The America's Cup has become known as much for the off-water antics as it has for the on-water action. The event's history is one rich with diplomatic squabbling, jealously guarded secrets, deceit, mind games and out-and-out feuds between sailors. The 35th America's Cup has thus far been no different. To assess the level of unrest in Bermuda, the Herald have come up with a highly scientific measurement - behold the niggle-o-meter.

Oracle Team USA and Team Japan locked horns in practice today as part of the time-honoured America's Cup tradition of a challenger helping out the defender.

To help mitigate their immense disadvantage of being able to set all the rules, Oracle have leveraged their incestuous relationship with Team Japan, using Dean Barker and co as a sparring partner to get them battle-ready for next week's Cup match.

Under the Cup rules, the defender is granted access to the race course from 11am-1pm during racing in the challenger series. But they can invite anyone to join them if they so wish. Team Japan were obviously extended an invite, so too were Artemis - Team New Zealand's opponents in the challenger final.


Artemis did not line up against Oracle, but then the intention of the invite was not to arrange a play-date, it was to remind Team NZ they are not part of their gang of elastic protocol apologists.