So how do you penalise the defender of the Americas cup when there is only one of them? This is the question that the Americas cup jury has asked of “interested parties” as it would seem they are unsure of what is appropriate.
The jury found against Oracle Team USA during the week, when Luna Rossa file a protest complete with photographic and mathematic evidence that OTUSA was spying within the 200m exclusion zone. A flurry of emails sent by three teams prior to the hearing, including a request by OTUSA to have the jury exclude evidence from Emirates Team New Zealand that showed that OTUSA had employed similar tactics against their AC72 around the same time as Matt Mason was caught by the LR team.
We have heard first hand from some of the sailors that OTUSA also tried to get up close to the LR boat while they were navigating their AC72 in through the Rangitoto Channel, a place where it would be impossible for LR to steer around them as OTUSA claimed they could have done.
If there were multiple syndicates and a defender series, then OTUSA could be penalised point towards that series, just as a challenge found to have breached a rule might be. However this not possible as OTUSA have chosen to run as the sole defender, which has been common practice since the 2000 defence held in Auckland.
So what other measures could be used to penalise the defender?
A monetary fine paid to LR? This would seem unlikely as it is not really a penalty to a syndicate that seemingly has an endless supply of the stuff.
Full disqualification? Again not likely, but would be interesting to create some history with the winner of the Louis Vuitton series being awarded the Americas Cup by default.
So what options does that leave? It will be very interesting to hear what the syndicates put forward.