Thursday, July 4, 2013

America's Cup Mediation Stalls

In a sport of titans filled with rules, legal battles are inevitable. With the opening of the preliminary Vuitton Cup approaching, New Zealand is protesting rule changes following the death of British sailor Andrew Simpson whose catamaran capsized. Changes to the 72-foot cats are said to potentially lead to more injuries, as a rule now allows for elevators to extend beyond the beam of the boats. New Zealanders say they built their boat under a set a rules that now has been changed-- cutting their competitive advantage. The America's Cup organization claims boats will be legal whether they use the new rudder configuration or the old one. A recent mediation aimed at reaching agreement on implementing safety recommendations previously issued by the regatta's director ended after four days. Teams reportedly agreed on the vast majority of the safety recommendations which was thought to be a useful and positive exercise that left only a couple of points unresolved. All 37 recommendations developed in consultation with the teams following the fatal capsize will remain part of the permit application submitted to the US Coast Guard. Iain Murray said it was useful to hear the teams’ perspective on safety from a competitive viewpoint. “As Regatta Director, I have a clear task. For me, safety means safety for everyone. Full stop. I stand behind all of the original recommendations to increase safety...I look forward to working with the Coast Guard, teams and other stakeholders to ensure we run a safe and successful America’s Cup this summer.” Hopefully, the winds of accord will pick up before racing commences Sunday. See and and and