Oracle Team USA Spithill made a dramatic comeback in the final race of the weekend to claim the fleet race championship, but if not for a last-minute penalty on Team Korea, Spithill may have been left in the cold.
The infraction came when Korea did not yield the right of way to Team Oracle as the two teams approached the finish line.
The International Sailing Federation’s Racing Rules of Sailing state that, “A yacht has right of way when another yacht is required to keep clear of her.”
Because Team Korea was the windward boat while both were on the same tack, Korea was required to allow Spithill to have the right of way, but did not.
The penalty forced Korea to slow down enough to let Spithill pass, allowing Spithill to finish second.