Emirates Protest Dismissed


By a majority decision the Jury dismissed the protest that Emirates Team New Zealand filed against Alinghi following race four. The Jury was not satisfied that Alinghi broke America's Cup Class Rule 31.6, which reads: "Mainsails shall be able to be lowered to the deck without the necessity of a crew member going aloft." In its decision, the Jury noted it is at the discretion of the Measurement Committee to take any further steps it feels necessary to ensure yachts are in compliance with the America's Cup Class Rule. Emirates Team New Zealand filed the protest after watching television footage that showed one of the normal post-race measurement checks. The measurers asked both teams to lower their mainsails, without the assistance of a man aloft, to demonstrate compliance with ACC Rule 31.6. Emirates Team New Zealand lowered its mainsail without a man aloft, to the satisfaction of the measurers. The Alinghi team asked the measurer who had boarded SUI 100 if they could raise a man up the mast to fix a halyard (which wouldn't be put under tension) to the mainsail, for safety reasons, to prevent the sail from being damaged if it came down uncontrollably, and the measurer on board agreed to this request. Alinghi bowman Pete Van Niewenhuyzen was raised to the top of the mast, fixed the halyard and held his arms out, to show that he wasn't assisting or interfering with the process. The halyard lock was tripped, and the mainsail was lowered to the deck. At the time, the measurer was satisfied with the demonstration. But the television footage showed Van Niewenhuyzen's foot making contact with the mainsail as he swung around the mast with the boat rolling in the unsettled sea state. For Emirates Team New Zealand, that was enough to question whether he had interfered in the process. The team filed the protest later that afternoon, within the protest time limit. Following a five hour hearing this morning, the five-member Jury dismissed Emirates Team New Zealand's protest.www.americascup.com