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Larry Ellison's Sailing Team Was Slammed With Huge Penalties For Cheating

Team Oracle Americas Cup 30

Robert Johnson for Business Insider

Early last month, sailing’s Oracle Team USA confessed to breaking the rules by placing some five-pound weights in the wrong spots on its boat.

Now a jury for the America’s Cup has imposed severe penalties on the team, harsher than any in the race’s 162-year-old history, reports Reuters Ronnie Cohen.

The jury docked the team two “points” and kicked three people off the team. Oracle also has to pay $250,000 to two charitable foundations.

The America’s Cup finals are a series of 17 races. Those two points mean that Oracle will need to win 11 races while its competitor, Emirates Team New Zealand, will only need to win 9.

The boats involved in the scandal are not the same ones racing in the America’s Cup finals. These are smaller, 45-foot catamarans used in a previous, qualifying racing series and are now only used for training.

The weights were found when the boats were used for a youth competition this summer. Bags of lead and resin were discovered stuffed into the frames, Cohen reports.

The rules governing weights in the America’s Cup are fanatically detailed because the placement of weight can influence the performance of a boat.

The Oracle team said that the overall weight of each boat was correct, performance was not influenced, and that these weights were put there by a team employee “without the knowledge of management or the skippers.”

The team then voluntarily gave back the two championship titles won with the boats.

But the jury clearly wasn’t satisfied with that. “The incidents are serious and unprecedented in the America’s Cup,” the jury said in its report.

Despite this latest setback and embarrassment, observers are still expecting an exciting, competitive racing series that begins on Saturday.

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NZL team dominate the RBYAC on day three

The NZL Sailing Team with ETNZ, sponsored by Rodd Gunn, made a clean sweep with two race wins on day three of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup breaking away from the pack and opening an 11 point lead in the standings.

New Zealand now occupies the top two spots on the leader board with the second kiwi entry, FMJ Racing, sharing 2nd place locked on points with American Youth Force Sailing as the regatta progresses to the final day.

The textbook performance from Peter Burling and the NZL Sailing Team with ETNZ crew earned them the maximum 20 points on offer on day three of the regatta, while mixed results from the other nine teams helped to increase the differential on the points table.

Furthermore a decision from the Jury released yesterday afternoon saw the NZL Sailing Team awarded redress for race two (sailed on day one) after a malfunction with their on board penalty light forced the crew to slow their boat for longer than necessary following a boundary infringement. The team’s result for that race was adjusted giving them an extra two points.

Today Burling and his crew benefitted from two excellent starts; “We felt the angle was pretty good off the pin, and all the other boats were setting up really high both times so we thought we’d cruise down to where there was no traffic and get a good angle and that worked out really well for us both times,” explains the skipper Peter Burling.

He continues; “We had a chat last night about the boat handling and the little things that were going wrong, so it was really good to get that nice and polished for today.”

Despite stepping out a nice lead the team are aware they must remain focussed with another day of racing to come including the heavily weighted double points race eight.

“More of the same,” says Burling of tomorrow’s game plan. “We’re just trying to take each race as it comes. We’re really happy with just chipping away and being consistent.”

Tomorrow there are two races scheduled – race seven worth the same points as all the previous races, followed by the final race of the regatta worth double points. Whoever is at the top of the standings after that will take the title of Red Bull Youth America’s Cup Champions.

Red Bull Youth America’s Cup standings after day three

1 NZL Sailing with ETNZ – 50

2 Full Metal Jacket Racing – 39

3 American Youth Sailing Force – 39

4 Swedish Youth Challenge – 38

5 ROFF/Cascais Sailing Team – 35

6 Team Tilt – 33

7 Next World Energy – 32

8 Objective Australia – 30

9 All In Racing – 28

10 USA45 Racing – 11

The regatta, being sailed in the AC45 wing sailed catamarans, runs across four consecutive days starting Sunday September 1st. There will be two fleet races sailed each day starting at 1100 hours local time in San Francisco, each intended to be around 25 minutes long with a 30 minute break in between.

Using a high point scoring system, the first seven races have equal points weighting with 10 points for 1st, 9 points for 2nd and so on. The final eighth race is worth double points.

The NZL Sailing Team with ETNZ includes Peter Burling, Blair Tuke, Jono Spurdle, Guy Endean, Andy Maloney, Sam Meech and Jason Saunders.


