27 May 2017

New America's Cup rule reduces collision consequences

7:38 am on 27 May 2017

A rule change in the America's Cup has reduced the risk of a team being eliminated if major repairs are needed.

Emirates Team New Zealand in their race five match up against Oracle Team USA on day one of the 35th America's Cup challenger series. Bermuda. 27/5/2017

Team New Zealand battling the elements. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The risk of missing valuable race points was highlighted when Britain's Ben Ainslie's BAR hit Team New Zealand's boat during practice racing.

The rule allows the jury to award the race to the innocent damaged boat and give it another full day to carry out repairs.

Any races it misses would be re-scheduled.

A damaged boat found to be at fault in a collision will have to forgo the points from any future races that it misses.

The new rule becomes increasingly important following the postponement of the first day's race, with six races a day now scheduled for the opening weekend.

Under the old rules, a team which is the innocent party in a collision, could risk elimination from the event if it missed too many subsequent races, and failed to score enough points to miss the next cut.

Team New Zealand is not commenting, but earlier in the week it's operations manager Kevin Shoebridge said the resolution under discussion would be good enough to have covered the BAR collision.

"Take the incident we had last week, if we had to we couldn't have done a proper repair job, but we could have done one well enough to get out again within 24 hours," he said.

The rule is not a complete Get-out-of-jail-Free card.

It doesn't appear to allow an innocently damaged team to re-sail races beyond the start of the next stage of competition, and longer repairs could still mean races and points could be lost.

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