New rules introduced in wake of American Magic's Prada Cup capsize

Officials have decided the expand the prime America's Cup sailing course near Auckland's inner-city, as well as bring in new rules in the event of a capsize.

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Barker and company were locked in a close race with Luna Rossa when disaster struck. Source: 1 NEWS

Weather permitting, spectator-friendly Course C will likely use every race day for the rest of the regatta, meaning fans on dry land will be able to get good views of the action from a number of spots in the city. 

"It became obvious to me, being here and living the winds, dealing with this on a daily basis, there's a very good area on Course C," Director Iain Murray said.

The Course will be expanded, allowing Murray to tailor each day's racing to the wind.

The move met with the approval of Luna Rossa's Jimmy Spithill.

"From a sailor's point of view, we like being on that course cos it's like a stadium."

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Terry Hutchinson said he's always encouraged the Kiwi helmsman to be himself when at the wheel. Source: 1 NEWS

A new safety rule had also been introduced which means a boat can be instantly ruled out of a race as soon as it capsizes, allowing rescue boats to offer help immediately.

When American Magic capsized on Sunday, Murray couldn't rule them out of the race for around five minutes, delaying the ability to offer assistance.

“It has become very clear to everyone that when a boat capsizes, it’s 99 per cent out of the race. We are trying to bring the safety forward to make it as efficient as we can,” Murray said.

“After reviewing what happened last weekend when they took nearly five minutes for that assistance to be given, we felt there was a four-minute window of opportunity that that help could have been directed straight at the yacht.

“We want to get there, we want to get a head count and make sure everything is alright. Our target is to do that within a minute, and we want to render assistance straight away.

“It’s a small change to the rule but automatically it allows people to get on the job.”

The five racecourse zones for the Prada Cup and America's Cup. Source: Supplied

With American Magic unable to compete, just two races are scheduled for the weekend after today's action was called off.

Ineos Team UK needs just one win to earn a spot in the Challengers Prada Cup final.

This weekend's racing:

Saturday: Luna Rossa vs Ineos Team UK – 4pm start

Sunday: Ineos Team UK vs Luna Rossa – 4pm start (if required).