Jury dismisses protest over Telefónica sails

© Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race
© Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race

The international jury has dismissed a protest regarding Team Telefónica's sails during Leg 4, deciding the original rule was ambiguous and that the team were reasonable in assuming they were in compliance.

The case centred around the number of storm jibs each boat can carry during a leg, and whether the wording of 5.2.1 in the Notice of Race which states each team must carry one such sail should be regarded as a minimum number or a maximum number.

Telefónica were originally told that the one storm jib rule was a minimum number, and therefore they could sail with two storm jibs plus the other sails allowed under rule 5.2.2 in the Notice of Race, without going over the maximum number of 10 sails in all categories.

Later, the Race Committee emailed the teams a different interpretation, saying an extra storm jib must be counted among the headsails.

That new interpretation led to a report from the Chief Measurer, saying Telefónica had one too many headsails on Leg 4, even though they were within the maximum number of total sails.

The Jury found that Telefónica had sought clarification over the relevant section of the Notice of Race in an appropriate manner and that, at the time, the Chief Measurer was satisfied that they were in compliance with the rule.

The Jury decided the later interpretation 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."

The independent body of rules experts was chaired by ISAF international judge Bernard Bonneau.

"The decision we made for quite clear for us," said Bonneau. "We found that there was an ambiguity in the rules."

Race director Jack Lloyd, Telefónica skipper Iker Martínez and Chief Measurer Shaun Ritson all gave evidence on Wednesday evening, while Telefónica were represented by legal adviser Luis Sáenz Mariscal.

Mariscal returned on Thursday to hear the verdict directly from the International Jury.

The jury was made up of:

Bernard Bonneau (FRA) Chairman
Peter Shrubb (BER)
Flavio Naveira (ARG)
Chris Atkins (GBR)
John Maccall (ARG)

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