America’s Cup: “Summer of Change”

Published on July 7th, 2013

The marketing tagline for the 34th America’s Cup started as the “Summer of Sailing” but then someone got a hold of it and changed it to the “Summer of Racing”. Maybe we should now play it safe and just call it the “Summer of Change”.

Here’s a quick recap of recent events:

Following the May 9 accident, a list of 37 safety recommendations was released by Regatta Director Iain Murray on May 22. Since many of the list items changed the Protocol or Class Rules, those items required a vote of the teams. While it is unclear what was verbally said among the teams, no vote appears to have been documented. When all 37 list items were submitted as part of the Coast Guard event permit, the Italian and New Zealand teams protested a couple of the rule changes regarding rudder design.

According to Murray, if the protest is upheld, the event permit is voided, and no racing can occur until he re-submits an event application that he believes presents a safe plan for the racing. But the protest couldn’t be heard until Monday, and the first race was on Sunday between the Italian and New Zealand team.

The Kiwis were okay with racing on Sunday, but the Italians found it to be inappropriate. “By racing under these rules, we would somehow silently approve them,” clarified Max Sirena, skipper of Luna Rossa Challenge 2013. “This is not the case. Therefore we have no choice but to stay ashore until the International Jury has reached a decision on the matter. We have been forced into this position. We did not come to San Francisco to watch races, but to race.”

The Kiwi team went on to race on Sunday, completed the course and earned the first point of the Louis Vuitton Cup. And, despite what had previously been stated (what a shock, a change!), the one-boat race was broadcast on YouTube (props to Tucker Thompson and Andy Green for commentating the ‘race’). At least Queen Victoria did not ask who was in second place.

With the Swedish Artemis Racing team not ready to compete, and the race schedule calling for them to be on course July 9 and 11, the next possible ‘two boat’ race will be when the Italian and New Zealand teams are scheduled to meet again on July 13… assuming a Coast Guard event permit is in place. – Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

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