Jon, hitting your own pit crew in a car race is hardly the same as LOSING part of the "engine" on your sailboat. Every man on a Cup boat is a piece of the engine. Lose a man, and you lose someone who was supposed to be working a winch or some other vital part, and there's no one there to replace them, even if they've cross-trained. Plus of course you've lost ballast.
Hmmm, I'm not so sure the ballast
of an individual crewmember is very critical on these boats, I'm sure they'd happily trade it for the weight reduction:-)
Hey, five guys get together to have a private poker game. They all light up cigars. So? That's their choice, by mutual agreement. Same thing with the AC, it is a private club, really, no matter how "open" it is. Governed by the Deed of Gift, even if the courts have allowed screwing around with that.
So if all the "gentlemen" in the event agree that you can lose crew...really, who's going to file the protest if they've all agreed to play that way?
You're right, of course - their game, their rules...
I'm just old-fashioned about this, I suppose... Losing crew overboard, and being free to continue sailing as if nothing at all had gone amiss, without any penalty beyond the loss of those 'hands on deck', is so fundamentally in opposition to the sort of sailing the rest of us do, it seems to just further the notion that this AC Series is no more than some X-Games spectacle, where some participants are expected to bite the dust, or left dangling from some snow fencing...
I'm not well-versed on the racing rules elsewhere, but can anyone cite another form of racing where a crew can be left in a yacht's wake without suffering any penalty whatsoever?
Again, given how the technology makes it so easy for a boat to have to give back a few boat lengths for an infraction of the rules, it simply seems to me there should be SOME sort of penalty assessed for the loss of crew overboard...
Hopelessly quaint notion, I realize... :-)