Nippon Challenge Lodges Protest Against Stars & Stripes, French Stripped of Half a Point
Challenge has lodged a protest with the International
against Team Dennis Conner.
The protest (under Article 19 of the America's Cup Protocol) alleges Stars & Stripes sailed with an illegal appendage (keel or rudder) in its win over Asura in Race One of the Louis Vuitton Cup Semi-Finals.
Recall that Stars & Stripes exercised its right to one measurement change during the no-change period after the race. Team Dennis Conner was issued a new measurement certificate after making changes before Race Two. The protest is essentially a nationality issue - Article 19 of the America's Cup protocol reads:
"Providing a Challenger's yacht arrives in New Zealand with appendages (including foils, bulbs, canards, etc.) designed by a national and manufactured in the country of the Challenger, further appendages may be constructed in New Zealand for that yacht provided they have been designed by a national of the country of the Challenge."
The Japanese claim that an appendage on Stars & Stripes was not manufactured in either the US or in New Zealand. America True asked the America's Cup Arbitration Panel for a ruling on this very issue on the 27 December 1999.
Team Dennis Conner filed a submission at that time stating in its opinion, a syndicate could build a rudder anywhere, as long as it was designed by a national of the Challenger in question. The Arbitration Panel has yet to issue an interpretation. The International Jury is scheduled to hear the Japanese protest at 1900 on Friday, 7 January.
The International Jury issued two rulings on Thursday night. Firstly, the Jury granted Team Dennis Conner another day off to complete repairs on Stars & Stripes.
Chief Measurer Ken McAlpine visited Conner's camp in the morning and late in the afternoon to monitor progress and was satisfied that the team had worked expeditiously on the repairs so the Jury granted more time.
Stars & Stripes neighbour at the Viaduct Basin, and its next scheduled opponent, America True, submitted that Team Dennis Conner had already been granted plenty of time to get back on the water.
America True designer Phil Kaiko told the Jury hearing that he believed Stars & Stripes could have been fixed overnight, insinuating that the 48-hour delay was being used to wait for a more favourable weather pattern rather than being necessary to effect repairs.
But the Jury disagreed and this match will likely be tagged on the end of the schedule now, assuming the other matches go as scheduled today.
Secondly, the International Jury also held a hearing under Rule 14 against Le Défi.
After weighing all the evidence, the Jury decided to penalise the French one-half point for not doing enough to avoid a collision with Stars & Stripes in Race Three.
Bertrand Pacé's Le Défi with a negative score to this point
in the Louis Vuitton Cup