America’s Cup 2021: New Prada Cup rule slammed after severe delays

It didn’t take long for one the of America’s Cup challengers to take advantage of a new rule, with Ineos Team UK triggering a 15-minute delay before today’s sailing.

After their race against Luna Rossa had already been delayed by an hour due to shifting wind conditions and a change in the layout of the course, Ineos Team UK asked for a delay due to an issue on board.

The rule that teams could ask for a delay in racing before the action got underway was only introduced by the race management team this morning.

Each boat is entitled to play their delay card once, up to three minutes before the start, if there are any unforeseen problems on board.

That will mean the start is delayed by 15 minutes, giving the team a chance to re-set systems and fix any other issues.

On the new rule, former America’s Cup sailor Mark Orams said: “This, to me, goes against the traditions of yacht racing, and places power in the hands of the competitor instead of leaving it with the race management group.”

The new initiative has been brought in as a trial this weekend, with the aim of achieving the fairest possible race conditions before the start.

Spithill told media yesterday that Luna Rossa had been “flying blind” before the start of last Sunday’s race with American Magic, unable to access the timing data and course information provided by the race management system.

Race director Iain Murray was unable to confirm if the problems that Luna Rossa experienced last weekend were due to internal issues with their data on board, or a failure of the race management system, but hopes that the introduction of a delay card system will avoid repeats of such issues.

“Last Sunday the engineers of Luna Rossa and the engineers of data centre going back and forwards to figure out what the problem was,” said Murray. “Rather than me trying to adjudicate whose fault it is during the pre-start, we have negotiated for this weekend for them to have a card, to pull a card to delay the start.”

“[Last Sunday] we knew that RID was actually active on Jimmy’s boat, which means he can see the boundaries. Data can determine whether the information was reaching his boat or not. We proceeded with the race knowing that [Luna Rossa] had the data.”

Heading into the Cup racing?

• Give yourself plenty of time and think about catching a ferry, train or bus to watch the Cup.

• Make sure your AT HOP card is in your pocket. It’s the best way to ride.

• Don’t forget to scan QR codes with the NZ COVID Tracer app when on public transport and entering the America’s Cup Village.

• For more ways to enjoy race day, visit at.govt.nz/americascup.

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