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America's Cup: Regatta Director makes course area changes following capsize

by Richard Gladwell Sail-World NZ 22 Jan 11:05 NZDT 22 January 2021
INEOS Team UK - Hauraki Gulf - January 17, 2021 - Prada Cup - 36th America's Cup © Richard Gladwell / Sail-World.com

Regatta Director Iain Murray has made several changes to the conduct of the Prada and America's Cups, following a review with all involved parties including the competitors.

The first is a change to the course location which will now be an amalgam of Course's B,C and D - meaning that Course A, where the racing was staged on Sunday, will no longer come into play.

Course E - off Eastern Beach in an area otherwise known as "The Paddock" and used by the teams as a preferred training area will come into play in conditions where the wind, as Murray loosely described is "left of 240 [degrees] - that means probably between SSW and ESE - where it is not possible to fit a course into the new BCD zone.

The other change is around safety which allows the race to be called off once an AC75 has capsized, and the win to be awarded to the competitor still racing.

The change means that teams and officials will be able to devote their total attention to the capsized yacht - without the requirement, as happened on Sunday, for the remaining yacht to sail the course and be properly finished by the Race Committee. On Sunday, Luna Rossa had to sail the final leg to the course to get the race win. The change averts the crazy situation where if the capsize occurred just after the start, the remaining competitor had to sail say the six legs of the course and also be passing through the area (accompanied by Chase and Umpire boats) in which a rescue operation was underway.

In other changes, a decision will be made after Saturday's race - if it is won by INEOS Team UK as to whether there will be a non-points race on Sunday.

After Saturday's race the so-called "ghost races" will be sailed - with the respective teams starting a race, which is then Black flagged, or called off by officials.

The ghost races are a normal part of match racing, although this is an extreme instance. They are necessary because only a yacht which has participated in a race can be awarded the win points for that race. Non-starters, or no participants can't be awarded points for a race in which they did not compete. After the completion of the ghost races, Luna Rossa and INEOS Team UK will be allocated one win point each.

Then racing will be held on Sunday to determine, who wins the final point for the Round Robin phase, and goes straight through to the Challenger Final. If Luna Rossa wins the Round Robin race on Sunday, then both teams will be tied on 4 points each and the tie will be broken in favour of Luna Rossa, being the winner of the last race between the two teams.

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