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Officials admit they got it wrong

America's Cup umpires admit that if they had the call to make over again, with more time for review, they would “green” Artemis Racing and not impose a penalty. In that case Artemis, ahead at the time of the port-starboard mark rounding incident, would have gone on to win race 14, the penultimate showdown of the first round robin, with Emirates Team New Zealand.

It happened at the last downwind mark when the on-water and shoreside booth umpires responded to an on-board protest pressed by New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling. When the penalty light flashed on Artemis Racing's boat, the signal was met with disbelief from the Swedish crew.

Artemis were approaching the finish line with a win in mind. That hope was dashed and they had to allow New Zealand to pass them at the finish.

Late yesterday afternoon, America's Cup Race Management, the independent organisation that oversees the sporting and competitive rules of the 35th America's Cup, announced its perspective on the penalty.

Richard Slater, the ACRM's chief umpire said: “When they were coming down to the final gate mark, with the information we had at the time, we had Artemis Racing on port, as the keep-clear boat, and Emirates Team New Zealand on starboard, and our job is to be certain that Artemis Racing were keeping clear, and we weren't at that time certain they were keeping clear.

“We have had a discussion, we have looked at other evidence, information and data, and I think if we were to go back in time and make that call, we would green that call and not penalise Artemis.”

Asked if that decision could be changed, Slater answered: “No. It is a field-of-play decision and the decision of the umpire stands.”

Earlier, Artemis had copped its first penalty for being over the starting line early. They had to slow down before rounding the reaching mark in the middle of the course and allow New Zealand to get a two-boat-length lead. The lead in the race changed nine times before the mark rounding where the second penalty was called.

New Zealand and Artemis match up first today in the 2pm start of the first race of the 15-race second round robin. The challenger with the best combined score in the two round robins will pick its opponent in the play-off semi-finals.

Artemis Racing versus Team NZ (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published May 30, 2017 at 9:00 am (Updated May 30, 2017 at 1:25 am)

Officials admit they got it wrong

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