ETNZ has protested ACRM for making changes to the AC72 Class Rule. According to this rule, changes can only be made with unanimous approval of the competitors.
ACRM claims that the safety recommendations became part of the rules since those recommendations were submitted to the US Coast Guard as part of the Marine Event Permit application.
ETNZ endorses almost all of the safety recommendations. But… they claim that the recommendation on “rudder elevators” (underwater wings a the ends of the rudders) is not a safety issue but a performance issue. And, they believe this change to the rule will benefit their competition. They don’t name Oracle Team USA as the team that will benefit, but Luna Rossa does.
If you want the techie details….
The class rule did not allow rudder elevators to extend outside the width of the hulls. ETNZ and Luna Rossa built asymmetric elevators to respect that rule. The rule also forbade adjusting the the angle of the elevators while racing, and required a new measurement certificate if the angle was changed between races, on shore. The rule as modified by ACRM eliminates those restrictions.
Remember that Luna Rossa bought their boat design from ETNZ, as permitted by the rules. Both teams have been foiling stably with asymmetric rudder elevators that comply with the original rules. They believe OTUSA and Artemis will benefit those teams can use rudder elevators with less restrictive rules.
What happens next? How will it affect the race schedule?
The International Jury will hear the protest beginning next Monday, July 8. ETNZ has already said they will accept the jury’s decision, regardless of whether it goes their way or not.
Luna Rossa may choose not to race until the jury makes its decision – meaning that the first round robin race may not happen until July 13. The race calendar is posted here.