After 18 months of haggling, America's Cup teams have finally come to an agreement on the issue of redress if serious damage is sustained through the fault of another team.

America's Cup race management last night posted the updated rules of racing on eve of the scheduled start of the regatta. The opening day of the America's Cup Qualifiers has been postponed until tomorrow due to high winds on the Great Sound.

The issue of redress has been bubbling away behind the scenes for a year and half, but came to the forefront following a collision between Emirates Team New Zealand and Ben Ainslie Racing during a practice race earlier this month.

Team NZ were forced off the water for two days after sustaining a punctured hull when they were rear-ended by the British team. The event highlighted the potential for a collision to have a catastrophic impact on a team's campaign once racing proper gets under way, with teams set up race up to three times a day.


The new redress rules will go some way in mitigating any time lost on the water if a team's boat is seriously damaged through fault of another team. But, it is limited to a postponement of any further scheduled races the day of the incident, and races scheduled for the next day.

Under the new regime what would have occurred with the Ainslie incident is Team NZ would have been awarded the race win and the Measurement Committee would have been called in to assess the damage.

Once they confirmed there was serious damage to the boat the Jury, consisting of members of the umpire team, would then consider redress.

The redress available would have been a postponement of any subsequent race that day and any scheduled races the following day, but the team would have needed to be ready to race again the day after.

Unlike usual match regattas there is no hearing involved - the Jury will act after getting confirmation of the serious damage from the Measurement Committee.

Redress will only be granted if there is clear fault on the part of the other team. In instances where the injured team may have contributed to the incident, or it is a 50-50 call, they will have to take the hit.

Likewise if a team has a breakdown or sustain damage through a capsize, there will no opportunity to postpone racing, meaning small mistakes will have the ability to cause serious headaches.

Team NZ boss Kevin Shoebridge told the Herald earlier this week reliability is a key challenge facing the teams.


"There's going to be no delays for start times or racing the next day if you've damage brought on by yourself as such or have a breakdown or malfunction - that's too bad, racing will go on. So the reliability is becoming a big, big issue," said Shoebridge.

"If you're racing two races a day, and you have a breakdown - you can see some big problems."