in the strike zone.

"This is my first ever baseball game, and probably no better one to go to than watching The Giants, the world champions of last year," Barker said as he led his crew out on to the famous field where sport's oldest trophy, sat centre stage alongside the pitcher's mound.

The Giants were hosting the San Diego Padres with AT&T Park sold out for the 200th consecutive game there.

Back at the harbour two members of the international jury, including Auckland lawyer Graham McKenzie, were meeting team representatives to try to mediate the impasse that has seen a stalemate on several of the 37 safety and rule recommendations made in the aftermath of the training death of Artemis Racing's Andrew Simpson.

Stephen Barclay, the event authority's chief executive, reminded everyone of the need to find some common ground - a majority is required for changes - with those recommendations already attached to the regatta's safety permit which is before the United States Coast Guard, awaiting the permit to start racing on July 7.

Without the coast guard's approval, the Louis Vuitton Cup racing will remain on hold.

Barclay is confident the waters can be smoothed "over the next two weeks". But that takes it right up to the start of the opening race between Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa (Italy).

If the current two-day mediation process isn't successful the full five-person International Jury will be called upon to make a binding ruling.

The major concern appears to lie with Artemis pulling out of the opening phase of the challenger series and only fronting for August's semi-finals, a move that has left both the Kiwis and Italians unhappy.

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