Team New Zealand are increasingly frustrated with what's happening on the water but quietly pleased with what's about to happen in the jury room as America's Cup holders Oracle face an unprecedented hearing over cheating allegations.
The Kiwis took the third race of the Louis Vuitton Cup final as Luna Rossa again retired with damage to its wingsail in San Francisco yesterday.
That left New Zealand leading the best of 13 series 2-1. But with breakages determining all three races Dean Barker's crew simply aren't getting the hard-nosed competition needed ahead of the America's Cup showdown with Oracle that starts on September 8.
"We had what felt like a yacht race, a little bit unique," New Zealand skipper Dean Barker said of their tight tussle with Luna Rossa at the start yesterday before the Italians stalled on the third leg.
"It'd be nice if we got a couple where both boats race right to the end."
There's also the frustration of not being able to get two races in each day as scheduled because the bay's notorious winds have got up each day, taking them past the wind limits that were downscaled after the Artemis tragedy.
"It's pretty frustrating," Kiwi grinder Derek Seward said. "It's semi expected when we leave the dock, but you hope you can get a couple of races in and a hopefully a couple of wins."
The challengers have a lay day today, giving the shore crew the chance to run the microscope over the AC72s that are proving increasingly fragile the harder they are pushed into this troubled regatta.
Gear failure has been the focus of the early tussles of this week.
But that has now been overshadowed by the International Jury confirming a double hearing for Oracle after deciding their investigations into "unauthorised modification of AC45 yachts" by Sir Russell Coutts syndicate warrant Oracle answering charges of "gross misconduct".
Such a case has never blotted the long history of the America's Cup and the ramifications could be substantial. Fines, bans, or loss of points are possible penalties.
It's understood 16 members of the Oracle team were interviewed along with members of the America's Cup Race Management team. Now the probe deepens.
Both Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa have labelled Oracle as cheats and will see this development as further justification for their concerns.
Coutts maintains the weight and measurement adjustments to the AC45s didn't alter the performance of the boats used to win the last two world series and were carried out without the team management's knowledge.
But Oracle may be under the gun for their behaviour since the illegalities became known as much as the dodgy behaviour that they have already admitted.
It's been simmering since August 4 but escalated with the jury's decision yesterday to proceed with alleged breaches of rule 69.1 under the ISAF racing rules, and article 60 of the America's Cup protocol.
There's juicy irony in article 60 being raised. It was introduced for this regatta to protect the integrity of the event after Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton was outspoken in his views on the way the America's Cup was evolving with this highly expensive edition.
Some even dubbed it as the "Dalton Amendment", designed to muzzle him.
He went on the front foot about Oracle's actions when their transgressions were first made public. You can be sure he'll have a word or two more when this decision is finally made public.
In the meantime, he'll be happy to see Oracle battling a major distraction with their cup defence now just 19 days away.
It's an embarrassment the regatta organisers want sorted out before the end of the month.
- © Fairfax NZ News