Team NZ want International Jury verdict

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 11:50 28/06/2013
America's Cup
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PRESSURE ON: America's Cup organisers have put some not-so-subtle pressure on the four syndicates over safety and rule changes.

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Team New Zealand have confirmed they will file for an International Jury verdict on "safety" recommendations that threaten to stall the America's Cup.

With the challenger series due to start in San Francisco on Monday week, the four syndicates remain deadlocked over two proposed changes to the boat design that regatta organisers are looking to push through under the safety rulings to get the United States Coast Guard permit for the event.

The 37 recommendations follow the training death of Artemis Racing's Andrew Simpson.

Virtually all of the new measures have been given the green light by the teams, but Team New Zealand and Italians Luna Rossa are against moves to allow larger rudder elevators and adding another 100 kilograms to stabilise the massive yachts while they are foiling.

Cup holders Oracle have been trialling the controversial elevators since March, but the Kiwis and Italians say it's too late to make those adjustments and also outside the current rules, which require all syndicates to agree.

Regatta director Iain Murray is pushing on.

Team New Zealand released a statement today, confirming they want another ruling from the full jury.

Two members of the International Jury attempted four days of mediation last week without success. Now the full five-person jury will assemble next week.

"It is our view that the contentious class rule changes are performance-related rules not necessary to ensure safety," the New Zealand statement says.

"The team says the organisers are wrong in seeking to legitimise the unauthorised class rule changes by seeking to use the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard to introduce these rules via the marine event permit."

Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton added: "We look forward to the jury determining the issue so, whatever the decision is, we can get on with the racing in the Louis Vuitton Cup starting July 7."

Earlier today Dalton told the San Francisco Chronicle: "We think he [Murray] has gone further than he needed to go.

"He's done a really good job, but he's gotten himself - welcome to America - in a liability scenario. He's worried that he'll get into a liability scenario (in case of another accident) with his recommendations."

The possibility of Supreme Court action has also been raised.

Dalton indicated that wasn't in his thinking, but the Italians have hinted they might go down that extreme avenue.

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"What's happening is just short of a scandal," Luna Rossa spokesman Francesco Longanesi-Cattani said.

But Team New Zealand say the ruling of the International Jury will be enough to sort out this mess.

"The decision of the jury will be final and binding on all parties, and contrary to some media speculation, any competitor who resorts to court in an issue where the jury has jurisdiction immediately ceases to be eligible to compete," their statement said.

The Italians and Kiwis claim they have proven that the cats can foil without the larger elevators. Oracle, who appear to have had early struggles with their foiling, have used the mechanisms to help them in this key area.

Oracle's New Zealand chief executive and America's Cup veteran Sir Russell Coutts was his usual calm self as the storm swirled.

"I've never seen a rules issue decide the outcome of a [Cup] race," Coutts said.

"These guys love to sit around, argue about minutia. They're not doing it for safety reasons. They want to try to force us to spend a week rebuilding the rudders in the boatshed. That's the only reason they're doing it."

- Fairfax Media

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