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America Scuppered: Italians Refuse to Race

The Italian sailing team has announced that it will not race tomorrow. (City of Alameda)

The Italian sailing team has announced that it will not race tomorrow. (City of Alameda)

Luna Rossa, the America’s Cup challenger based in Alameda, has announced that it will not race tomorrow in the Louis Vuitton Cup, to protest rule changes the team says would make its boat illegal.

The City of Alameda and local sailing enthusiasts were giddy to have not one, but two (Luna Rossa and Artemis) America’s Cup teams, lease space at Alameda Point to prepare for a series of races through the summer.

Some of the wind has come out of those sails, however, as the result of an accident that left one Artemis team member dead, and subsequent decisions by organizers to change the rules to make the boats safer on San Francisco Bay, rules which prompted the Italian team to opt-out of tomorrow’s race.

In a statement released on its website today, the Luna Rossa team said that it “is waiting for the International Jury decision on its protest against the measures introduced by the Regatta Director on the 29th of June 2013.”

The team had announced on July 2nd that it would file the protest, claiming that “the Regatta Director has blatantly breached the rules governing the 34th America’s Cup and has exceeded his jurisdiction and authority.”

The rules can be changed only with the unanimous consent of the competitors, Luna Rossa says. The rule changes are “a clear attempt to make illegal our boat just days before the start of the event, with the excuse of safety,” the Italians continue.

Emirates Team New Zealand, the team Luna Rossa was to race tomorrow, has said in a blog post that it will be out on the race course tomorrow, whether Luna Rossa is there or not.

The Emirates team says that it too has protested the rules change.

The jury is to convene Monday to consider the protests.

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