The America's Cup jury looking into allegations of cheating against Oracle Team USA has banned one Oracle sailor entirely and another for four races in the upcoming America's Cup Finals. The jury also penalized the team, the current Cup holder, 2 points in the best-of-17 match against challenger Emirates Team New Zealand. That means Oracle will have to win 11 races to emerge victorious, while Emirates will still have to win just nine.
AP is calling the sanctions the "harshest penalties in the 162-year history of sailing's marquee regatta."
The five-member international jury investigated illegally placed weights on its catamarans during the America's Cup World Series. (For background on the cheating scandal, Reuters did a good writeup last week.) Oracle forfeited two championships due to the rules violations.
The New Zealand Herald writes about the suspended crew members:
The sailor banned is Dirk de Ridder, the wingsail trimmer and a leading member of Oracle's crew, recognised as one of the best trimmers in the world. The other sailor excluded for four races is former Team New Zealand sailor Matt Mitchell. Shore crew Andy Walker (also a Kiwi) and Australian Bryce Ruthenberg have also been excluded from the regatta.
Of de Ridder's involvement, AP writes this:
The jury had harsh words for de Ridder, saying it was "comfortably satisfied" that the Dutch sailor "gave the instruction to add the weight, knew the weight had been added, knew it was a breach of the aC45 class rule and "did not tell the truth in the hearing in this regard."
Read the Herald's full report for more on the sailors.