Protest hearing for Ocean Globe Race
Published on October 30th, 2023
With 12 of the 14 teams having finished the first leg of the 2023-24 Ocean Globe Race, a protest hearing was necessary due to a broken broken seal on the 73-foot PEN DUICK VI crew comms bag and evidence of French skipper Marie Tabarly’s WhatsApp account active after the start in Southampton (UK) on September 10.
As the fully crewed, retro race is in the spirit of the 1973-74 Whitbread Round the World Race, permitted onboard technology is severely limited, with all personal electronic devices kept sealed onboard for crew use in ports only.
Marie Taberly is the daughter of Eric Tabarly and is sailing the same ketch built for her dad to race in that 1973–74 race. Here is the official report:
At 20 October 2023 approx 20.00 local time, Georgie Vintner, Don McIntyre, and Marco Ausderau boarded Pen Duick VI as soon as they arrived. Skipper and all crew signed the NOR compliance declaration.
On inspection of the comms bag presented by Marie Tabarly, the OGR security seal holding approx. nine personal crew phones, sealed a few hours before the start in Southampton, was observed to be broken allowing free access to all phones. Photos were taken of the broken seal.
The integrity of the seal is the responsibility of the entrant. The seals are quite strong and would not normally break without a reasonable force. A crew member suggested it may have broken while rummaging through the locker where it was stored while looking for food, also stored in the same locker. A comment was made that the crew member did not realize, or possibly forgot about the seal. The crew member was clearly upset.
Marie was present and saw the seal was broken.
The next day on 23 October, a recorded interview was held with Marie Tabarly to investigate the evidence suggesting her WhatsApp account was active after the start including on the 11 September – a day after the start. A follow up interview was held on the 25 of October to clarify contradictory statements and information.
Findings of the investigation
The seal on the comms bag onboard Pen Duick VI was found to be broken by the OGR inspection team. Pen Duick VI did not report the seal broken in the first instance. It is likely that the phones inside were not accessed, but this cannot be proven conclusively.
Evidence shows that Marie’s Whatsapp account was confirmed active after the start of the OGR when approx. 5 miles offshore UK and most likely in range of phone signal. Marie was not forthcoming with accurate and timely information in regard to OGR questioning. In fact, contradictory statements and information was provided to key enquiries on two occasions. When OGR asked for confirmation of recorded answers, from a meeting 24hrs previous, Marie replied… “I do not know what I said and so what!”
1. OGR cannot prove conclusively the cause of the Active WhatsApp account notice, as two phones are involved and one was onshore. It is possible the phone ashore could have been used, which is not a breach of the NOR. On this issue no action is taken.
2. The OGR security seal on the comms bag was broken. It cannot be proven if it was an accident or with intent. It may be as a result of the entrant not having an onboard management plan to protect the comms bag.
3. It is the responsibility of the entrant to maintain the integrity of the seal. Not reporting the broken seal is the fault of the entrant. Other than the regret of the crew member responsible for regularly moving the bag to access food in the same locker, not being aware of the seal and it’s importance, there are no mitigating circumstances.
4. Under the NOR 3.1.7.C… Banned Equipment, a broken seal of the comms bag imposes a 72-hr time penalty. The seal of this comms bag was broken.
PENALTY is applicable.
After consideration of the facts, PEN DUICK VI is awarded a 72-hour time penalty applicable on Leg one of the OGR.
2023-24 Ocean Globe Race:
FIRST LEG: Start 10 September 2023. 7670 miles. First boats finish 9-21 October 2023.
SECOND LEG: Start 5 November 2023. 7250 miles. First boats finish 14-23 December 2023.
THIRD LEG: Start 14 January 2024. 4980 miles. First boats finish 9-18 February 2024.
FOURTH LEG: Start 5 March. 6550 miles. Finish 1-10 April 2024.
The 2023-24 Ocean Globe Race (OGR) is a fully crewed, retro race, in the spirit of the 1973 Whitbread Round the World Race, marking the 50th Anniversary of the original event. Starting in Southampton (UK) on September 10, the OGR is a 27,000-mile sprint around the Globe, divided into four legs that passes south of the three great Capes. The fleet is divided in three classes with stop-overs in Cape Town, South Africa; Auckland, New Zealand; and Punta del Este, Uruguay before returning to Southhampton in April 2024.