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Challenger Jury Dismisses Protest: Kiwi Bowsprit Legal
Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday April 28, 1992
SAN DIEGO, Tuesday: The international jury for the Louis Vuitton Cup-the challenger elimination series for the America's Cup-has dismissed the latest protest by Italian yacht Il Moro di Venezia over its New Zealand rival's use of a bowsprit.
The issue, however, still clouds not only the challenger final series, which New Zealand leads by three wins to two, but the Cup match itself with the defenders' aligning with the opinions of the Italian team.
Tom Ehman, general manager of the America's Cup Organising Committee, which is conducting the defence for the San Diego Yacht Club, says ACOC believes New Zealand is racing in contravention of the decision on bowsprit use made by the international jury appointed to supervise the rules during the America's Cup match.
The Louis Vuitton Cup jury yesterday pointedly added a note to its finding, saying it was of the opinion that its decision fully conformed with the America's Cup international jury's decision.
The protest by Paul Cayard, the skipper of Il Moro, alleged that in race six New Zealand (skippered by Rod Davis) flew her asymmetrical spinnaker(gennaker) with its tack (leading corner) sheeted illegally through a bowsprit as an outrigger.
Cayard claims the Louis Vuitton Cup jury's rulings on New Zealand's use of the bowsprit are drastically different from that of the separate international jury for the America's Cup match. He says they used the bowsprit illegally throughout the eliminations.
The Louis Vuitton Cup jury, after a marathon sitting of more than 11 hours, ruled that New Zealand had been using the line attached to the bowsprit as a foreguy controlling the spinnaker pole and and not as a sheet.
It added there was no rule requiring a foreguy to be directly attached to a spinnaker pole.
As no sail was sheeted over or through an outrigger (the bowsprit), International Yacht Racing Union rule 64.4 was not infringed.
The evidence showed the line from New Zealand's bowsprit is attached to a ring shackled to the gennaker. Also attached to the ring are the braces(afterguys) with the windward brace led through the jaws of the spinnaker pole.
New Zealand campaign manager Peter Blake commented: "Bowsprits are allowed on these boats and the way we have used ours has always been very strictly legitimate in this regatta.
"This decision completely vindicates the way we have sailed and highlights how inappropriate and ill-founded were Il Moro's attacks on the integrity of the regatta juries and the sportsmanship of the New Zealand team."
Blake said it was totally wrong for Il Moro to accuse New Zealand of constantly sailing outside the rules.
"For one brief moment in race five our gybing technique infringed the interpretation of the bowsprit use and for that eight-second infringement we had our win taken away from us," he said. "We felt that penalty to be harsh because our momentary infraction had no effect on the outcome of the race."
There was no immediate response from the Italians to the jury's decision. The Italian syndicate head Raul Gardini considers Il Moro already the winner of the series. "I have said from the beginning that I think New Zealand has been racing unfairly and that we have to put all our efforts into making sure this unfairness is out of the America's Cup," Gardini said earlier.