America's Cup: Jury refuses to support Regatta Director on Ruddergate

Rudder and elevator - Oracle Team USA - Media Tour July 3, 2013

The International Jury have ruled that the Regatta Director did not have the authority to amend Class Rules in the AC72 for the 34th America's Cup.

The decision was predicted from the outset by Sail-World, and is consistent with an earlier case (AC16), also taken by Emirates Team New Zealand which prevented the Measurement Committee introducing rule changes. That decision said that the Measurement Committee could only interpret Class Rules, not alter them by interpreting them in a particular way, which was effectively a class rule change.

In the current case the International Jury upheld the position that one of the regatta notices issued by the Regatta Director 'had the effect of changing a Class Rule'. It was therefore illegal.

As the matter now stands the previous class rules now remain in effect.

Larry Ellison is shown the the rudder elevators on Oracle Team USA during a visit on March 4, 2013
The stance taken by the Regatta Director that the change was necessary for safety, and could be incorporated and effected by inclusion in the Event Permit issued by the US Coast Guard was rejected.

It is not clear what will happen from this point. It may be that the matter may be referred to the Teams for approval as required by the AC72 Class Rules, however that will probably fail given that two of the teams oppose the changes.

Emirates Team New Zealand had asked the International Jury to grant a dispensation to allow Artemis Racing to compete, however it is unclear this can be achieved, as the Class Rules provide for the Teams to unanimously make changes, not give dispensations to one Team, but not others.

The International Jury declined to make such a dispensation.

It is not certain as to what the Regatta Director will do in respect of the Event Permit issued by the US Coast Guard, which will require amendment. Earlier he took a very strong stance on the Applications taken to the International Jury saying that if the Jury made the Decision it has just made then he could not go to the US Coast Guard and say that the event was safe, without his changes to the rudder elevators.

That being the case, Murray suggested that as the Regatta may be stopped.

No comment has been made by Murray or the regatta organisers as to their next steps. Bob Fisher will report from San Francisco later in the day.



The Jury Decision is as follows:

186.
Regatta Notice 189 has the effect of changing the Class Rule and is therefore not in accordance with Protocol Article 4.3(k). The Regatta Director is ordered to withdraw RN 189.

187.
The Jury will not make an order under Protocol Article 15.4(b) or (e).

188.
To the extent that the Measurement Committee has acted as if RN189 has amended the Class Rule, the Measurement Committee is ordered to apply the Class Rule as it existed before the issue of RN 189.

189.
The Jury orders the Regatta Director to make the views of all the Competitors known to the CG with regard to the Marine Event Permit if circumstances necessitate a change to any component of the safety plan along with the assessment on how the change affects the overall safety of the event.

The full decision can be read by http://noticeboard.americascup.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/JN075.pdf!clicking _here