'Substantial penalties' for coordinated practice as Team New Zealand raise concerns

Stuff.co.nz. By Duncan Johnstone

America’s Cup teams have been warned they face “substantial penalties” for coordinated practice after a concerned Team New Zealand took the issue to the arbitration panel.

With all four teams now fine-tuning their second generation boats on the Waitemata Harbour, the prospect of syndicates working together to gauge speeds and set-ups has become very real, especially on the tight courses being used.

Defenders Emirates Team New Zealand wanted the arbitration panel to “provide guidelines” on what was considered “sailing or testing … in a coordinated manner” and felt the opinions of regatta director, Australian Iain Murray, could prove helpful.

The Kiwis claimed “there is currently a difference of opinion amongst the competitors on what is permitted”.

For his part, Murray came up with three rules he would implement, if he was allowed to:

1. Yachts must not sail within 100m of each other on the same approximate heading for more than 30 seconds.

2. Yachts will not sail a measurable course at approximately the same time.

3. Yachts may share practice marks subject to point 2 and where they do not round or pass the marks within 30 seconds or each other.

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