Cruise ride not in breach of rules

By Dana Johannsen

Team New Zealand will not be punished for this week's joyride with Tom Cruise, America's Cup organisers have confirmed.

Regatta director Iain Murray this week issued a notice reminding teams of the safety regulations and responsibilities when carrying guests on board following Team NZ's highly successful publicity stunt involving the A-list actor.

Pictures of Cruise sailing aboard the high-powered AC72 at speeds over 40 knots were picked up by media organisations around the world, generating an unprecedented level of buzz for the event, which has been mired in controversy.

Guest racers were banned on the AC72s as part of safety revisions made following the death of Artemis crewman Andrew Simpson when the team's boat capsized in May.

Cruise and his son Connor watched Team NZ's win over Luna Rossa on Monday from the Kiwis' hospitality boat before they were taken for a spin on the AC72, with both getting a turn on the helm. But even outside of the race times, there are strict rules that govern carrying guests on board the giant, but skittish, catamarans.

Hamish Ross, general counsel for America's Cup race management, said Team New Zealand were not in breach of the safety regulations when they carried Cruise on board, but it was timely to remind competitors of their responsibilities under the US Coastguard special local regulation (SLR).

"Whilst the USCG Special Local Regulation (SLR) is in operation [competitors] must adhere at all times to the Safety Recommendations whether for racing or for training whilst sailing their AC72 yacht within the SLR area,'' the notice read.

"To answer a query I have received: guest racers cannot be carried at any time aboard an AC72 yacht within the course area when the SLR is in effect, but may do so as soon as the SLR is lifted.''

Ross said America's Cup race management did not receive any formal complaints concerning Team NZ's publicity stunt.

- NZ Herald

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