The illbruck Challenge, winner of the Volvo Ocean Races opening leg, survived two protest hearings today—one was withdrawn and the other resulted in a £1,000 fine. The first protest, filled by Roy Heiner and Mark Rudigers Assa Abloy, implying that illbruck had accessed an illegal website, was withdrawn by Assa when illbruck proved that the site was publicly accessible, as required by the race rules.
The second protest, one filed by the race committee, stated that illbruck had violated Volvo 60 class rules when it modified the boats propeller strut by fairing it and adding a kelp cutting device. The International Jury upheld the protest, levied the fine, and did not dock them any points.
According to a news release issued by the race organizers, the race committee did not believe a place penalty was appropriate. "Race Director Michael Woods pointed out that V.O60 rule interpretation number 53 states that a separate weed cutter would not be contrary to the rules, although an integral weed cutter is clearly a modification," said the release. "Additionally, the device as installed on illbruck was likely, if anything, to create more drag. Whilst illbruck was in contravention of the rule, an oversight by a measurer did occur. illbruck also noted that the device would increase drag and called the issue an administrative oversight and maintained that it should not result in a points penalty."
illbruck Challenge CEO Glenn Bourke said, "We have been penalized £1000 for infringing V.O.60 class rule 5.4.2 and we believe the case is over and we are happy with that. The jury have
instructed us to take the stern drive back to its original configuration which is quite easy for us and we will be doing that pretty much straight away."