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America’s Cup 2017: could Oracle Team USA be about to launch a protest on Team New Zealand?

Bermuda was buzzing on Friday with talk of a late protest being lodged by Oracle Team USA against Team New Zealand.

America’s Cup race management personnel were spotted making multiple visits to the Kiwi base, and NZME had reported four members of the measuring committee spent an hour at the Team NZ base on Thursday morning (local time).

Rumours have been circulating Oracle had issued a claim on non-compliance against Emirates Team New Zealand after the Kiwi team’s rollicking 4-0 start to the Cup match.

Under the rules that govern the America’s Cup match, each team has just one formal protest or “claim of non-compliance” up their sleeve. There were concerns coming into the event that placing a limitation on the number of protests left the rules open for exploitation once a team had burnt their one protest. But America’s Cup chief umpire Richard Slater said earlier this month teams have other ways of bringing potential compliance issues to the attention of the measurers.

There is a tradition in the America’s Cup where most teams will start this process not by protesting non-compliance, but by expressing their ‘disappointment, desire, concerns’ to the measurement committee, and in my experience the measurement committee will the go and check every boat for that concern,” said Slater.

That appears to be the process both teams are going through now. With fixed on-board cameras providing a close-up view of what is happening on each of the race boats, teams have a greater understanding of what equipment and software their rivals are using than ever before.

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