Volvo Ocean Race: Vestas Redress Denied
Published on March 14th, 2018
When a collision between Volvo Ocean Race team Vestas 11th Hour Racing and a fishing boat off Hong Kong resulted in a fatality, it also knocked the team out of race contention when significant damage to its bow required a six week repair.
And while very little has been revealed as to how the collision on January 20 occurred, the team felt the incident was not their fault to the extent they filed redress.
The rule they listed was 62.1(b), which states how their position had been, through no fault of their own, made significantly worse by “injury or physical damage because of the action of a boat that was breaking a rule of Part 2 or of a vessel not racing that was required to keep clear…”
We assume it is the later part, which states how “a vessel not racing that was required to keep clear,” is what they were going for.
The team also listed the IRPCAS in their redress application.
The Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 is governed by the Racing Rules of Sailing, and it is in this document which states that when a boat sailing under these rules meets a vessel that is not, she shall comply with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (ie, COLREGS).
The COLREGS are published by the International Maritime Organization and set out, among other things, the “rules of the road” or navigation rules to be followed by ships and other vessels at sea to prevent collisions between two or more vessels.
It is not known what part of the COLREGS the team referenced, though prominent within the regulations say:
• Every vessel shall at all times proceed at a safe speed so that she can take proper and effective action to avoid collision and be stopped within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions.
• Every vessel shall use all available means appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions to determine if risk of collision exists. If there is any doubt such risk shall be deemed to exist.
Regardless, the International Jury did not award redress to Vestas, finding insufficient evidence to support granting the request (click here).
However, Team AkzoNobel also filed for redress as they had stood by to render assistance to Vestas, and the jury awarded AkzoNobel a credit of 1 hour and 20 minutes on its racing time for Leg 4 (click here).
Back in the day, when winning the Volvo Ocean Race was based on total elapsed time of all legs, such a credit would have been crucial, but in this instance it did not improve their third place finish in Leg 4
Next Up: The seventh leg of the Volvo Ocean Race starts March 18 and takes the fleet from Auckland to Itajaí, BRA. The race organizers choose to estimate the tactical distance for each leg rather than list the actual distance, an unusual decision that’s revealed once the race starts and the tracker lists the actual distance to finish. The VOR says Leg 7 is 7600 nm whereas the truth is more like 6600 nm.
Overall Results (after 6 of 11 legs)
1. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 39 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 34
3. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 26
4. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 23
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 23
6. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 20
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 12
2017-18 Edition: Entered Teams – Skippers
• Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED)
• Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA)
• MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP)
• Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA)
• Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS)
• Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR)
• Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED)
Background: Racing the one design Volvo Ocean 65, the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race begins in Alicante, Spain on October 22 2017 with the final finish in The Hague, Netherlands on June 30 2018. In total, the 11-leg race will visit 12 cities in six continents: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff, Gothenburg, and The Hague. A maximum of eight teams will compete.