The America's Cup arbitration panel have ruled in favour of Team New Zealand in a dispute over practice racing this week to test the Race Management System ahead of the Prada Cup challenger series.
Luna Rossa sought a ruling from the panel to conduct a final rehearsal of the RMS and TV production ahead of the Prada Cup, without coordinated sailing - racing between the boats.
The Italians claimed Team New Zealand threatened without any justification to cancel the final rehearsal and replace it with official practice racing despite the lack of agreement between the challenger of record and Team New Zealand.
Luna Rossa claimed Team New Zealand threatened to prevent race management from using the fleet of protector boats for the final rehearsal.
Team New Zealand submitted to the panel that at the heart of the matter is the disagreement over whether the final rehearsal is an official practice permitting coordinated racing.
Under the protocol all teams must be included in official practice and the arbitration panel ruled in favour of Team New Zealand, saying the final rehearsal of the Race Management System and TV production is an official event.
Regatta director Iain Murray indicated after last month's America's Cup World Series regatta he wanted to stage additional races to allow officials to further test their equipment and race management ahead of the challenger series.
But while that was met by an enthusiastic response from Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling, who faced the prospect of spending the next two months without any competitive racing, it received a lukewarm response from all three challengers - Luna Rossa, American Magic and Ineos Team UK.
However, earlier this month American Magic CEO Terry Hutchinson told the Herald his team would be open to some more practice racing.
"It would be a mistake to close any door," Hutchinson said. "I think there is as much to gain for the competition out of an efficient race committee, so giving them more time to make the competition better, you would happily support that."
Hutchinson added there wouldn't be much motivation for the challengers to give the defender another opportunity to check in.
"But if the decision was made that it's all or nothing, either you get to run the races but everybody has to be included, then I think we would consider any reasonable offer to it."
All four teams will have practice races today and Tuesday before the challengers' boats are officially measured on Wednesday ahead of the Prada Cup opening round robin starting on Friday.
News the challengers will practice with the defender over the next two days will no doubt please the Kiwis, who will then spend the next eight weeks going it alone while the challengers compete for the right to challenge for the Auld Mug.
With the one-day Christmas Cup race scrapped on December 20 due to a lack of wind, Team New Zealand only had six races against the challengers and the addition of four more practice races will benefit them.
Sir Ben Ainslie's Ineos Team UK will also get the chance to see whether the reported improvements in their performance after undergoing a number of changes bear fruit. The British challenger failed to secure a win in the three-day regatta prior to Christmas and have spent days in the shed overhauling Britannia.
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