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Sail-Gate: Telefonica Cleared

Here's the official word, issued today from Brazil regarding the case against Telefonica's sail inventory for Leg 4.

April 19, 2012
Sailing World

Telefonica’s Sails

The international jury ruled that Telefonica’s use of two storm jibs on Leg 4, while not technically compliant with the Notice of Race, was the result of an interpretation error on the part of the chief measurer and race director. IAN ROMAN/Volvo Ocean Race

In Itajaí, Brazil, according to a Volvo Ocean Race press release, an international jury found that Telefonica had “sought clarification over the relevant section of the Notice of Race” with regard to sail inventories, and “and at the time, the chief measurer [Shaun Ritson] was satisfied that they were in compliance with the rule.” Subsequent further clarification of the rule, it goes on to say, “offered a different interpretation but the Jury decided it should not be applied retrospectively.”

“Telefónica cannot be found to have broken Notice of Race 5.2 during Leg 4,” the Jury concluded. “Protest dismissed.”

It appears Ritson erred on his interpretation of the NOR, or as result of the NOR’s “ambiguity.” But either way, the Spaniards are cleared, and the action resumes this weekend with the in-port race.

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Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012
Case #5: Jury vs Telefonica
1 Facts Found
1.1 Telefonica sailed leg 4 with 10 sails, including 2 headsails and 2 storm jibs. Leg 4 started on 19th February and Telefonica finished on 11th March.
1.2 Prior to 18th February representatives of Telefonica asked questions to the Race Director and Chief Measurer regarding the number of storm jibs that could be carried. They were answered that the NoR placed a minimum, not a maximum, on the number of storm jibs that could be carried.
1.3 Telefonica’s sail inventory was declared, and checked by the Chief Measurer, in Sanya on 18th February before the start of the leg. The Chief Measurer did not file a report alleging sails in excess of any limitation in the NoR at this time.
1.4 Telefonica’s sail inventory was then checked in Auckland on 11th March after finishing. Again, the Chief Measurer did not file a report alleging sails in excess of any limitation in the NoR.
1.5 On 16th March the RC emailed to the teams a written interpretation of NoR paragraph 5.2.1 and 5.2.2 in which it was stated that if a boat carries additional storm jibs or HWJs, they are counted as headsails for the purposes of NoR 5.2.2(b).
1.6 On 18th March the Chief Measurer reported that under this interpretation Telefonica had sailed leg 4 with one headsail in excess of the limitation in NoR 5.2.2(b).
1.7 On 18th March the Jury filed a protest against Telefonica.
2 Conclusions
2.1 The body responsible for interpreting the NoR is the OA and RC. Telefonica sought clarification from the appropriate source.
2.2 The absence of any report from the Chief Measurer as required in NoR 5.3.1 indicated that at the times of inspection he concluded that Telefonica had declared her sail inventory and sailed leg 4 in compliance with NoR 5.2.
2.3 The interpretation emailed to the teams on 16th March conflicted with the Chief Measurer’s previous interpretation. This indicates that the meaning of NoR 5.2 is ambiguous.
2.4 For these reasons it was reasonable for Telefonica to believe her sail inventory on leg 4 was in compliance with the NoR.
2.5 The 16th March interpretation was needed to resolve the ambiguity, and to establish clarity over compliance with NoR 5.2. It should therefore not be applied retrospectively.
2.6 Prior to this interpretation, given the different interpretation made by the Chief Measurer at the time, Telefonica cannot be found to have broken NoR 5.2 during leg 4.
3 Decision
3.1 Protest dismissed
Decision given Itajai, 11.45am, Thursday 19th April
International Jury
Bernard Bonneau (FRA), Chris Atkins (GBR), Flavio Naveira (ARG), John Mac Call (ARG), Peter
Shrubb (BER)

And for background here’s the Notice of Race wording on sails:

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.

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