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Jury to mediate America's Cup debate

Artemis Racing crew members remove their damaged Regata from the San Francisco Bay in California on May 10, 2013
Artemis Racing crew members remove their damaged Regata from the San Francisco Bay in California on May 10, 2013. The International Jury is to mediate a dispute over America's Cup rule changes adopted in the name of safety after the death of British sailo

The International Jury is to mediate a dispute over America's Cup rule changes adopted in the name of safety after the death of British sailor Andrew Simpson in training last month.

Regatta director Iain Murray this week turned to the International Jury to settle the case, with jury members Bryan Willis and Graham McKenzie to conduct the confidential mediation beginning next week.

America's Cup officials did not spell out exactly which of the 37 rule changes recommended by Murray in the wake of the fatal Artemis Racing capsize on May 9 would be subject to mediation.

America's Cup spokesman Tim Jeffery told AFP on Thursday that he could not comment, as the mediation process had already begun.

"We're waiting for guidance from the International Jury on this," he said.

However, the revised schedule for the Louis Vuitton Cup, which will produce the challenger to face defending champions Oracle of the United States in the America's Cup in September, has proved contentious.

Regata Director Iain Murray speaks during a news conference in San Francisco on May 14, 2013
Regata Director Iain Murray speaks during a news conference in San Francisco on May 14, 2013.

The new schedule, with fewer round-robin races to allow more days for boat maintenance, was announced last week, with the challenger series still slated to start on July 7.

Officials of Swedish syndicate Artemis, whose first AC72 catamaran was destroyed in the accident in which crew member Simpson died, have said they will not have their new AC72 ready to race until late July.

Under the current plan, that would allow them to come in at the semi-final stage and take on the runner-up from the round-robin.

However, Emirates Team New Zealand and Italian challenger Luna Rossa have suggested a schedule that would see the challenger series start later and hopefully include all three teams from the beginning.

Britain's Willis, in a memo outlining the plans for mediation that was posted on the America's Cup website, said he and McKenzie expected to arrive in San Francisco on Tuesday to speak to the parties involved.

If mediation fails, the matter could be referred to the entire International Jury, a body of independent experienced sailors appointed by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) to adjudicate rules disputes in competition.

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