Photo: Carmen Hidalgo

Leg seven rule infringements

Team SCA, Dongfeng Race Team and MAPFRE get nobbled by jury

Wednesday June 3rd 2015, Author: James Boyd, Location: Portugal

Three boats in the Volvo Ocean Race received penalties for infringements made on leg seven, from the jury sitting in Lisbon toay.

Team SCA, Dongfeng Race Team and MAPFRE all admitted sailing the wrong way in Traffic Separation Schemes and were each penalised a point to be added to their overall total in this low-scoring event.

Team SCA was given an additional penalty point for sailing into an exclusion zone.

The decisions mean that Dongfeng Race Team drop a further point behind overall race leaders, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. Charles Caudrelier’s crew trailing now by six points with two legs to go.

The Chinese-backed team is now level on 22 points with Team Brunel - the Dutch crew officially ranked second because of their superior record in the in-port series, which breaks ties.

MAPFRE drops back to 27 points, level with Team Alvimedica, but the Turkish/American team move up to fourth courtesy of their better in-port record.

All three teams admitted their infringements in the hearing, but said in mitigation that there had been confusion over how clearly the TSS zones had been marked and the angle the boats were allowed to sail within them.

“This gave us no advantage, it was an honest mistake,” Team SCA skipper, Sam Davies, told the jury. “There was no shipping in the vicinity at the time, so no safety issue.”

The jury was earlier given evidence from Race Director, Jack Lloyd, who said that the offences took place early in the 2,800 mile leg from Newport, Rhode Island, to Lisbon.

The infringements were spotted by Race Control staff and corroborated by diagrams of sailing movements sent from the crews themselves.

Both MAPFRE and Dongfeng Race Team witnesses said that recently introduced guidelines of sailing in TSS zones had confused sailors and that improvements needed to be made in the future to assist crews from inadvertently breaking sailing rules.

Despite the decisions, the race is a long way from being decided. Leg 8, from Lisbon to Lorient, begins on Sunday, 7 June

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