Larry Ellison's Oracle team has taken another tumble after being slapped with charges of espionage on a rival team.
While spying isn't unusual in the America's Cup, a international jury of sailing experts concluded that Ellison's sailing team went a little too far when they sailed a little too close to Italy's Luna Rossa 72-foot catamaran while it was practicing on New Zealand's Hauraki Gulf in November.
According to press reports, Oracle's cameraman came within 200 meters of Luna Rossa, breaking the race rules. Now Oracle has to pay a $15,000 fine, as well as hand over photos of the Italian team's boat. In addition, it will be suspended from five days of practice, which is something not even Ellison can afford.
"We are disappointed with the decision," Grant Simmer, general manager for Oracle Team USA, said in a statement Monday. "But we can deal with the penalty, and it will not distract us from working to win the cup."
Oracle swears it never set out to break the rules, saying its chase boat was sitting still in the water, not navigating, when Luna Rossa sailed within 200 meters of it.
Sure, and Bill Belichick didn't know the camera was rolling when the Patriots were videotaping the New York Jets' defensive coaches' signals from the sidelines.