If the sail cannot be depowered enough they have to redesign the sail. It would be a bad precedent to change the rules and the protocol at the middle of an AC. I am not sure that can be done even if all agree. The rules were made by the one that had the right to do them. The boats were designed to perform according to those rules and in what regards wind they are:
"The existing rules in the protocol, the guiding document for this year’s competition, call for racing to take place in winds of up to 25 knots for the early rounds of the challenger series, known as the Louis Vuitton Cup. Those limits are to be increased to 28 knots for the final of the Vuitton Cup and then to 33 knots for the America’s Cup match in September,"
So if the boats cannot sail safely over 20k.... they have to make alterations on the boat and sail to make that possible and not change protocol.
Alterations cannot be directed. I mean they have a maximum sail size but they can make them small if they want. Of course that will give an advantage in light winds for the ones that will have a bigger sail...but for what I understood the conditions between 20K and 30K are pretty frequent in S Francisco bay and it will be of no use winning some races to have the boat capsized on another.
Probably there will be a way to modify the sail to allow it to be depowered, some movable parts that can open or close letting pass the wind or catching it.
The rules have changed:
America's Cup News and Information - from CupInfo.com
Regatta Director Recommendations
Issued at 1600 May 22, 2013 (PDT) to AC34 Competitors,
Golden Gate Yacht Club, & America’s Cup Event Authority
1. AC72 Yacht
1.1. AC72 Yacht Structural Review: Competitors in consultation with ACRM to
collectively identify and complete a process of competent third party review or
testing process of the structural integrity of the platform and wing.
1.2. Daggerboard Rake Control Hydraulic System: Competitors in consultation
with ACRM shall identify and complete a process of competent third party
review and testing process of their daggerboard rake control hydraulic systems
to ensure an acceptable safety margin and level of reliability.
1.3. Rudder Elevators:
a) minimum total area 0.32 m2 per rudder;
b) minimum depth of elevators on rudder span of 2.1m;
c) maximum elevator span of 1.4m;
d) rudder elevators to be symmetrical in plan form and allowed to extend
beyond maximum beam of the Yacht; and
e) elevators permitted to be adjusted until warning signal.
1.4. Crew Restraints: Competitors to effectively restrain crew through bearing-off
manoeuvres, severe deceleration, or capsize, such as installation of cockpits,
foot-straps, handholds, tether and/or belay points.
1.5. Maximum AC72 Yacht Sailing Weight: The maximum sailing weight specified
in AC72 Class Rule 5.10 shall be increased by 100kg.
1.6. Soft Sails: Competitors limited to carrying two soft sails and eliminating the
minimum weight in 26(c) of the AC72 Class Rule.
1.7. Guest Racers: No guest racers aboard an AC72 yacht whilst racing.
1.8. ACRM Personnel: AC72 Class Rule 25.1(b) to be modified to remove reference to
“ACRM personnel” – this was originally intended to be a camera person and it
has since been agreed to remove such a person from the boat.
1.9. Soft Coverings and Soft Fairings: Soft coverings and soft fairings shall be
made of predominantly see-through/transparent material.
2. Personal Equipment
2.1. Buoyancy Aids: Worn buoyancy aids worn by crew to have a quick release
2.2. Body Armour: Armour incorporating protection for spine, puncture and impact
wounds is to be investigated by Competitors and managed by ACRM.
2.3. Electronic Head Count System: An electronic Head Count System to be
investigated by Competitors and managed by ACRM.
2.4. Crew Locator Devices: Underwater crew locator devices to be investigated by
Competitors and managed by ACRM.
2.5. Breathing Apparatus: Underwater breathing apparatus to be carried and
capable of hands free operation, the volume of air to be carried to be
investigated by Competitors and managed by ACRM.
2.6. Helmets: Helmet standards (high visibility colours and specifications) review by
Competitors managed by ACRM, with the assistance of recognised expert
2.7. Self-lowering Equipment: Equipment capable of self-lowering to be carried by
3. Additional Support Equipment
3.1. Support Boat Limits: Remove present limit of four support boats per
Competitor (art. 35).
3.2. Two Rescue Boats: Minimum of two rescue boats to support each AC72 yacht
3.3. Rescue Divers & Rescue Swimmers: Two divers with supporting rescue
swimmers ready to enter the water immediately, one diver and one rescue
swimmer on each rescue boat.
3.4. Paramedic: A minimum of one paramedic (or an appropriate medical
practitioner) on one of the rescue boats.
3.5. Defibrillator: An AED device (defibrillator) to be carried on the rescue boat
carrying the paramedic (or an appropriate medical practitioner) who shall be
trained in its use.
3.6. Recovery Nets: Rescue nets to be installed on all supporting and rescue
boats to recover crew.
3.7. Safety Channel for Competitors: A dedicated safety channel for inter-team
3.8. One Way Communications: One-way communications permitted from AC72
yacht to chase boat during all sailing and racing operations.
3.9. Regardless: ACRM’s vessel Regardless to be notified, and be placed on stand
by for recovery operations upon each sailing of an AC72 yacht.
4. Race Management
4.1. Round Robins: Number of Louis Vuitton Cup Round Robins reduced from
seven (7) to five (5) to allow for more maintenance periods.
