Belcher and Ryan get redress for appalling decision at Santander Worlds

After arguing their case until 1am this morning, the International Jury has found in favour of the Australian 470 mens pairing of Mat Belcher and Will Ryan. 

The Australians sought redress for a yellow flag handed to them for a Rule 42 breach (see story in Related Content for details) in the first race yesterday. They received a second yellow flag in the next race, which resulted in them being scored DNF.

The Jury agreed that the first yellow flag should not have been given. The resulting penalty turn dropped the pair from second to fifth, and the rules do not allow the Jury to improve their position, so the fifth place stands. (Under Appendix P – P4, redress cannot be given for an action by a member of the Jury under rule P1 unless the action was improper due to a failure to take into account a race committee signal.)

However, by ruling that the first yellow flag was invalid, the Jury said that the second yellow flag was actually the first (if that makes sense) and therefore the DNF should not have been incurred. The Australians have therefore been given “average points” for that race.

While their scoreline now reads (6), 5, 5.5 instead of 6, 5, (38), there is still a lot of damage from this incident. Had it not been for the first yellow flag being given in error, they would have been on 6,2 going into the third race, and had they not been excluded, would have had another low-points result.

I spoke with Mat and Will this morning as they were getting takeaway coffees at Valor Chacolateries near the race centre. They looked very tired and in need of a cafeine shot. It will be interesting to see how they fare today in very strong winds.

On the lighter side, the barista at Valor was showing Will a photo of two Spanish sailors on the front page of the morning paper and suggesting in broken English that he expected to see Will on the cover tomorrow morning.

Spanish race management may leave everything to be desired, but the locals are proving wonderful hosts.

– Roger McMillan in Santander


Facts found:
Race 2 of the 470M Yellow fleet was started under flag Oscar. Flag Oscar was sized as the other starting flags.
When the leading boats of the fleet approached the leeward gate, the RC displayed a board of approx 1 x 1 mtr with laminated A4 sheets showing pictures of the flags Charlie and Red and the numbers 095.
To the left upper corner side of the board, an A4 paper (21×29 cm) with a picture of a Romeo flag was shown, held in the hands of an RC member.
The RC boat displaying this was anchored in 15 meter deep water at a distance of about 30 – 50 meters to the gate which was about 50 meters wide.
In race 2, four boats, AUS 11, FRA 27, POR 19 and SLO 21, were penalised by the jury under rule P1. All four boats took the appropriate penalty, which was penalty turns as required by rule P2.1.
In the subsequent race 3, two boats, AUS 11 and FRA 27, were penalised under rule P1. Both boats took the penalty that was appropriate at that time, which was to promptly retire from the race as required by rule P2.2.
The race committe made an improper action by displaying a flag Romeo of inadequate size and in a position where it was not clearly visible, thereby not complying with rule P5(c). Therefore, the class rule changes to rule 42 still applied and penalising the four boats (AUS 11, FRA 27, POR 19 and SLO 21) in race 2 in this area of the course was incorrect. Consequently, when the two boats (AUS 11 and FRA 27) were correctly penalised in race 3, they had to retire from that race.
The scores of AUS 11 and FRA 27 in race 3 were made significantly worse through no fault of their own by the error in race 2. Thereby, they are entitled to redress. The redress limitation in P4 applies.
The request for redress was made by AUS 11. When decing the redress given, the Jury considered what the fairest arrangement was for all affected boats in the fleet as required by rule 64.2.
Rule(s) applicable:
62.1(a), 64.2, P1, P2.1, P2.2, P4, P5
Redress granted.
In race 2, the count of the yellow flags of AUS 11, FRA 27, POR 19 and SLO 21 in race 2 will be removed.
In race 3, AUS 11 and FRA 27 are awarded average points in accordance with rule A10(a), replacing “in all races” with “all races in the qualifying series”.
In race 3, the yellow flags of AUS 11 and FRA 27 will remain counted as their first penalty in the event.
Short decision:
Redress granted, Yellow Flag not counting    
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