This round of the AC has turned into a fiasco. But nothing is more surprising than the fact US federal authorities are now in the driver’s seat.
At one time the SF BOS and Governor of California thought this event fell into their jurisdiction.
Now, because of Iain Murray’s intemperate remarks, Coast Guard Headquarters in the Eastern US hold the key to the event.
There is near universal agreement the IJ will rule in favour of unanimous consent for changes to the class rule.
If Murray delivers on his threat, and tells Coast Guard the event is no longer safe (this despite the fact ETNZ and LR have sailed many miles on allegedly “unsafe” appendages), what will Coast Guard do?
I have had several interactions with the US Coast Guard and am not convinced they are the brightest lights on the Christmas tree.
However, for the sake of this argument, let us assume SF-based CG officials will have consulted higher-ups and will deliver a considered decision. Their response will have been crafted in Washington, D.C.
What will happen? I can imagine the following scenarios and am sure you can think of more:
1. Scenario One: “See you in court.” Although the IJ has ruled against him, Murray refuses to budge and the two offending clauses remain in the CG permit. ETNZ and LR note the transgression but, having come this far (and with sponsors waiting) decide to race now and fight later. This guarantees a post-regatta court challenge (comparable to 1988). In these circumstances it is hard to see how any court would rule in favour of Murray. If OR win on the water they would almostly certainly lose in court.
2. Scenario Two: “Grow up Iain”. Having noted the ability of LR and ETNZ to safely sail on the original appendages, Coast Guard consider this an unethical OR con-job, tell Murray to go home and promptly issue a new permit without the offending clauses. Murray resigns but racing goes as planned.
3. Scenario Three: “Ok, you are the experts.” When Iain Murray says deleting offending clauses means he cannot guarantee safety, Coast Guard says “you are the experts …. we are not equipped to research this …. If you say it is not safe we cannot issue a permit”. Racing is suspended.
In your view, what will happen after the IJ rules in favour of unanimous consent for changes to the class rule?