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10 Aug 2013
Sail-World New Zealand: August 10, 2013 - On Crunch Point
Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand newsletter for August 10, 2013
The Louis Vuitton Cup, is nearing the end of its second phase, with Luna Rossa on Match Point and her opponent Artemis Racing playing a game of diminishing margins, and has one last chance to reverse the tables on the Italians.
To date their rate of progress has been impressive with foiling gybes today reducing the margin to just 78 seconds - the closest race of the regatta. However in AC72's travelling at speeds just short of 40kts, that is still a long way, on a course which has little in the way of passing once they have cleared the first gybe.
We have full coverage of the first three days of racing in this edition of Sail-World.com's New Zealand newsletter.
As the two Semi-Finalists battle it out for second place in the Final, the two top teams are training in their own way.
Videographer, John Navas, has been following the action from ashore, and we have a gallery of seven of his fine videos in this edition to give an up-close view on the action that doesn't make the television screen.
Ashore the investigation by theInternational Jury into the measurement issue relating to three AC45's serviced by Oracle Team USA.
The accusation of cheating has been widely bandied around in the media. It is a easy shot, and those who have sat on an International Jury will know that all is often not quite what it seems, and often there is an explanation which is accepted by the Jury. At that point all the hot-headed words sound very hollow.
People are entitled do to stupid things, and often do. Sometimes they get pinged for that, other times just being picked up is punishment enough and their embarrassment is palpable.
The issue here is not what was done with fitting weight outside the specified correction weight location, but what happened next.
What did their masters do, when the error was picked up - were they completely open with the Measurement Committee and the other authorities involved? Or was some attempt at a cover-up attempted.
The actions by the International Jury would tend to indicate that they have some concerns, and the report by the Measurement Committee on Oracle Team USA would indicate that there is more to this than a stupid error by the shore crew.
The difficulty for Oracle Team USA is that the Protocol for this America's cup Regatta embraces the completed America's Cup World Series events, as well as the America's Cup Regatta, currently underway. Therefore infringements in the ACWS can be carried onto the current Regatta, and into the Cup itself.
The other issue is that sailing, as a sport, is hinged on the principles of Integrity, Honesty and Trust. Competitors have to have the integrity to ensure that their boat complies with the class rules at all times. Inadvertently shifting something out of position is one thing. But in single manufacturer one designs, as the AC45's are, altering a labeled part that is assumed by the presence of that label to be in compliance, and would not be checked by the measurers.
Competitors have to have the Honesty, if they do infringe a Measurement rule to be completely open - even if that is to their significant disadvantage. It is not their place to determine or manipulate the outcome. That is the Jury's function. Be anything less than honest and transparent, and the Jury will find out, and then you are seriously for the high-jump.
Finally other competitors have to Trust their fellow competitors not to cheat, particularly in areas that cannot be seen. That is why open dinghy parks are so effective in a self-policing sport in the dinghy classes at World Championship and Olympic level. There is nothing quite like the disinfectant of transparency. However that is not the case with the America's Cup where team bases are secure, closed areas. The scope for doing something illegal is much higher. But even so the other teams and measurers have to be able to Trust that their Competitor will not do something illegal, as the chances of them being caught are very slim indeed.
Without these three principles being in place, we simply don't have a sport, or an America's Cup.
On a brighter note, New Zealand is on the cusp of winning a World Championship in an Olympic class with 2012 Olympic Gold medalists, Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie enjoying an 11 point margin going into the final medal race, in the 2013 470 World Championships being sailed in La Rochelle, France.
Good news too, for the top Mens crew of Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox making the cut for the Medal race. That guarantees them a place in the top ten in the World Championship and will get this talented young crew that much higher up the funding ladder with three years left to the 2016 Olympics.
Ironically back into the mid-1980's New Zealand completely dominated the 470 class but could never cut the mustard at the Olympic Games in terms of winning Medals. That mould was broken in 2012 with the Gold medal win in the Womens 470. The New Zealand sailing team have two extremely good coaches involved in the 470 program, with Nathan Handley the 2012 Gold Medal winning coach, and Hamish Willcox a former World Champion in the class who was with the highly successful British team for several years.
We have daily reports on the racing from La Rochelle, and don't forget to check sail-world.com on Sunday to find the final result.
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