America's Cup regatta director answers criticism on new rules

July 3, 2013 12:21:49 AM PDT
The America's Cup regatta director is responding to criticism that his new safety rules are benefiting the home team. Accusations have been flying for week over proposed changes to the multi-million dollar catamarans that are sailing in this race.

Emirates Team New Zealand and Prada's Luna Rossa team are both protesting changes to rules that govern the configuration of the yachts. Specifically, they're talking about the winglets on the rudders of the catamarans. The teams say the rule changes decreed by the regatta director give a definite advantage to U.S.A. Team Oracle.

"It's just a load of rubbish," said Iain Murray, the regatta director.

On Wednesday, Murray hit back saying accusations that he is tilting the playing field should not be part of the off-the-water maneuvering.

"Yeah, I am hurt by the suggestion and I'm hurt by the tactics," said Murray.

Murray says his sole motivation is increasing the stability and safety of the race boats.

"My credibility sits with the crews who go and race these boats, who know what I'm doing, who all urged me privately to protect their position," said Murray.

And on Wednesday, even as he bashed the rule changes, New Zealand's team CEO Grant Dalton also said he believes the regatta director is an honest man.

"I've thought all along that he's totally trustworthy. I have no trust in other people involved, but I trust Iain Murray," said Dalton.

What happens with Murray's proposed changes will be in the hands of an international jury, which meets on Monday. If the jury rules against the changes, Murray says it'll be up to the Coast Guard to decide if it will permit the racing to continue.

"I think they will do everything they can to help the situation, but safety is a very serious matter and there are no shortcuts," said Murray.

In the meantime, both the CEO of the Oracle team and the CEO of the New Zealand team are saying these race boats are too expensive, too extreme and we'll never see them again in an America's Cup.

"If you want to see boats as powerful as these boats, in the conditions of San Francisco, racing up against the shoreline, I wouldn't miss this one," said Murray.

Match racing begins this Sunday.


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