America’s Cup confirms Arbitration Panel

Published on October 28th, 2022

Disputes in the America’s Cup are as old as the competition itself, with the modern era relying on an ‘Arbitration Panel’ to resolve disputes that fell outside of the racing rules of sailing or the individual class rules of the yachts themselves. Additionally, the panel is a vital source of arbitration between the Defender, the Challenger of Record, or individual Challengers should the need arise.

For AC37, the panel of David Tillett (Chairman) from Australia and Graham McKenzie from New Zealand, who were both on the AC36 Arbitration Panel, being joined by Bryan Willis from Great Britain.

“We’ve assembled the very best in our sport for the role and their impartiality and wisdom is something that will ensure fairness and equanimity throughout AC37 in Barcelona,” said Grant Dalton, CEO of America’s Cup.

“Individually they are all hugely respected in the sport, and specifically within the America’s Cup where they have so much experience, and we simply could not have assembled better representatives to make up the Panel. I wish them every success going forward.”

From left: David Tillett, Graham Mckenzie, and Bryan Willis

David Tillett (AUS)
David Tillett continues in the role as Chairman of the Arbitration Panel, a post that he held during the 36th America’s Cup in Auckland having been chairman of the Jury which acted as the Arbitration Panel at AC34 in San Francisco (2010-2013). He was Chairman of the Jury at the 33rd America’s Cup in Valencia (2010) having previously served as a Member of the Jury in both the 2007 and 2003 America’s Cups.

Tillett originally started his Cup career as an umpire in the 1992 America’s Cup in San Diego and went on to the 1995 Cup in San Diego, the 2003 Cup in New Zealand and then Valencia in 2004-2007. He also served as a Member of the Olympic Jury continually through the 1996 to 2012 Games and was Chairman of the Olympic Jury at Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, and London 2012.

He was awarded the honor of ‘Member of the Order of Australia’ for services to sailing in 2014 and inducted into the South Australia Sports Hall of Fame in 2021. Most notably, he was International Cadet World Champion in 1969 – a feat not to be underestimated! And most recently in October 2022, Tillett was honored with the Beppe Croce Trophy by World Sailing for ‘outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing.’

Graham Mckenzie (NZL)
As a barrister and solicitor of the New Zealand Law Society since 1974, Graham Mckenzie attained a Master of Laws from Warwick University as well as holding numerous Directorships at listed and non-listed companies throughout his career.

His involvement with the America’s Cup began in 2004 as a Member of the International Jury for AC32. He then served as both an Arbitration Panel member and International Jury member for the 33rd Americas Cup (2008-2009). He was further appointed as one of a three-person Panel to advise the New York Supreme Court on the America’s Cup before becoming a member of the International Jury for the 34th America’s Cup (2010–2013).

Mckenzie is the co-author of three books on the 32nd, 33rd, and 34th America’s Cup and a member of the International Sailing Federation (now named World Sailing) Constitution Committee since 2008 alongside being a member of World Sailing’s Ethics Commission since 2013.

Bryan Willis (GBR)
Bryan Willis was ‘Rules Advisor’ to the Swedish ‘Sverige’ team in 1980, the British ‘Victory’ team in 1983, and the Australian ‘Kookaburra’ Defense in 1987. He was instrumental in setting up the International Sailing Federation (now World Sailing) umpiring system and qualifying international umpires.

Willis was a jury member and Chief Umpire for the America’s Cup in 1992, Jury Chairman and Chief Umpire in 2000 and 2003, Chairman of the combined Jury and Arbitration Panel and Chief Umpire in 2007, and member of the Arbitration Panels in 2010 & 2013.

He has been a member/chairman of no less than five Olympic Juries and many international championships. He was for many years a member of the World Sailing Racing Rules Committee, a member of the Judges Sub-committee and chaired the Race Officials Committee and the Race Management Sub-Committee. In 2018 he received the World Sailing Beppe Croce Trophy for services to sailing and in 2020 was inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame.

Following the publication of the AC37 Protocol and AC75 Class Rule on November 17, 2021, the AC75 Class Rule and AC Technical Regulations were finalized on March 17, 2022. The entry period opened December 1, 2021 and runs until July 31, 2022, but late entries for the 37th America’s Cup may be accepted until May 31, 2023. The Defender was to announce the Match Venue on September 17, 2021 but postponed the venue reveal, confirming it would be Barcelona on by March 30, 2022. The 37th America’s Cup will be held in September/October 2024.

Teams revealed to challenge defender Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL):
INEOS Britannia (GBR)
Alinghi Red Bull Racing (SUI)
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team (ITA)
NYYC American Magic (USA)

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