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6 February 2006, 10:27 am
Ericsson Protest
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Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006
Melbourne, Australia

Ericsson, fourth placed in Saturday's Melbourne In Port Race in Australia today protested its recall at the start, demanding redress for the points it lost in responding to the call. An international jury will hear Ericsson's case on Thursday. There is much at stake.
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In Saturday's race, ABN AMRO TWO and Ericsson were each recalled to the start line after having been adjudged to be across the line when the gun fired on the iron barque James Craig at 1400 hours local time. AMRO TWO appears to have been clearly across the line, but Ericsson maintains it was not premature. It also appeared to respond much later to a recall than ABN AMRO TWO, losing at least two minutes on the rest of the fleet.

That it only lost the race to ABN AMRO ONE by 1 minute and 59 seconds, after clawing its way back through the fleet over the four laps of the windward/leeward course, will be relevant in its case to the jury. Ericsson could well argue it was the fastest boat in the fleet on Saturday.

For finishing fourth, Ericsson scored two points, leaving it in sixth position overall, 1.5 points behind Brasil 1.

The points system in the Volvo Ocean Race races is simple. Since there are seven boats competing, the boat to finish first in an offshore leg, e.g. Cape Town to Melbourne, wins seven points, second six etc.

In the In Port races, such as Melbourne's event on Saturday, first across the line scores 3.5 points, second three points etc. So each point or half point is critical in the final assessment.

Ericsson Want Evidence

Ericsson today signalled that it wants to see the evidence of the premature start and the timing of the recall.

In a press statement the team said, 'The Ericsson Racing Team has strong reasons to believe that there was confusion on the race committee boat, which resulted in Ericsson being erroneously recalled

'The return to the start clearly affected Ericsson's finishing position in this race; hence the team's decision to submit a claim for redress to the international jury.'

Rules consultant for the Ericsson Racing Team, John DOERR said, 'Unlike in many other sports, sailing has a process in place for claiming redress in case the race was not properly conducted. The International Sailing Federation's Racing Rules Of Sailing provide the means to rectify any such errors.'

Ericsson's request for redress quotes rule 62.1 (a),

'A request for redress or a protest committee's decision to consider redress shall be based on a claim or possibility that a boat's score in a race or series has, through no fault of her own, been made significantly worse by

(a) an improper action or omission of the race committee . . .'

In Port Race 3 Results

Pos Team Nation Skippers Elapsed Time
1 ABN AMRO ONE NED Mike SANDERSON (NZL) 02h 28m 12s
4 Pirates of the Caribbean USA Paul CAYARD (USA) + 01m 31s
3 movistar ESP Bouwe BEKKING (NED) + 01m 44s
6 Ericsson Racing Team SWE Neal MCDONALD (GBR) + 01m 59s
5 Brasil 1 BRA Torben GRAEL (BRA) + 05m 08s
2 ABN AMRO TWO NED Sebastien JOSSE (FRA) + 06m 53s
7 Brunel AUS Grant WHARINGTON (AUS) + 12m 48s

Overall Leaderboard
(Up to and including Leg 3 In Port race)

Pos Team Nation Skippers Pts
1 ABN AMRO ONE NED Mike SANDERSON (NZL) 32.5
2 ABN AMRO TWO NED Sebastien JOSSE (FRA) 25
3 movistar ESP Bouwe BEKKING (NED) 18
4 Pirates of the Caribbean USA Paul CAYARD (USA) 16.5
5 Brasil 1 BRA Torben GRAEL (BRA) 16
6 Ericsson Racing Team SWE Neal MCDONALD (GBR) 14.5
7 Brunel AUS Grant WHARINGTON (AUS) 11.5

For a complete list of all the news about the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006 CLICK HERE.

Event Media (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Ericsson stormed back after being called over early, but could not quite catch the leaders:© Oskar KIHLBORG
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