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NZL Sailing Team with ETNZ dominate the RBYAC on day three

NZL Sailing Team with ETNZ dominate the RBYAC on day
three

The NZL
Sailing Team
with ETNZ, sponsored by
Rodd
Gunn
, made a clean sweep with two race
wins on day three of the
Red
Bull Youth America’s Cup
breaking
away from the pack and opening an 11 point lead in the
standings.

New Zealand now occupies the top two
spots on the leader board with the second kiwi entry, FMJ
Racing, sharing 2nd place locked on points with American
Youth Force Sailing as the regatta progresses to the final
day.

The textbook performance from Peter Burling and the
NZL Sailing Team with ETNZ crew earned them the maximum 20
points on offer on day three of the regatta, while mixed
results from the other nine teams helped to increase the
differential on the points table.

Furthermore a decision
from the Jury released yesterday afternoon saw the NZL
Sailing Team awarded redress for race two (sailed on day
one) after a malfunction with their on board penalty light
forced the crew to slow their boat for longer than necessary
following a boundary infringement. The team’s result for
that race was adjusted giving them an extra two
points.

Today Burling and his crew benefitted from two
excellent starts; “We felt the angle was pretty good off
the pin, and all the other boats were setting up really high
both times so we thought we’d cruise down to where there
was no traffic and get a good angle and that worked out
really well for us both times,” explains the skipper Peter
Burling. 

He continues; “We had a chat last night about
the boat handling and the little things that were going
wrong, so it was really good to get that nice and polished
for today.”

Despite stepping out a nice lead the team
are aware they must remain focussed with another day of
racing to come including the heavily weighted double points
race eight.

“More of the same,” says Burling of
tomorrow’s game plan. “We’re just trying to take each
race as it comes. We’re really happy with just chipping
away and being consistent.”

Tomorrow there are two races
scheduled – race seven worth the same points as all the
previous races, followed by the final race of the regatta
worth double points. Whoever is at the top of the standings
after that will take the title of Red Bull Youth America’s
Cup Champions.

Red Bull Youth America’s Cup
standings after day three

1 NZL Sailing with ETNZ
– 5

2 Full Metal Jacket Racing – 3

3 American Youth
Sailing Force – 3

4 Swedish Youth Challenge – 3

5
ROFF/Cascais Sailing Team – 3

6 Team Tilt – 3

7 Next
World Energy – 3

8 Objective Australia – 3

9 All In
Racing – 2

10 USA45 Racing – 11

The regatta, being
sailed in the AC45 wing sailed catamarans, runs across four
consecutive days starting Sunday September 1st.  There will
be two fleet races sailed each day starting at 1100 hours
local time in San Francisco, each intended to be around 25
minutes long with a 30 minute break in between.

Using a
high point scoring system, the first seven races have equal
points weighting with 10 points for 1st, 9 points for 2nd
and so on. The final eighth race is worth double
points.

The NZL Sailing Team with ETNZ includes Peter
Burling
, Blair
Tuke
, Jono
Spurdle
, Guy
Endean
, Andy
Maloney
, Sam
Meech
and Jason
Saunders.

Follow the NZL Sailing Team with ETNZ
via

facebook.com/NZLSailingTeam
and yachtingnz.org.nz

Watch
the racing live from 0600hours New Zealand time on www.tvnz.co.nz/americascup

ENDS

© Scoop Media


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MDCE dealer registrations up 31 percent

MINNEAPOLIS – Dealer registrations for the 2013 Marine Dealer Conference Expo are up 31.7 percent over the same time last year, which represents a new record for the event.

More than 270 dealers have registered so far for the MDCE — up from 205 last year on this date — with nearly three weeks to go until the early-bird registration rate expires, and more than two-and-a-half months until the event begins. The early-bird rate saves registrants $50 off of the regular registration rate, and the event typically sees an increase in registrations in the two weeks leading up to the deadline.

See who is registered here: www.mraa.com/events/RSVPlist.aspx?id=208006

“We’re thrilled to see such an incredible response to this year’s MDCE,” says Liz Walz, Director of Membership Education. “We’ve invested more than ever before in the educational program, as well as the resources and tools we’re providing attendees, and it’s rewarding to see that dealers are responding positively to the educational experience we have created for them.”

The MDCE offers nearly 30 educational sessions, broken down into three tracks, a series of pre-conference workshops and several special presentations, to help dealers gather ideas and best practices for growing and improving their businesses. The workshops are a new introduction for the 2013 MDCE, and the total number of educational sessions is up from just 20 in 2012.

