Sound the General Alarm! AN EXTREME CRISIS! Right on our own doorstep!

ORACLE TEAM USA has been penalized two points by an INTERNATIONAL jury! And to do this in the US of A right at the start of the races…UTTERLY OUTRAGEOUS!

Oracle Team USA hit with harsh penalties in America’s Cup
Team docked two points, key sailor and two shore crewmen expelled as international jury hands down verdict over illegal modifications four days before historic regatta to begin

September 03, 2013 by David Strege


Oracle Team USA. Photo by Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr.

In what has been described as the harshest penalties in the 162-year history of America’s Cup, Oracle Team USA has been docked two points before the 2013 regatta even begins, a key sailor and two shore crewmen have been expelled and the team was fined $250,000 after a four-week cheating investigation by an international jury.

The jury found that Larry Ellison’s Oracle team made illegal modifications to prototype boats used in America’s Cup World Series warm-up regattas last year and earlier this year. Specifically it added weights to the forward king posts and extended the post, thereby taking the boats out of the strict one-design rule, this according to Yachts and Yachting and the San Jose Mercury News.

The two-point penalty means that Oracle Team USA must win 11 races to retain the oldest trophy in international sports while Team New Zealand must only win nine races in the best-of-17 series. The historic regatta begins with Races 1 and 2 on Saturday in San Francisco Bay.

Oracle Team USA CEO Russell Coutts was not happy and felt the decision was “grossly unfair.”

“It sets a bizarre precedent as to the future,” Coutts told the Mercury News. “If a few individuals on a team commit a rules breach, the whole team gets penalized for it. Without the knowledge of management and skippers, the whole team gets penalized…

“We’ve got penalized two points in the match for something that a few of our sailors did on an AC45 more than a year ago without the knowledge or approval of management or the skippers. I think it’s an outrageous decision.”


Oracle Team USA Photo by Guilain Grenier via Oracle Team USA Facebook page.

Dirk de Ridder, who trims the wing sail on the high-performance, 72-foot catamaran, is barred from sailing in the regatta, and two shore crew members also have been expelled. Grinder Matt Mitchell has been barred from the first four races. Kyle Langford, a wing trimmer on the B crew, was given a warning, and another sailor, identified only as Sailor X, had his case dismissed.

Top members of the syndicate, including CEO Russell Coutts, skipper Jimmy Spithill and tactician John Kostecki, were not implicated in the scandal, which involved 45-foot catamarans that were prototypes for the 72-footers being sailed in the America’s Cup.

Coutts said de Ridder “has been a fantastic team member and a fantastic sailor for many, many years. I think all the decisions are incredibly harsh. I don’t think the evidence supported the jury’s decision.”

The jury, on the other hand, used strong language in handing out the penalties and was “fuming at the team for having brought the sport into disrepute,” Yachts and Yachting reported.

“The seriousness of the breaches cannot be understated,” the jury stated. “The Chairman of the Measurement Committee when asked how did he feel when he found what had occurred stated in the hearing ‘I felt old, used and stupid … our trust in the team had been betrayed, trust had been abused. If we can’t deal in an atmosphere of a certain amount of trust, we simply cannot do our job.’ This comment exemplifies the concerns expressed by a number of experienced America’s Cup sailors, OTUSA management, and indeed the Jury.”

The harsh penalties mean Oracle Team USA not only needs to win two more races than Team New Zealand to win the cup—an incredible disadvantage to start—but must quickly work on gelling as a team with replacement crew members.

“We have to make adjustments this week,” Coutts said, “and we have four days to get it done.

Yes, I agree that adjustments are needed forthwith! Certain persons need to disappear swiftly and silently! Nothing less than immediate liquidation for all the jurors!

Yes, and imagine if your significant other worked for that joe-boss (oracle)!!! They make the bayou famiglia look like a preschool playgroup!

frankly, America’s Cup is loosing totally its interest. it is becoming a high money, high technology race where winner’s rules prevail and where litigation is replacing fair play.

I’m a NASCAR fan. They got caught so time to pay the piper. Hell that doesn’t even look like a yacht, just like NASCAR cars doesn’t look like what you find on the show floor.

MONEY HAS RUINED IT ALL.

[QUOTE=valvanuz;119344]frankly, America’s Cup is loosing totally its interest. it is becoming a high money, high technology race where winner’s rules prevail and where litigation is replacing fair play.[/QUOTE]

Oracle story aside…

Personally I don’t understand this position. Isn’t winning the end goal of sport? In this day and age it takes money and technology (i.e. more money) to be the best. And try telling the San Francisco that it’s losing interest. Let’s also be honest… yachting is not a poor man’s hobby.

That said you need to play by the rules, whatever they are.

At least bring back the old boats…they would be a true spectacle to behold under full canvas

and you know took a lot more seaman’s skill to be able to sail than these effing high tech carbon fibre cats today!

Well put but I preferred the days of monohull boats instead of these extreme designs which most of us who sail don’t have an appreciation for anyway. Guess I’m just old school.

Frankly, if you think sailing and foiling one of those cats is easy. You really don’t have a fucking clue capt. Honestly I rank the challenge of sailing something like reliance and one of those cats as pretty even.

[QUOTE=salt’n steel;119387]Well put but I preferred the days of monohull boats instead of these extreme designs[/QUOTE]

I agree they are some weird ass boats these days.

Don’t think for a second that no expense was spared back in the goold ol’ days to get an advantage over the next guy. The illusion is in our eyes that stuff seems ancient, and of course is. But they always used the best and most advanced technology allowed, such as it is in competitive sailing–always has been, always will be.

Guess i’m an old stoggie. I’m sure them boats they use today are not yachts. I thought it was about YACHT sailing, not about just sailing, heckdo those things even have a head on them?

It has ALWAYS been a rich man’s sport. I am a bit disappointed with the “one design” rule. Remember when the boats were draped as they were pulled out of the water to hide the innovation?

Whatever they will be, here they are… http://ac.mueva.eu/media/files/m187_protocol-for-ac35.pdf

[QUOTE=c.captain;119338]ORACLE TEAM USA has been penalized two points by an INTERNATIONAL jury! And to do this in the US of A right at the start of the races…UTTERLY OUTRAGEOUS! [/QUOTE]

But if it had been an American jury the verdict would been right? You’d think you were more upset that Oracle Team USA provides you with a bad reputation as cheaters.

it was a concerted effort to cheat and then Dirk was caught lying, penalty was tough though
What was weird was the cheating was in another class so the penalty applied to the cup boats that had nothing to do with the cheating - wtf?