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Prada and Team New Zealand Agree on Rules

Article courtesy of http://www.lvcup.com/

Prada and Team New Zealand Agree on Sailing Instructions for the America's Cup

The 30th Match for the America’s Cup will be raced with onboard Umpires (observers) while penalty turns resulting from fouls may be delayed. That was the agreement reached today between Italy’s Prada Challenge, representing the Yacht Club Punta Ala, and Team New Zealand, the Defenders for the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

The 11th-hour outcome resulted from a mediation session presided over by Bryan Willis, Chairman of the International Jury and Chief Umpire for the Match.

The America’s Cup Arbitration Panel, which was to begin hearing an application by the America’s Cup Challenge Committee on Prada’s behalf, postponed its hearing and subsequently agreed to the withdrawal of the application after reviewing the revised portions of the Sailing Instructions.

Today’s decision brought to a conclusion efforts by Team New Zealand and ACCA to agree on the wording of the Sailing Instructions. The process started when there were still six Louis Vuitton Cup Semi-Finalists, and continued when Prada Challenge was the only remaining Challenger that needed to reach agreement with Team New Zealand.

In early January, Team New Zealand began advocating the use of on-board observers in place of the Wing Boat observers that were a feature of the Louis Vuitton Cup. While some Challengers opposed the change, there was cautious approval from the Italian camp.

The Italians were opposed to instant penalty turns, which were advocated by Team New Zealand but which were not used in the Louis Vuitton Cup. The final agreement calls for use of the Delayed Penalty System (Rule 9 of Appendix C, the Match Racing Rules), similar to that used in the Louis Vuitton Cup. There is one difference from the practice adopted for the Louis Vuitton Cup. Umpires shall signal with a “red flag”, calling for an immediate execution of a penalty turn, if a boat breaks a rule and gains a controlling position. In the Louis Vuitton Cup, Umpires had the option to use the red flag at their discretion.

“Both parties came to the table with the will to resolve their differences,” said Laurent Esquier, Operations Manager for the Prada Challenge. “There was no substantial disagreement. It was a matter of fine-tuning the wording.”

Russell Green, rules advisor to Team New Zealand said: “It’s not just the words, but the understanding between all parties. The ‘red flag’ rule is now clearer, not vague.”

A joint statement was issued by representatives of ACCA and the Prada Challenge, representing the Challenger, and AC2000 on behalf of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Team New Zealand, representing the Defender. It said:

“With goodwill and co-operation on both sides, and with the assistance of the Chairman of the International Jury, the Challenger and the Defender have agreed to the following:

“That a delayed penalty system with red flag, developed during the Louis Vuitton Challenger Series, and in force during the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals, be used for the Match, and

“To a system of on-board observers, and that both parties will work towards resolving any operational problems and related issues.”

- Keith Taylor

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