And another one bites the dust

Redress denied for News Corp and SEB after Tyco protest

Monday January 7th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Australasia
On Monday afternoon (local time in NZ), 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 before crossing Bass Strait, 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 SEB and News Corps' requests for redress. In a statement by Jury chaiman Bryan Willis, he described their rationale:

"Between Sydney and Hobart, the VOR boats were sailing in two separate races, each being scored separately. This concept is supported by leg 3 Sailing Instructions 300.17 which states that incidents other than those between VOR boats, are dealt with by the Sydney-Hobart Jury, and penalties applied by the Sydney-Hobart Jury apply only to the Sydney-Hobart 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 Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race 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 Sydney-Hobart 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 Sydney-Hobart race.

When Tyco failed to comply with Sydney-Hobart SI 43.2, she also broke VOR leg 3 SI 300.19 which required VOR boats to comply with the communication requirements of the Sydney-Hobart race.

It was open to any other VOR boat, or the VOR race committee, to protest Tyco for breaking Sydney-Hobart 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 Sydney-Hobart SI 43.3. It would have had the range of penalties available in VOR Standard Sailing Instructions 1.7 (including applying no penalty)."

Team News Corp have now filed a protest against Team Tyco for failure to comply with Sydney-Hobart Sailing Instruction 43.2. The hearing is scheduled for 10:00 Tuesday, 8 January local time in Auckland.

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