On Monday afternoon, the International Jury convened to hear two requests for redress for Leg Three of the Volvo Ocean Race. As both requests concerned the same incident, they were heard concurrently.
The requests came from Team SEB and Team News Corp, who claimed their standing in Leg Three was prejudiced by the Race Committee failing to take action against Team Tyco for not complying with the Sydney - Hobart Sailing Instructions, and scoring Kevin Shoebridge's team as DNF for Leg Three of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Tyco was scored DNF in the Sydney - Hobart race by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's Race Committee after failing to make a compulsory radio safety check-in call within the required time frame, as required by the Sydney Hobart Sailing Instructions.
At that time, Tyco asked for redress from the Sydney Hobart International Jury, disputing that they had failed to make the radio call correctly. That request was denied, and Tyco was scored DNF for that race.
In Auckland on Monday, the International Jury denied both requests for redress. The written decision of the International Jury follows.
Volvo Ocean Race Jury Hearing
Cases 4 and 5, Hearing 1430 7th January 2002, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.
NEWS CORP and SEB requested redress, claiming that the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) Race Committee (RC) made an error in omitting to score TYCO as 'DNF' in Leg 3 of the VOR.
The jury is satisfied that the Requests for Redress are valid.
TYCO did not comply with Sydney to Hobart (SH) SI 43.2, and was scored 'DNF' ('did not finish') by the SH RC, in accordance SH Sailing Instruction (SI) 43.3.
VOR RC scored TYCO as finishing third in VOR Leg 3.
Rationale For Decision
Between Sydney and Hobart, the VOR boats were sailing in two separate races, each being scored separately. This concept is supported by Leg 3 SI 300.17 which states that incidents other than those between VOR boats, are dealt with by the SH Jury, and penalties applied by the SH Jury apply only to the SH Race. Leg 3 SI 300.18 also supports this notion.
The VOR Leg 3 SIs are constructed by firstly including the SH Notice of Race (NoR) and SIs and then making amendments where appropriate.
VOR Leg 3 SIs 300.19.1 and 300.28 set out the communications requirements of VOR boats for the Sydney to Hobart period of VOR Leg 3. These SIs apply only to boats' communication obligations, not the consequences of not complying with SH SI 43.2.
VOR Leg 3 SI 300.18 states that 'Scoring from the SHYR will not affect the results of Leg 3 in any way'.
Notice to Competitors No.9 was an attempt by the VOR RC to clarify the SH SI obligations, as they apply to VOR boats, in relation to communications. However, paragraph 1, bullet 2, does not clarify the question as to whether the 'DNF' in rule 43.3 applies to VOR Leg 3 in addition to the SH race.
When TYCO failed to comply with SH SI 43.2, she also broke VOR Leg 3 SI 300.19 which required VOR boats to comply with the communication requirements of the SH race.
It was open to any other VOR boat, or the VOR race committee, to protest TYCO for breaking SH SI 43.2; however, there was no obligation to do so.
Had there been a valid protest against TYCO the VOR Jury would not have been bound by SH SI 43.3. It would have had the range of penalties available in VOR Standard Sailing Instructions 1.7 (including applying no penalty).
The VOR RC did not make an improper action or omission in not recording TYCO as 'DNF' in Leg 3.
The Requests for Redress are therefore denied.