Learn more at the MDCE Video Channel: www.mraa.com/?page=MDCE_Video_Channel

“We’ve been saying all year that if you’ve ever thought about coming to the MDCE to see what it’s all about, this is definitely the year to do it,” says Jonathan Sweet, Editor-in-Chief of Boating Industry. “From the opening keynote all the way through the event, there is no doubt that this is the best MDCE educational agenda every assembled.”

Last year, the MDCE attracted more than 1,000 industry professionals, and this year, more than 400 have already registered. The excitement over this year’s event has been created by the additional sessions, in addition to the signing of world-renowned sales and leadership expert Jeffrey Gitomer as the keynote speaker. The addition of authors and speakers like John Spence and David Avrin, as well as a number of industry-specific experts, has bolstered the educational line-up like never before.

For those dealers that want to dig even deeper into the factors that will most impact their businesses in the year ahead, the newly added MDCE Pre-Conference Workshops, to be held Monday, Nov. 18th, will enable them to construct a plan in areas like dealership management, boat show sales, service menus, search engine marketing, and the customer experience. Over the following days, individual sessions in the MDCE’s three educational tracks will help attendees enhance their plans for 2014.

The MDCE is scheduled for Nov. 17-20, 2013, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. It has attracted an increasing number of dealers every year since 2007, and in addition to the record number of pre-September dealer registrations, this year’s event also attracted more than 250 registrants prior to May 1, another record for the event. The most registrants MDCE had ever accumulated prior to May 1 was 92 in 2012.


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Oracle hit with unprecedented penalties for America's Cup cheating

By Ronnie Cohen

San Francisco (Reuters) – Software mogul Larry Ellison‘s Oracle Team USA suffered a major setback in its effort to retain the America’s Cup sailing trophy when an international jury on Tuesday docked the team two points and kicked three team members out of the event for adding illegal weight to Oracle boats.

The penalties, unprecedented in the history of the 162-year-old event, are a big boost for challenger Emirates Team New Zealand, which will face off against Oracle in the Cup finals beginning on Saturday. New Zealand demolished other would-be challengers in the qualifying races, and bookmakers have made it a slight favorite to take the trophy from Oracle.

The Cup finals are a best-of-17 series, and Oracle will now enter the event two points behind: it will need to win 11 races to win the series, while New Zealand will only need to win 9. Oracle will also be sailing without a key crew member, Dirk de Ridder, a 40-year-old Dutchman who was banished from the event for his role in the weight scandal.

Another Oracle sailor was suspended for the first 4 races, and two shore crew members were barred from any further participation.

The scandal first came to light in July, when 45-foot Oracle catamarans that had been used for a preliminary series known as the America’s Cup World Series of Racing – and were raced again last week in a youth competition – were found to have illegal bags of lead and resin wedged into their frames.

Oracle said the team had gained no advantage from the extra weight and that the skippers and team’s managers were unaware of the alterations, but it nonetheless agreed to forfeit its World Series victories. The 45-foot catamarans, unlike the 72-foot boats being used in the main event, were a “one-design” class, meaning all teams were supposed to have exactly the same boat.

An international jury of five sailing experts was charged with investigating the situation. In a report released Tuesday, it said it had found five instances of prohibited modifications in three Oracle boats.

“The incidents are serious and unprecedented in the America’s Cup,” the jury report said. “The seriousness of the breaches cannot be understated.”

Oracle was also ordered to pay $250,000 in penalties to two charitable foundations.

“The rules infractions involved only a few of our 130 team members, and were done without the knowledge of either our team’s management or the skippers who were driving the boats,” said Oracle team CEO Russell Coutts in a statement.

“While we disagree with the unprecedented penalties imposed by the jury, we have no choice but to make the necessary changes to personnel on our race boat and do our best to use the next four days for the new team to practice and get ready for the start of the 34th America’s Cup.”

For Ellison, who won the Cup in a controversial 2010 match off the coast of Spain, the sanctions are the latest embarrassment in a Cup regatta where little has gone as planned.

With many potential participants scared off by the cost and complexity of the AC72 boats, only three teams challenged for the Cup, undermining the economics of the event. A training accident in May killed a British sailor and forced contentious safety-related changes in the rules.

Attendance is also far below projections, with most in San Francisco paying little attention to the event.

Still, many observers expect the finals series to be competitive, which could yet vindicate Ellison’s decision to use high-tech catamarans that can reach speeds of more than 50 miles per hour.

Ellison has not commented publicly on the cheating scandal.

(Editing by Jonathan Weber and Ken Wills)


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