ung America tonight argued crew remarks which appeared to contradict evidence they gave to a protest hearing were effectively taken out of context.
Young America tonight argued crew remarks which appeared to contradict evidence they gave to a protest hearing were effectively taken out of context.
The New York Yacht Club’s syndicate had been hauled before the international jury to explain the remarks, heard on television. If the jury considers the remarks inconsistent with the evidence, in effect misleading the jury, Young America could be charged with gross misconduct under sailing rules.
That rule has harsh penalties, including the stripping of points, banning of key figures and expulsion of a team from a regatta.
The case was embarrassing for the New York Yacht Club, which held the cup for 132 years, and is the official challenger of record for this regatta, meaning they were nominated by Team New Zealand to represent the views of the challengers.
Already the club has had to content with one of its Bruce Farr designed boats almost sinking, after its first boat was badly bent on a wave during racing last week.
The row centres on Young America’s non-race with Young Australia earlier in the week. Young America reported damage and did not race when time for repairs was refused by race officials.
They later argued the officials made a procedural mistake and if time had been allowed, they might have been able to effect repairs and complete — or possibly win — the race. The jury accepted their argument and awarded them a point in compensation, which was in turn protested by several other syndicates.
But television cameras detected a crew member saying the damage meant it was too risky for Young America to race for four points, and they should head home.
Two hours of evidence was heard by the jury tonight, which is still considering its decision. However it is understood Young America presented three main arguments in their defence.
The syndicate argued the crew member speaking was working in the mast area, where skipper Ed Baird said the problem existed, and was not one of the decision makers on board.
The syndicate also said the comment was made after the request for time for repairs had been refused. That meant Young America had two options, to retire or race.
The syndicate said none of the comments by any of the decision-makers at the back of the boat, the helmsman or tactician, had been picked up by the cameras.
None of the three syndicates protesting the bonus point to Young America presented evidence tonight, though some suggested Young America should be begging not to face a gross misconduct charge.
The hearing tonight was also told it was now clear repairs would not have been completed in 45 minutes, meaning Young America could not have contested the race, contradicting their earlier evidence. The exact nature of the damage to the boat has never been revealed.
Baird and the syndicate tonight continued to insist the problem was near a fitting between the boom and mast. However Baird has also confirmed the boat has cracks in its deck area, though the extent of that problem is not known.