When measuring the AC45s in late July for the upcoming Red Bull Youth Championship that is to start on September 1, measurers discovered something wrong. Three of the 12 AC45s, which are the strict one-designs that were used in the America’s Cup World Series events in 2012 and 2013, had been illegally modified. Curiously, all three of the catamarans had been prepared by Oracle Team USA, which went on to win the World Series in San Francisco. Two of the three cats were raced by Oracle, and one was prepared for Ben Ainslie of Great Britain, who was competing in the Olympics at the time the boats were being prepared.
The modification was the addition of about five pounds of ballast, in the form of slurry or lead shot, to the kingpost, which is the forward dolphin striker. In reporting their findings, the Measurement Committee concluded, “the modifications appeared to be intentional efforts to circumvent the AC45 class rule and are therefore serious in nature.”
One would have thought the measurers first responsibility would have been to take evidence of the illegal modifications to their boss, Regatta Director Iain Murray. Inexplicably they first went to the Oracle team, then they went to Murray. A week later, Coutts issued an undisclosed statement to the International Jury. In another inexplicable move, Murray then requested a gag order on the part of everyone involved. Don’t you love transparency in sport?
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