Harken Derm

Volvo Ocean Race jury to hear Alvimedica redress request

Published on December 17th, 2014

When Team Alvimedica navigator Will Oxley received a call from Volvo Ocean Race headquarters saying that Team Vestas Wind had run aground on November 29, Alvimedica suspended racing for 12 hours to offer support to the stricken team (details).

The Racing Rules of Sailing require competitors to help each other, and the rules also offer the ability to submit a request for redress when an incident such as this affects their standings in a race (details). Following their finish, Alvimedica did submit a redress request. Here skipper Charlie Enright discusses the situation with Scuttlebutt…

Your finish position was essentially the same as it was at the time of the incident, and it’s our understanding that redress awards only make changes to finish positions and not award for time lost. However, it would seem that you could build a case that the time lost was opportunity lost to improve your position in the race.

Yes, it’s an interesting situation. I think they have the best jury in the world so I think they know how to look at these things. But you’re right, all they could possibly award is points. It’s really tough to translate time. We lost 12 crucial hours in the remnants of a tropical depression, at a time when we could have covered some significant miles. If this happens in the doldrums it’s a matter of 12 miles, but in this instance it was probably closer to 180 miles.

So if you turn it into miles, then how do you attribute miles back to time, and then how do you attribute that to points. I think the jury had to decide conceptually what they think about this. I think we might have done ourselves a little bit of a disservice by charging back into the fleet, but can you really look at that when you’re deciding?

It has been debated that giving you back 12 hours could have, in the right conditions, had you win the race.

Yes, exactly. Do I think that would have been fair? No. But is it right to say, “Hey listen, you guys went into this in sixth place and came out fifth, what are you complaining about?” I don’t think that’s right either. If you were to stop the race at that point, MAPRE would have won. These things are ever changing, and I think they need to decide, philosophically, what they think about that.

I think it’ll be pretty hard for them to come up with a ruling that discourages future competitors for helping their competitors, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did nothing. That’s how the jury works and they can do whatever they want; whatever they think’s fair. They can subtract a point from our score. They can switch us with MAPRE who finished ahead of us. They can do absolutely nothing or anything in between.

Three days after the incident, despite having lost a half day on standby, your position amongst the fleet was improved. However, your route had also taken you to the west of the group, a position that would soon set you back.

Yeah, there’s plenty of different ways to look at this. The reality is we didn’t think about redress when we made the decision that we made – to come to their aid. It’s out of our control now. We submitted the paperwork, I am going home to enjoy the holidays, and hopefully there will be a nice present delivered after the hearing.

NOTE: The hearing will be conducted in Abu Dhabi on December 30, 2014.

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