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ORACLE TEAM USA penalised and fined ahead of the 34th America's Cup

by 34th America's Cup media 4 Sep 2013 07:21 BST 3 September 2013
ORACLE TEAM USA have had two races deducted going into the 34th America's Cup © Guilain Grenier / ORACLE TEAM USA

International Jury decisions issued on ORACLE TEAM USA AC45 yachts

An inquiry by the Measurement Committee and International Jury on modifications that ORACLE TEAM USA made to their AC45 yachts in 2012 ended today with a report issued by the International Jury.

Three team members have been excluded from participating in the regatta. The team has also been deducted two points from its score in the upcoming America's Cup Finals beginning September 7. They have also been fined US$250,000.

In August the team voluntarily withdrew retroactively from the 2012/2013 AC45 regattas in question.

The International Jury confirmed that only a handful of individuals were involved, and that all members of senior management of ORACLE TEAM USA — including skippers Jimmy Spithill and Ben Ainslie, CEO Russell Coutts, General Manager Grant Simmer and Shore Team Director Mark Turner - were not aware or involved in any way.

To win the America's Cup, a team must score nine points, the highest ever number in the competition's 162 year-old history. The defender now starts with a deficit score of minus-2 and must win 11 races to retain the trophy. Emirates Team New Zealand, the challenger, is unaffected and must win 9 races as before.

The highly anticipated 34th America's Cup "September Showdown" between Dean Barker, skipper of challenger Emirates Team New Zealand, and Jimmy Spithill, skipper of ORACLE TEAM USA, begins Saturday, September 7th with two races at 1:10pm and 2:10pm Pacific Time.

The race series continues on Sunday the 8th, Tuesday the 10th, Thursday the 12th, Saturday the 14th, and, if necessary the subsequent Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday — each with two races per day at 1:10pm and 2:10pm.

The full International Jury decision can be found under Jury Notices on the America's Cup Official Race Noticeboard.

www.americascup.com

Response from ORACLE TEAM USA

Yesterday, the America's Cup Jury announced that one Team USA sailor, our primary wing trimmer, and two shore crew have been excluded from further participation in the 34th America's Cup. This penalty was assessed because of a rules breach occurring in early 2012, well over a year ago, involving modifications to the team's AC45 yachts, not the larger AC72 yachts that will be used in the America's Cup.

The Jury has also penalized the team by deducting two races from Team USA in upcoming the 34th America's Cup. That means Team USA will have to win 11 races to win the America's Cup while Team New Zealand will only have to win nine races.

"The rules infractions involved only a few of our 130 team members, and were done without the knowledge of either our team's management or the skippers who were driving the boats," said team CEO Russell Coutts. "While we disagree with the unprecedented penalties imposed by the Jury, we have no choice but to make the necessary changes to personnel on our race boat and do our best to use the next four days for the new team to practice and get ready for the start of the 34th America's Cup."