4.2. Soft Marks: Soft marks to replace mark-boats.
4.3. Starting Procedures: Racing Rules to be reviewed by skippers and
Competitor rules advisers with ACRM to remove potentially dangerous
situations including agreeing an alternative starting procedure.
4.4. Wind Limits: Reduced to 20kts in July, 21kts in August, and 23kts in September
(as measured pursuant to art. 21.1), but with additional wind limit adjustments for
tide and sea state.
4.5. First Mark: First mark to boundary to be approximately 45 seconds.
4.6. Buffer Zones: Safe buffer zones around course boundaries and obstructions
to be determined by ACRM.
4.7. Start Time: Flexible start time and flexible pre/post race programme based on
wind and projected tidal flows.
4.8. Post Race Dock - In: Eliminate the planned dock-in after racing at Pier 27, but
skippers to be transferred to a dock-in show at Pier 27 approximately 45 minutes
after a race.
4.9. No-Race Fine: Remove fines for not competing (art 21.2 (d)).
4.10. Race Course Debris: Process to inspect and endeavour to clear course of
debris and obstructions with assistance from Army Corps of Engineers.
4.11. Capsize While Racing: Upon a yacht capsizing it shall be disqualified and the
race awarded to the other yacht, to allow efforts to be concentrated on capsized
4.12. Develop Standard Operating Procedures Between Competitors for
Rescue: ACRM shall develop common safety procedures between competitor’s
rescue boats, medical personnel, and divers.
5. Future Sailing: Each Competitor must take full and sole responsibility for their own
6. Existing ACRM AC72 Safety Recommendations (revised May 22, 2013)
Except to the extent that some of the recommendations may have been altered by the
above, the AC72 Safety Recommendations notified to competitors on November 21, 2012
as revised on May 22, 2013 (copy below) form part of these Regatta Director
Important additional notes to be read in conjunction with the recommendations
(i) These recommendations are made by the Regatta Director after the Review
Committee interviewed team personnel from all Competitors, and will be refined
as the further work identified above is completed.
(ii) The majority of the Regatta Director recommendations represent a consensus
of the Competitors.
(iii) These recommendations do not alter the responsibilities assumed and allocated
by the provisions of the Protocol or any other rules or document referred to in
(v) Each Competitor is responsible for the method of implementing the
(vi) No recommendations can cover all possible risks or address risks that are
specific to Competitor specific designs.
(vii) No recommendations can ever eliminate risk of injury or death in what is an
inherently risky activity, and the participants must assume full responsibility for
all risks involved.
(viii) Each Competitor and crew member remain responsible for their own safety at
all times. Each Competitor and crew member must continue to make their own
decision to race, or to continue racing.
AC72 Safety Recommendations
(Issued November 21, 2012 & Revised May 22, 2013)
Safety Recommendations that should be implemented immediately
1. Personal Equipment
• ACRM recommends that each crew member wear:
a) Personal flotation meeting the requirements of RRSAC 40(a) worn as the
outermost garment. Note that crewmember names would need to appear
on the flotation device
b) A helmet meeting the requirements of RRSAC 40(b)
c) At least one knife that is accessible by either hand
d) A personal air supply of at least 45 liters
e) A harness with a tether or belay device
• ACRM recommends that there be a separate maximum weight allowance for
personal safety equipment.
• ACRM recommends the following training:
a) Personal air supply training
b) Training which mimics escaping from under the net when the platform is
c) At least two crew members on board shall have completed First Aid
Training with specific course content focused on treating injuries more
likely to occur on board the AC72’s and how to deal with them while out on
3. AC72 Equipment
• ACRM recommends the following equipment on the platform:
a) Righting lines permanently attached to each corner of the platform with all
righting lines accessible when the platform is at any orientation
b) Knives in the four corners of the trampoline accessible when the platform is
upright or capsized
c) Four spare personal air supplies of at least 80 Liters each on the trampoline
4. Rescue Boats and Equipment
• A rescue boat with at least 3500 kg towing capability
• ACRM recommends that the team rescue boat carry the equipment listed in
Attachment A as a minimum.
Safety Recommendations that need to be considered
1. Establishing common emergency drop off zones with the local authorities.
2. Establishing common safe recovery areas for capsized yachts.
3. 1K liters of flotation in the top of the wing to keep it afloat until a team rib can access it.
• The preference seems to be inflatable air bags
• ACRM believes it is best to allow the teams to determine how they prefer to
• A separate minimum weight allowance would be added for this equipment.
Team Rescue Boat Minimum Equipment List
• Medical backpack
• Comprehensive First Aid Kit
• Spine Board x 1
• 2 x Yellow foam waist rings with tethers
• 1 x bag of various pump/air splints
• 1 x small Trauma Kit
• 2 x 130 tow rope, 25mm diameter nylon/polyprop, breaking strength of 5 ton.
• 1 x 100 meter anchor line, Anchor.12mm polyprop
• 100m of 16mm spare line
• 1 x complete dive kit
o BCD with integrated weights
o 1 x regulator, gauge, low pressure hose
• 1 x drysuit/wetsuit
• 1 x Pony bottle with back harness and single regulator
• 2 x 10 liter dive tanks