Det är ju inte helt ovanligt med bortförklaringar inom segelsporten. Men här har vi en som tar priset. Efter att ha överlämnat bucklan till BMW Oracle, så kan SNG inte låta bli att skica ut ett brev där man skriver “from a rules point of view, it is not even clear whether there was truly a race or not on that day”. Inte så stilfullt…
Är det inte så att Harold Bennett som PRO fattar besluten, med kommittén som rådgivande (inte demokratiskt beslutande)?
Och nu verkar det som att SNG inte heller vill lämna över cupen på ett korrekt sätt till GGYC om man inte lägger ner alla rättstvister. Så storyn verkar trots allt inte vara riktigt över.
Open letter from Société Nautique de Genève vice commodore Fred Meyer
25 February 2010
Following recent declarations in the media by Harold Bennett, the Principal Race Officer (PRO) for the 33rd America’s Cup Match, we feel obliged to clarify the situation on board the Race Committee boat before the start of Race 2.
SNG as Organising Authority appointed Fred Meyer, Nicolas Grange and Marcel Beauverd to be the Race Committee for the 33rd America’s Cup. Harold Bennett was appointed by ISAF – in agreement with SNG – as PRO. As such, he became the fourth member of the Race Committee.
Under ISAF racing rules of sailing (RRS), the Race Committee conducts the race and makes all decisions relating to it, such as designating the course to be sailed, setting the start line, starting or abandoning the race. The PRO has no specific prerogative and has to operate the race as decided by the Race Committee.
On Sunday 14 February, the wind for most of the day was shifty and uncertain. The sea state was not good as the waves to the North were still above 1m. At 16:00, the wind was gradually establishing from the East but was also dying out and the sea state was still not satisfactory.
At this moment, spectator boats were still in the middle of the start area and there was clearly not enough time to clear the area and launch the race in good conditions. There was a risk of finishing the race after sunset.
The three SNG Race Committee members expressed their opinion to Harold Bennett explaining that the race should not be launched for the following reasons:
- The starting area was not clear of spectator boats
- The sea state was improper (the waves were too high)
- The certainty of racing during day light hours (the last possible warning signal as per the Notice of Race was 16:30) was being jeopardised putting at risk the security of the race yachts and spectator boats.
Acting against the opinion of the Race Committee, Harold Bennett unilaterally launched the race. Rather than enforcing the Race Committee decision by physical means, the SNG Race Committee members decided to withdraw and wait below decks.
Launching the race in improper conditions resulted in (i) Alinghi being penalised before the start because it was disturbed by spectator vessels while making its way toward the starting line (ii) the Race Committee boat starboard lay line being impracticable for both racing yachts because of the presence of spectator vessels on the lay line and (iii) high load alarms on both boats sounding continuously during the first leg on starboard because of the sea state.
Fortunately no accidents occurred that day and neither of the boats was damaged. The three SNG Race Committee members however maintain that it was unreasonable, unnecessary and improper to launch the race at that moment. From a rules point of view, it is not even clear whether there was truly a race or not on that day.