Team New Zealand have ruled out any legal challenge to Oracle Team USA’s use of an automated stabilisation system that is suspected to have vastly improved their performance to successfully defend the America’s Cup this week.
Oracle, backed by technology billionaire Larry Ellison, produced a remarkable fightback from 8-1 down to beat the New Zealand challengers in a winner-take-all race on Thursday (NZT) and clinch the finals series 9-8.
New Zealand media have reported the American syndicate had used the automated system that helped them manoeuvre their foils on the super-fast catamarans to dramatically improve their speed upwind after they had slumped to the 8-1 deficit.
“Absolutely not, in any shape form or any other way. It would be an incredibly bad thing to do,” TNZ syndicate head Grant Dalton told New Zealand’s Radio Sport on Saturday about whether the team would consider a legal challenge.
Dalton said the team had asked competition organisers about the system’s legality before racing began but it had been approved by the measurers. He refused to comment on whether he thought the system was legal.
“It would be so wrong for me or any person within the team to entertain a discussion about that,” Dalton said.
New Zealand media have speculated about how the system worked, although Dalton said he was not clear on it either.
New Zealand’s Herald on Sunday sports editor Paul Lewis, who was in San Francisco for the duration of the regatta, wrote on Saturday “a lot of the talk buzzing around America’s Cup circles” had been that the stabilisation system automatically indicated the best position for the yacht’s foils.
This gave Oracle greater ability to stay on their foils for longer upwind, which was essentially the difference in the two boats’ speed in the final week of racing.