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Tefefonica Blue seeks redress

This is the redress: Telefonica Blue claims that the Race Committee and/or Organizing Authority made an improper action or omission by locating the start line and 2nd passing mark of the course (mark d) in an area where at least 1 uncharted shallow area existed.
photo credit: Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race
In a dramatic opening to leg five of the Volvo Ocean Race, minutes before the start gun fired, Telefónica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED) dropped her sails and returned to port, leaving a fleet reduced to three boats to contest the start in Qingdao.
Telefonica Blue hit one such uncharted shallows that was 0.23 nm from the start mark (and 2nd passing mark) of the course, prior to the start of Leg 5. Furthermore, the Race Committee and/or Organizing Authority failed to supply a port with adequate depth to allow Telefonica Blue back into the harbor. This resulted in a 3 hour delay in getting back to the marina to begin repairs resulting from the grounding. Delays due to the grounding and the delay in returning to port resulted in Telefonica Azul starting leg 5 approximately 19 hours after the start signal.
This delay had direct impact on Telefonica Azul’s position at the New Zealand scoring gate and at the finish.
Signed: Bouwe Bekking, 29 March 2009

This is the comments that the author of the blog: Look to Windward (Rasing Rules of Sailing) made:
Remember rule 62.1? A request for redress shall be based on a claim or possibility that:
  • a boats score in a race has been made significantly worse,
  • through NO fault of her own
  • by an improper action or omission of the race committee or organizing authority
The jury will need to find answer to each of these conditions before it can award redress; Was the 19 hours loss significantly to have influence in the scoring? Or were there perhaps other contributing factors? If the shallow water was uncharted, how can the sailors expect that the RC could know about that? Is it the responsibility of the RC to send out a sounding-chart mapping boat of the start area? Is this an omission, for which the PC can be blamed? Should the OA have provided harbour access with sufficient depth for returning boats ? Could that be seen as an omission? Is hitting something under water something the sailors could have avoided? Was it close to shore and could logically be deducted that something might be there - even only a reasonable assumption? If all these questions lead to a redress: what should that be? For instance if the Jury award redress for 19 hours. The delta between Green Dragon (28/03/09 18:15:40) and Telefonica Blue (29/03/09 03:55:00) is 9 hours 39 minutes and 20 seconds. That would make TB 4th instead of 5th!

I'll keep you updated or you can look for news on the VOR-site.

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