(I’ve also updated the original post with the below)
As expected, Oracle USA stormed home to win the last race and the cup, and well done to them, and to everyone in the regatta.
However. A big word that, However it seems that emerging although unverified news is that that Oracle may have been using an illegal weapon, a “special foil adjuster system” that allowed then to gain control over their foiling. Time will tell and I would not want to pass judgement, but perhaps the changes made were not under the rules.
It is well recognised that Oracle was having serious foiling stability difficulties at the outset of the regatta and that their performance could not match that of ETNZ. Half way through the series it was acknowledged that Oracle had fitted an automatic control to their hydrofoil trim, and that this modification was approved by the measurement authorities.
Since this modification Oracle’s performance has almost unbelievably improved.
The ‘legality’ of this device has been justified and accepted on the basis that it does not actually ‘drive’ the trim of the foils…..this is still performed by the muscle power of the crew, via hydraulic linkages. That may be so, but the device, using its sensing and directives, has been described as ‘automatic’. This implies that the trim of the foils is determined by what can only be described as ‘superhuman’ technology.
So we shall see what passes, but it appears that the America’s Cup may once again end up in a court.
New Zealand, as one of the top three least corrupt countries in the world, finds that breaking the rules is beyond the pale, and it would be far away from Team NZ’s culture to do so. However if Oracle USA are found out then this country will be horrified – and it may be seen as a major scandal with implications well beyond sport.
To draw out the business analogy, New Zealand companies in my observations, will tend to play by the rules when competing offshore, and many lose business as they are not aggressive enough to bend or break the rules. We do, I hazard, draw the line too early sometimes, and should be a lot less afraid of creating our own rules, within reason, where we can.
But cheating? That’s not us, and we should promote trust-based ways of doing business through-out the world by the best way possible, through the success of our own companies.