2 hrs ·
Will the outcome of an 80million dollar America’s Cup campaign be decided by a split second, incorrect umpiring decision? May we yet see this America’s Cup return to the intrigues of off water court battles – so much a part of this historic event? The ‘foul’ incorrectly called against Artemis handed Team New Zealand a win they didn’t need as desperately as the Swedes. Getting out of the elimination zone of the first two rounds is proving hard for four of the five challenging teams – not helped by the ‘award’ of two free wins to BAR from a previous event sailed in different boats – a strange ruling and one unlikely to be repeated in a future AC event as it may well reward the slowest boat in the fleet with a free pass out of elimination. Making things up as they go along may well yet come to characterise this cycle of the America’s Cup. For the crews to admit that they are on steep learning curves is one thing, but for the basic rules of the ‘game’ to be so poorly thought through has the potential to spoil what, might have been at least, an entertaining interlude in America’s Cup history. That the protest was flawed, has now been admitted, but what are we to make of the lack of redress available to Artemis? As with anything in life, there are always choices and the protest committee have merely compounded their original error by not offering one. They could nullify the result and ask the competitors to race again. This would be ‘fair’ to both parties. The Kiwis could, of course, just be very sporting and retire! What, of course, the AC community is actually doing is hoping that Artemis avoids the cut and the problem simply goes away. I suspect, however, that the Swedish, lawyers are priming the pumps for legal action, if required, in good old America’s Cup tradition. Certainly they would have a case. Not only have the umpires admitted the mistake, but they have failed to offer redress. Furthermore the protest itself is questionable. Having realised that their planed for port and starboard ‘incident’ at the bottom mark was not going to play out, the New Zealanders threw their boat into a hand break turn to make it look as if they were not given room at the mark. The delay in pressing the blue protest button is very telling. At the subsequent press conference the Kiwi skipper mumbled about there being so much for the crew to do! Daggerboards, wing trim, jib trim, that he wasn’t even sure he had pressed the button – duhhh!!! And it wasn’t, in fact, until someone in the press audience pointed out that the penalty was awarded for a port and starboard incident that the Kiwis gave up on the room at the mark argument and reverted to their ‘pre-planned’ port and starboard strategy. Of course the umpires had to give up on the port and starboard argument, as they risked wrecking the entire regatta if every close ports tack crossing automatically invoked a penalty. Finally, having seen some pretty exciting match racing on these foiling cats, it seems a shame to also discourage the ‘art’ of causing your opponent to ‘fall-off’ their foils by allowing spurious attempts to argue that “we had to turn to tightly’, as the Kiwis said, to succeed.
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12ft mini one person keelboat.
Design from 1994 to race under both CHS and IOR rules.