Court reduces suspension for disgraced America's Cup sailor

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has reduced sailor Dirk de Ridder's suspension from sanctioned events from three years to 18 months.

The Dutch wing trimmer was suspended on the eve of the 34th America's Cup, won by his team Oracle. The ISAF jury found he was the “main cuplrit” when shore crew made alterations to two Oracle AC45s in contravention of the one-design rules. The changes were discovered by measurers when the boats were being prepared for the Youth America's Cup.

De Ridder's suspension opened the door for young Australian Kyle Langford to take over the wing trimming role on Oracle, a job he performed admirably.

De Ridder appealed to CAS, seeking to overturn the suspension on the grounds it was based on insufficient evidence, that the sanction was disproportionate and that ISAF lacked jurisdiction. The CAS panel found that ISAF had jurisdiction to issue its decisions, and also found, to its comfortable satisfaction, that de Ridder gave instructions, express or implied, to add weight to a boat.

The original decision by the jury, which also docked Oracle Team USA two points in the 34th Match, is considered to be the main reason the defenders have opted for an “arbitration panel” for the 35th Match, effectively cutting ISAF, the sport's governing body, out of any involvement with the biggest sailing event in the world.

– Roger McMillan, Editor.

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