De Ridder (far right) in happier times
Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA
De Ridder (far right) in happier times

No further penalty for de Ridder

Oracle Team USA cheat off the hook

Monday October 28th 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: Netherlands

‘De Zeilraad’ (Sailing Council), an independent body from the Dutch Watersport Federation, will not be additionally penalising the America’s Cup sailor Dirk de Ridder. De Ridder, who would have sailed in the 34th America’s Cup for Oracle Team USA, was suspended just before the final of the America’s Cup.

The Dutchman, while in the employment of the American defender, was found guilty by the International Jury of the 34th America's Cup of having given the instruction to add extra weight to one the team's smaller prototype, its AC45, which in 2012 was only used in the America' Cup World Series warm-up events for the America's Cup proper. This is considered a breach of Rule 69 – Racing Rules for Sailing; Allegations of Gross Misconduct

The Zeilraad (Sailing Council) is an independent body appointed by the General Assembly of the Dutch Watersport Federation. Among other things, the Council provides sailors with the opportunity to appeal when disputes arise during races. In addition, the Council examines any reports of penalties awarded to persons in the Netherlands, as well as Dutch sailors abroad, under Rule 69; allegations of gross misconduct.

In this situation, the Zeilraad was informed by the International Jury of the 34th America's Cup of the violation of Rule 69 in question by Dirk de Ridder. The Sailing Council is left free to further investigate and conduct hearings. The Sailing Council may, when deemed necessary, award additional penalties to a sailor in question, but cannot reverse or change the ruling. The ruling of the International Jury, according to the Racing Rules of Sailing (special America’s Cup Edition), is not open for discussion.

The Sailing Council has studied the report of the International Jury, along with any supplementary materials and has, amongst other things, considered the following:
- The Council is aware that it has limited knowledge of all the evidence used by the America’s Cup Jury in this ruling.
- The Sailing Council does not consider it appropriate to conduct further investigations or hearings.
- The Sailing Council has also considered that the entire exclusion of involvement of Dirk de Ridder at the 34th America's Cup, combined with the damage inflicted as a result of the global negative publicity, is already a heavy punishment in itself.

Taking all the above into consideration, the Zeilraad is of the opinion that it is not fitting to award Dirk de Ridder an additional penalty.

The ruling of the Sailing Council is send to the Review Board of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). The Review Board can award De Ridder additional penalties but can also not reverse or change the ruling of the International Jury of the 34th America's Cup.

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