17 Apr 2014

Sailing careers of New Zealanders in Team Oracle USA in jeopardy

1:13 pm on 17 April 2014

The sailing careers of two New Zealanders involved in Team Oracle USA's America's Cup win could be in jeopardy.

The Dutch sailor Dirk de Ridder, who was an Oracle crew member, has been suspended from sailing for five years by the sport's international governing body, according to United States media reports.

The suspension comes after two New Zealand lawyers criticised the international jury that punished members of Oracle crew during last year's competition, including de Ridder and New Zealanders Matt Mitchell and Andrew Walker.

The trio were suspended from the America's Cup for making illegal modifications to Oracle in a warm-up regatta.

A report issued last week on behalf of Yachting New Zealand criticised that suspension, saying their were procedural shortcomings and also raised concerns about evidence and the jury's reasoning.

It also said Mitchell and Walker shouldn't face further discipline by Yachting New Zealand.

Likewise, de Ridder had been cleared of further punishment by his national governing body before the international body's five-year suspension.

The cases of Mitchell and Walker are yet to be reviewed by the ISAF.