Volvo Ocean race: Camper to seek redress on Telefonica decision

Volvo Ocean Race, Leg 4 Finish - Telefonica

The joint New Zealand/Spanish entry in the Volvo Ocean Race, Camper sailed by Emirates Team NZ has given notice that she wishes to have the International Jury reconsider their decision announced today of the extra sail use by overall race leader, Telefonica.

The jury decided the original rule was ambiguous and that Telefonica were reasonable in assuming they were in compliance.

The Int Jury met and decided the rule stated only a minimum number of storm jibs that could be carried. Telefonica had two, one of which is believed to be cut as as jib staysail, and is effectively an extra sail in their inventory.

http://noticeboard.volvooceanrace.com/wp-content/uploads/VoR-Protest-5-Telefonica.pdf!Click_here for the full decision.

A Measurement Interpretation issued after the fleet arrived in Auckland said that there was to be only one storm jib, however that was after the boats had finished the leg, and for this reason no further action was taken by the International Jury on the Measurer's Report

Telefonica beat Camper by just 93 seconds after 5300nm of sailing, and the use of the storm jib staysail is believed by other competitors to be worth 0.2kt which equates to about 1 hour for every 1,000nm sailed assuming and average speed of about 14kts and that the storm jib would be deployed for the whole 1,000 nm.

Before the hearing Puma Ocean racing skipper, Ken Read told Sailing World magazine:'If it is what we think it is, it was an extra storm jib.

'On the outside that doesn’t’ sound like a big deal, but the storm jib has actually turned into a pretty unique sail in the inventory. We, and everyone else, have two storm jibs with two very different profiles. There are four tack locations on the foredeck, and on the aft-most tack we fly a storm jib staysail that’s actually a square-headed sail. It’s a really funky staysail that we have up all the time when we bring it—we literally put it up at the beginning of the leg and take it down at the end. It really helps attach the breeze to the back of the mainsail.

'We think it’s a couple tenths-of-knot [of boatspeed] or more in some conditions. So a lot of the time you might end up triple-headed. You can use it as a changing sail, too. It really makes a difference. So this storm jib staysail is a pretty important sail. But you can only carry one storm jib onboard. Our other staysail is your traditional high-clew sail that’s just a survival sail. In this leg [Leg 5] and the one before [Leg 4], it was predicted to be bad weather so we took the storm jib not the storm jib staysail.

'I would have loved to take it. They supposedly took both, and that sucks.'

Camper has applied to the jury seeking redress as the team believes that Telefonica gained an unfair advantage from carrying the extra sail on board for Leg 4 in which Telefonica finished less than two minutes ahead of Camper.

The potential redress options available to the jury are open but would most likely include awarding of extra points and or placing Camper ahead of Telefonica on the leaderboard for Leg 4,

Camper skipper Chris Nicholson says that team were disappointed that the jury had dismissed the protest and that seeking redress was necessary to ensure a fair result.

'We were very disappointed and surprised that the jury took this action.

'In our view, Telefonica were given a flawed rule interpretation by the Organising Authority, that was not communicated to other teams as required by the rules and were therefore able to sail with an unfair advantage during the leg.

'This is no dark art. There is hard evidence that the type of extra sail that Telefonica carried would have given them a performance advantage. That performance advantage could very easily equate to the 1m 33s margin that Telefonica beat us by into Auckland.

'The system has broken down and we are left with no choice but to pursue redress. I think it’s clear and obvious what actions the jury needs to take to ensure a fair result in Leg 4.

'We have nothing to hide and will be putting our case robustly to the jury.'

The international jury heard Camper’s submission for redress and dismissed it.

The relevant section of the Notice of Race (NOR) for Sails for the Volvo Ocean Race state:

5 . 2 WHILE RACING
5.2.1
(a) A Boat shall have on board 1 storm trysail, 1 storm jib and1 heavy weather jib
(HWJ).
(b) In an In-Port Race. Boats shall also have on board an In Port race spinnaker as
described in NOR APPENDIX E.
(c) The storm trysail shall only be used in case of safety or emergency and sheeted
without a mainsail.

5.2.2 In addition to the sails required to be on board in NOR 5.2.1(a) a Boat may carry on
board sails to a maximum of:
(a) 1 Mainsail
(b) 2 Headsails (which may include additional HWJ’s and storm jibs)
(c) 3 Spinnakers including 1 fractional spinnaker, which complies with Volvo Open 70 Rule
v.3. Section 11.3.9. None of these 3 additional spinnakers can be an In Port race
spinnaker as described in NOR APPENDIX E
(d) 1 Staysail (SS). Only permitted on a leg


Emirates Team NZ interpreted this to mean that a boat could carry two jibs plus 1 each of a storm jib and a HWJ.

Common English would suggest that a boat could carry two jibs, plus one each of the storm and HWJ, and if they carry more than one each of the latter two items, then they counted in the allocation in 5.2.2.b ie a boat could carry a maximum of four headsails including storm and HWJ's.

The normal practice if a boat believes that a rule is ambiguous is to seek an interpretation from the Int Jury, or Chief Measurer before the use, rather than act according to one's own interpretation and than argue after the race that the rule was ambiguous.

No ruling was sought before the leg. The question was not traversed in the Jury Decision, as to whether Telefonica followed their same jib practice/interpretation for Leg 4, for the preceding three trans-oceanic legs, which she won.

A protest by Puma against Telefonica on the same leg was dismissed by the Int Jury as being lodged too late.

For Leg 5 and the rest of the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race, a measurement interpretation, issued in Auckland, ruled that the Telefonica view of jib numbers was incorrect, and the common English view expressed above, would apply.