OneWorld's skeletons

Team Dennis Connor say that they have new evidence as trouble brews again on Syndicate Row

Monday November 25th 2002, Author: Andy Nicholson, Location: Australasia
Despite the balmy conditions in New Zealand for the Quarter Final Repechage, sparks and accusations are flying once again down on Syndicate Row.

The main protagonist are Team Dennis Conner's New York Yacht Club, who following yesterday's submission to the Arbitration Panel, have followed it up with a protest of The Fair Rule of Sailing against OneWorld and want "...the Jury to take any interim measures necessary to reschedule the Quarter Final Repechage."

This what OneWorld's have to say:

OneWorld Response to the New York Yacht Club and Yacht Club Punta Ala’s submission to the America’s Cup Arbitration Panel

"It is disappointing to see the perpetuation of these kinds of tactics by a few individuals which do nothing other than put this great event at risk of being completely derailed after the racing has already started. The issues raised by the New York Yacht Club and Yacht Club Punta Ala are not new and have already been dealt with by the panel. Raising them will serve no purpose beyond galvanising the Seattle team to fight and win on the water where yacht racing belongs.

OneWorld took the high road and did the right thing by admitting 18 months ago to inadvertent indiscretions when they were discovered. We went through months of investigation and had a harsh but just penalty weighed against us. We paid our penalty and now we will rise above all of this while others choose to wallow in it.

We have the highest level of respect for the sailors on both of these teams and we are confident that like us, they prefer to settle issues on the race course. We look forward to the chance to meet them on the water and may the best team prevail.

There is a reason that books have been written about the history of unsportsmanlike conduct in the America’s Cup. The same characters and organisations continue to re-appear in the acts of skullduggery and underhandedness. This America’s Cup deserves better if it is to endure as the oldest and greatest sporting prize.

Meanwhile Team Dennis Conner have upped the ante with this announcement:

Team Dennis Conner has protested OneWorld Challenge, its opponent in the Louis Vuitton Cup Quarter Final Repechage round, saying the Seattle team contravened the Fair Sailing Rule of the Racing Rules of Sailing.

The submission, made today to the International Jury for the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America’s Cup, requests that the OneWorld Challenge be disqualified from both events.

Rule 2, the Fair Sailing Rule, states that a boat and her owner shall compete in compliance with recognised principles of sportsmanship and fair play.

Today’s action follows a request yesterday by the New York Yacht Club and Yacht Club Punta Ala to the America's Cup Arbitration Panel to investigate allegations that OneWorld Challenge possessed and used design information from other syndicates in breach of the Protocol governing competition.

The two challengers filed with the Arbitration Panel only after getting consent from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Team New Zealand to use extensive documentary evidence in their possession that had not previously been released.

Today’s protest said that the application was based on multiple violations of the Protocol that the applicants had reasonable grounds to believe the Seattle Yacht Club/OneWorld Challenge had committed. These beliefs were based on comprehensive documentary evidence.

Team Dennis Conner asked that the International Jury provide assistance to the Arbitration Panel in any manner possible. The syndicate asked that OneWorld be disqualified under Rule 2, the Fair Sailing Rule. The submission also asked the Jury take any interim measures necessary to reschedule the Quarter Final Repechage.

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