At a meeting on Friday afternoon in Sydney, the Race Committee presented Notice to Competitors No. 7 regarding the two protests against djuice and Amer Sports Too. It reads in part:
After becoming aware that two boats may have infringed the Table Bay Traffic Separation Scheme, the race committee investigated and was satisfied that djuice and Amer Sports Too had broken the relevant collision regulations.
The Race Committee was informed by the Port Authority in Cape Town prior to the start that Rule 10 of the Collision Regulations applied to the Table Bay Traffic Separation Scheme.
In accordance with the policy outlined in the final paragraph of Notice to Competitors No. 6, the race committee decided to protest these two boats, and consequently informed them of their intention.
The Race Committee continued its investigation and was surprised to discover that the Table Bay Traffic Separation Scheme is not an International Maritime Organisation adopted scheme. The authority for this Separation Scheme comes from the South African 'Marine Traffic (Inshore Vessel Traffic Services) Regulations 2000' under the authority of the South African Marine Traffic Act 2 of 1981.
Further research brought to light new information from the South African Maritime Safety Authority that the Traffic Scheme does not apply to pleasure yachts involved in sport or recreation, as stated in "Marine Traffic (Inshore Vessel Traffic Services) Regulations 2000".
Therefore the Race Committee has decided that because a protest based on non-compliance with Rule 10 of the Collision Regulations would fail in this case it would be inappropriate to proceed with these protests.
At the meeting, several teams strongly voiced concerns about the Race Committee not proceeding with the protests, noting that because they had followed the rules they had, in effect, been put at a disadvantage. While understanding that point of view, the Race Committee was clear that it was pointless to proceed with a case it couldn't win.
The Race Committee will meet with a representative from all the teams next week to look ahead at a number of possible issues for the remaining legs of the Volvo Ocean Race, in particular the application of the Collision Regulations.