America's Cup safety rule negotiations end

June 24, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Negotiations ended over the weekend over America's Cup safety rules in the wake of a tragedy. Organizers say there was a lot of agreement, but it was not unanimous.

In every previous America's Cup, the event has really been in the hands of the man who holds the cup or to some extend the challenger of record. However, this time around the racing rules are being managed by an autonomous regatta director, who we spoke with Monday. You can credit Oracle's Larry Ellison for setting it up that way, particularly in light of what's happened.

America's Cup competitors have agreed to almost all of the 37 safety recommendations made after the May 9th fatal collapse of the Artemis catamaran.

"Out of those 37 things, I think we're just down to a couple of points on one of the recommendations," said Iain Murray, the Regatta chairman.

Murray says the sticking points have to do with the rudders and the location of the hydrofoils, that lift the hulls out of the water.

"You know the bottom line is bigger elevators is safer. I think everyone would acknowledge that and it's just how you get to that point," said Murray.

Team New Zealand's CEO has complained that 11th-hour rule changes put a strain on the teams. The boats may look very similar, but there are design differences that could matter quite a lot.

"And I guess it's very hard to cut across something that actually is perfect for everyone because all the boats are built," said Murray.

Murray says without consensus, he's going ahead with his recommendations and if the teams want to appeal they can. But he says that the recommendations are based solely on safety concerns. He works for all of the teams, not just the holder of the America's Cup. In the 162 years of this competition, that's a first.

"It's the very first time that's happened and to say? well I don't even know Larry Ellison," said Murray.

But he does know the U.S. Coast Guard and that's who must sign off on the permits which will be submitted on Monday or Tuesday.


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