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Cup jury upholds protests over rule changes

An international jury upheld the protest by America's Cup syndicates Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge over moves to alter the AC72 Class Rule.

The America’s Cup Event Authority said Thursday that racing can proceed as scheduled if the teams adhere to the AC72 Class Rule, as well as to the 37 safety rules established after the Artemis Racing capsize that resulted in the death of Andrew “Bart” Simpson in May, according to a statement on the America’s Cup website.

“If the teams take this step, it will ensure the safety plan remains intact and the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Event Permit is unaffected,” ACEA chief executive Stephen Barclay said in a statement.

The decision by the international jury upheld protests by Emirates Team New Zealand and Italy’s Luna Rossa Challenge that regatta director Iain Murray exceeded his authority by changing the rules in the final days leading up to the racing.

The main rule changes the protesters opposed involved the rudder configuration and maximum weight of the 72-foot catamarans. Those changes remain safety recommendations. All entries still are held responsible for the safety and design of their boats.

“I am immediately reaching out to the Coast Guard and the teams,” Murray said. “Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa are complying with both the AC72 Class Rule and the safety rules. Artemis Racing, who is still preparing its AC72, has previously advised that they cannot immediately comply with both. Exactly how this decision impacts Artemis Racing is something we need to look at through our discussion with the teams.”

Artemis Racing issued a statement saying the team is disappointed that the jury’s decision leaves uncertainty.

The team is finishing structural testing that should be done by week’s end, Artemis said in a statement. “Final assembly of the boat will take place next week with the goal of getting on the water in 10 days’ time,” the team said.

Click here for the Artemis release.

Click here for a report in the New Zealand Herald.

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