Thursday, July 18, 2013

Another America's Cup farce

As if things weren't already farcicial enough, the America's Cup descended further yesterday; the Herald reports:

It could have been complete farce. Luna Rossa raced against themselves yesterday - but should not have won.
The Italians completed their solo sail, scoring their second point of the Louis Vuitton regatta - but were so slow the race should have been abandoned.
They took 43 minutes and six seconds to complete the shorter, 5-leg course on San Francisco Bay. The only problem was the minimum time allowed by America's Cup rules was 40 minutes.
If neither boat in the race finishes within 40 minutes on that course, the race has to be abandoned and sailed again. With opponent Artemis' boat still in the shed, Luna Rossa raced alone.
To be fair, the fact that they didn't complete the course in time was not down to the boat or the crew. Wind conditions were down, the lightest of the regatta so far - not exactly gentle zephyrs but at times the breeze hovered close to the minimum allowable limit of five knots and gusted only to 13 knots.
The fault - if there ever can be one in a one-boat race - was down to the race committee.
They somehow failed to detect that the race had not taken place in the required time parameters and neglected to abandon it. Instead of forcing the issue, an attack of commonsense broke out and the "race" result was allowed to stand.
Requiring Luna Rossa to race against themselves because they were too slow against themselves would have seemed the height of lunacy.

Rules are rules, surely, and there should be a protest at this flagrant breach by the officials. But who should protest? Should Luna Rossa argue that they should not be awarded a point? Will Artemis, unable to make it to the start line as they boat gets final repairs, protest their rivals being awarded the point for not being able to beat themselves? Or will Grant Dalton be writing to the international jury?

We jest, of course. But what the Herald describes as "an attack of commonsense" is rare in America's Cup competition, where the team with the best lawyer normally wins.

Having said that, the sight of two AC72's going at it on Sunday was a spectacle, even if Emirates Team New Zealand had the wood on its Italian rivals. Seeing sailboats flying across the water at speeds in excess of 40 knots, completely out of the water except for the narrow foils was a remarkable sight. Here's hoping that there is some close racing at some point in the Louis Vuitton regatta, or the America's Cup match itself.

1 comment:

Quintin Hogg said...

They only had to start to get the point.
Even then the conditions weren't conducive to sailing. Personally I would have abandoned when it became apparent the time limit would not be met. But then again I am not Harold Bennett the race officer.