AmericaOne New Zealand Chronicles:
AmericaOne Gets One More Day
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by Steve McMorran and Larry Edwards, Quokka Sports
Monday, October 25, 1999 -
AmericaOne on Tuesday evening was granted a further 24 hours to repair collision damage before concluding its part in the protracted first round robin of the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series.
Racing had already been suspended for 72 hours after Saturday's turbulent matches in which four boats were damaged -- three in pre-start collisions. Bravo España suffered transom damage after being hit by Nippon's Asura, which gashed its bow. In the other impact, Stars & Stripes emerged relatively unscathed from its bow-to-stern collision with AmericaOne.
Besides AmericaOne, the French and Swiss teams are not expected to sail on Wednesday. Both teams said they will sit out their final races to work on their boats. The rest of the challengers will sail their final races on Wednesday, barring any weather delays.
The international jury met on AmericaOne's appeal for additional time to repair damage its yacht suffered in the collision with Stars & Stripes. The jury ruled AmericaOne, which was not at fault, does not have to sail its final two races until Thursday.
"The measurers looked at the damage and agreed that another day was needed to complete the repair," said AmericaOne spokesperson Gina Von Esmarch. "The crew is full-on completing the extensive repair. Materials had to be flown in from the United States."
FAST 2000 had already indicated it will be unable by Wednesday to repair structural damage suffered Saturday when a running backstay support tore lose from the inner hull of its yacht Be Happy.
The Swiss syndicate will forfeit its matches against the Spanish and Japanese yachts, which will only have to sail the course to claim the single point at stake for a win in this round.
Luis Saenz, the rules expert of the Spanish syndicate, said AmericaOne's case for redress was vastly different from FAST 2000's. The Swiss syndicate saw that, understood the rules involved, and made no protest.
The damage to AmericaOne's scooped transom was severe. The syndicate completely removed the aft section and immediately christened the jagged trophy the Bonehead Award, voting Stars & Stripes helmsman Ken Read its first recipient (see picture above).
The jury seemed to have at its disposal the power to defer all races until Thursday, but Saenz said it was proper they had not done so.
AmericaOne, as the victim of a collision, was entitled to an extension to make necessary repairs while FAST 2000, as the victim of accidental structural failure, was not. To grant all challengers a further delay would provide some teams with relief to which they were not due, Saenz said.
The other syndicate affected by Tuesday night's decision was France's Le Défi Bouygues Telecom-Transiciel, who has publicised its decision to make major modifications to its yacht 6ème Sens between rounds. Each delay reduces the amount of time available to the French to extend their yacht's stern and replace its keel.
The French said they will not sail their final race on Wednesday, which is against the unbeaten Prada Challenge, and will instead spend the time getting ready to modify to their boat.
"The jury's decision means more work for all our team -- the sailors will also be participating," said spokesperson Isabel Genis. "We have decided to keep our energy for the work ahead rather than sail the final race."
"That was the big question on the table," Saenz said. "The most significant question was whether the international jury or race committee could change the rule, which says no one can change their boat within a round.
"There were some challengers who felt the French had a good case, but I spoke against it and people saw my view," he continued. "I argued very strongly that the notice of race and protocols are of great importance and the international jury do not have the power to change them.
"I stood very firmly on this and when everyone had heard my opinion they supported my idea," Saenz said. "They can only be changed by the unanimous consent of all challengers and that is of great comfort to everyone because you know you can never be overruled by a majority.
"This was a good decision for that reason," he concluded. "We have a very clear set of rules and these rules have to be respected. This sends a good and clear message to everyone that that will be the case."
Meanwhile, as the jury was meeting, AmericaOne skipper Paul Cayard put his time to good, practising starts in 30-foot Etchells-class yachts near the entrance to the Viaduct Basin. Cayard acknowledged last week that he is "not at the top of his game" after a poor start against the Italian boat Luna Rossa.
Although the jury may not have the power to postpone Wednesday's races, Mother Nature does. Weather watchers are studying the advance of an approaching cold front that threatens to wash out racing on Wednesday with winds of 20-30 knots. The Race Committee will make a decision on any possible weather delay at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday Auckland time.
For full story go to: www.americascup.org
For additional information on AmericaOne, contact:
Gina von Esmarch
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