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Volvo Ocean Race - Xabi Fernández: “The principle of proportionality has not been applied”
The International Jury today announced in Lisbon the resolution of the four protests that were affecting three of the Volvo Ocean Race teams: Team SCA, Dongfeng and MAPFRE.

Lisbon (Portugal), 3rd June 2015

The International Jury of the Volvo Ocean Race announced today in Lisbon the resolution of the four protests, which have affected there of the Volvo Ocean Race teams. The Jury, presided by Frenchman Bernard Bonneau, have penalised Team SCA with two additional points to their overall classification, and a point each for Dongfeng and MAPFRE.

Representing the Spanish team, MAPFRE’s lawyer Luis Sáenz de Mariscal was present at the hearing along with the team’s navigator Jean Luc Nélias.

After hearing the final decision of the International Jury, the reaction of MAPFRE’s lawyer was clear, “This is an unfortunate incident; we committed a small error in navigation that took us in the wrong direction for about 700 metres inside Buzzard Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS). It is important to note that there was no merchant traffic, 6 knots of wind, full diurnal visibility and no danger to the navigation. The International Jury has penalised us for that and we have full respect such decision. Having said that, I do not agree with several issues involving these cases,” specified Luis Sáenz de Mariscal.

“First of all, with the data that is available to us (AIS position reports), Brunel also sailed inside and in the wrong direction in the Buzzard TSS. However, the Race Committee did not protest Brunel. It is important to note that boats are not allowed to protest for these issues and only the Race Committee may do so.”

Sáenz de Mariscal added, “Secondly, DongFeng breached the rule twice. The first time in Buzzard TSS – for more than one kilometre- and, about twelve hours later, for a second instance in the Boston to New York TSS – for more than four kilometres- (Mapfre had to change sails twice to respect that TSS). However, the International Jury decided to impose the same penalty to DongFeng (two breaches) than to Mapfre (one breach). Therefore, the penalties are not proportional to the breaches.”

Co-skipper of the Spanish team, Xabi Fernández also added, “In my criteria the principle of proportionality has not been applied here. One point in a leg represents many hours of sacrifice, work, effort,and even risking your life in some cases. An action that didn’t provide us with any kind of advantage, has been penalised with a point, and I feel that it is completely disproportionate. We believe there could have been another kind of sanction, such as time in stead of points, to compensate for the error, and which would not have distorted the general classification.”

Pedro Campos, Director General of the Spanish team declared, “I believe that a large organisation such as the Volvo Ocean Race should reflect very deeply about the degree of confusion which exists in regard to the rules which define it. In my opinion, when four out of six boats competing make a mistake, and three are penalised for it, the rules are obviously not clear, particularly given that the best navigators in the world are taking part in this race, and they spend many hours and much effort to prepare each leg of the race.”

Photo : © María Muiña/ MAPFRE
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