Team New Zealand's quest to have America's Cup defenders Oracle release crucial performance data remains locked in the jury room for a second week with the Kiwis presenting fresh evidence against Sir Russell Coutts' champion syndicate.
The saga will be crucial to determining who has the fastest AC72 in the buildup to September's race for the Auld Mug - the Kiwis, who are blowing away their limited opposition in the challenger series, or the Americans, whose buildup to the defence of the cup is being based around in-house testing between their two boats.
Under the rules the challengers have all their performance data made public after each race on the course. But at the moment Oracle have the ability to "race" their two boats on the course immediately after the challengers, yet their vital statistics remain private.
So the defenders have the luxury of matching their data against Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa to gauge their competitiveness.
But the information channel has a one-way flow and the Kiwis aren't happy. They want the numbers on what Oracle are producing.
They raised the matter with the international jury last week and it remains unresolved as the Louis Vuitton Cup heads into its final week of round-robin racing, highlighted by tomorrow morning's matchup between the Kiwis and Italians.
The jury released a statement yesterday saying new submissions would carry on till tomorrow because Team New Zealand had raised "new evidence".
No one is discussing the details, but this appears to be another classic case of the cup holders operating from a position of strength under the rules they help write.
Without an official defenders series, Oracle's time on the course, especially when they are using virtually the same conditions as the defenders, falls into a murky area.
Team New Zealand are standing their ground.
They clearly weren't satisfied with the initial written replies to their questions to the jury from Oracle, the Golden Gate Yacht Club, America's Cup Race Management, and the America's Cup Event Authority.
Grant Dalton's team have raised more questions and the jury wants those answered.
It's another messy squabble off the water, just when interest is ramping up on San Francisco Bay.
The long-awaited emergence of Artemis Racing's second boat has added some much-needed spice to the Louis Vuitton Cup.
The Swedes are in a mad dash to test the cat and get race-ready, still eyeing the Louis Vuitton challenger semifinals on August 7 as a realistic goal and regarding any participation in their two round-robin opportunities this week as "a bonus".
The buzz around the bay is that the Swedes might have a bit of speed to their boat if they can perfect their foiling in time.
That will send shivers around the Luna Rossa camp, given their ongoing struggles.
They have been severely off the pace against Team New Zealand and now have the added drawback of reverting to old rudders for tomorrow's race after damaging one of the new rudders in a solo race last Friday.
- Sunday News
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