Team USA found guilty of cheating

SAILING: Three members of Oracle Team USA have been banned from taking on Team New Zealand in the America's Cup series, which starts on San Francisco Bay on Saturday.

One of those banned is Dirk de Ridder, a leading member of Oracle's crew and recognised as one of the best wingsail trimmers in the world.

The other two are shore crew members, Andy Walker, from New Zealand, and Australian Bryce Ruthenberg.

After pleading guilty to cheating by adding illegal weight to the boat in a lead-up series, the defending champion team was also hit with a two-point penalty, meaning the boat will have to win two races in the best-of-17 series before it starts to accumulate points.

Oracle, owned by software billionaire Larry Ellison, was also slapped with a $A274,000 fine - half to go to charity and half to the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation.

The foundation was set up in memory of the British Olympic gold medallist who died in May in a training accident on Swedish challenger Artemis.