Dalts and Peter Lester put it best in the linked report below, but anyone who’s ever raced one-design knows that the latest America’s Cup drama is very real, and that Russell Coutts’ “withdrawal” and explanation was both forced by the jury and well, if it smells like crap, it probably is. Watch the TVNZ report here.
Anyone hear a bus coming? Any guesses who gets run over by it?
The details, if you haven’t seen them yet, are as follows: When setting up the AC45s for the RedBull Youth AC, measurers discovered lead hidden inside the kingpost – the dolphin-striker-like post that extends downward from the forward beam – of the BAR boat. Oracle did their own investigation and found that two of their boats were similarly modded. The Jury protested the boats, and Oracle and BAR withdrew from the regattas in question. Coutts says that management knew nothing about it, and while many one-design sailors will question the dodging of responsibility, there is a plausible explanation: Murray raised the minimum weight on the AC45s a couple of times in response to the gradual fattening of boats due to repairs. Teams were supposed to add weight in specific locations, and it seems that OTUSA’s boatbuilding team, possibly in conjunction with some of the sailing team, decided to put the weight in a position more advantageous to performance than inside the dotted lines they were given.
What really happened? We may never know; what we do know is that heads are going to roll thanks to an ISAF Rule 69 hearing…stay tuned.
From Dean Barker’s Blog: “Well yet another bizarre twist today when Oracle withdrew from four AC45 events over the lat 12 months because they had been caught cheating. I do not know the exact details but supposedly lead ballast was discovered in the king posts of both the Oracle boats and also the BAR boat which was also prepared by the Oracle Team. It is incredibly disappointing to say the least to find out your competitors have been straight out cheating. It is an insult to the other competitors, particularly in an event that they have been running. The AC45 is a strict one design class and this was one of the great appeals of this type of racing. To deliberately break the class rules is hard to understand.”