Luna Rossa legal action could delay Cup start

RONNIE COHEN
Last updated 15:51 25/06/2013
America's Cup
Getty Images
PRESSURE ON: America's Cup organisers have put some not-so-subtle pressure on the four syndicates over safety and rule changes.

Relevant offers

Other Sports

Gutsy Sam Gaze claims 5th in mountainbiking World Cup opener New Zealand K4 kayakers happy with progress despite missing medal at World Cup regatta Aaron Gate emerges from Tour of Ireland as top sprinter Lisa Carrington claims third World Cup gold as Kiwi pair win bronze Lisa Carrington wins another gold at canoe sprint World Cup in Germany Kiwi rowers and sailors determined Rio water issues won't diminish Olympic hopes New York Rangers beat Tampa Bay Lightning to tie NHL Eastern Conference finals series Lakers star Kobe Bryant expected to step away after next season Peloton finishes for Aaron Gate and Alex Frame at Tour of Ireland Lisa Carrington into kayaking World Cup final in Germany

A lawyer for the Italian team competing in this summer's America's Cup sailing regatta in San Francisco says he is prepared to go to court over last-minute rule changes that came in the wake of a fatal training accident in May.

The four teams competing for the cup have been meeting with mediators to reach agreement on 37 safety measures that Regatta Director Iain Murray and race organisers formulated after the wreck of an Artemis Racing catamaran killed Olympic gold medallist Andrew Simpson.

While there is broad agreement on most of the new rules, a fierce dispute has arisen over a change in the specification for a piece of boat equipment known as a rudder elevator, which helps control the super-fast, high-tech catamarans when they go airborne on hydrofoils.

"We're prepared to do anything it takes to respect the rules," Luis Saenz, general counsel for the Luna Rossa Challenge said.

Legal action would take place in New York Supreme Court, which has jurisdiction over the world's oldest sporting trophy, and could threaten the July 7 start of racing.

Luna Rossa argues that the rudder elevators relate to performance and not boat safety. A report in a New Zealand newspaper indicated that Emirates Team New Zealand was also opposed to the rudder elevator change. Murray was not available for comment, and the other teams declined to comment on the rules.

"The class rule doesn't contemplate rudder elevators at all," Saenz said. "We think they have nothing to do with safety. They are a performance instrument, and we do not believe the regatta director should get into regulating rudder elevators.

"The regatta director has all the right in the world to issue recommendations. He cannot change the class rule."

Those rules set out parameters for the design of the boats, and all teams must agree to any changes.

Race participants have agreed to settle their disputes via a five-person international jury. But "if the jury became crazy" and exceeded its jurisdiction by allowing the rules to be changed without unanimous consent, Saenz said he believes the Italians would have the right to go to court.

The San Francisco coroner and the police department are continuing to investigate the May incident, with help from the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard must issue a permit for the event, and the new safety rules are expected to be a part of the formal permit application. Chief Petty Officer Mike Lutz said he anticipated issuing the permit without a problem.

Ad Feedback

"We won't go into how they build their vessels," he said. "That's up to the America's Cup."

- Reuters

Special offers
Opinion poll

Will Shane Cameron beat Kali Meehan on Saturday?

For sure. Cameron will knock him out.

It will be close but I think Cameron on points.

Meehan will knock him out. This is his last fight.

I'm tipping Meehan to win on points.

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content