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Vendee Globe- Jury to reopen case of Bernard Stamm

by Sail-World on 6 Jan 2013
Bernard Stamm, Cheminees Poujulat - 2012 Vendee Globe © Bernard Stamm / Cheminées Poujoulat

After receiving the written testimony of from the Russian research vessel, the Professor Marine Khoromov, the jury decided to reopen the investigation of Case No. 4 under RRS 66.

This rule, common to all sailing, allows the Int Jury to reopen a hearing when there has been a significant error, or when a new significant fact becomes available.

The Int Jury do not consider they made a mistake, but believe that this testimony offers a significant new fact. The test for such fact is that it is new and significant, meaning that it has to be not known to the Jury or one of the involved parties at the time of the original hearing, and that it must have a significance that could have a bearing on the decision reached.

On December 23, 2012, after anchoring Sandy Bay to the south of Enderby Island (south of New Zealand) to repair his hydrogenerators in difficult conditions, Bernard Stamm (SUI) awoke to find he had been joined in the compact cove by a Russian scientific ship which had anchored close to him.

Realising Cheminées Pooujoulat’s anchor was dragging and he was drifting towards the ship, Stamm contacted the captain by VHF, and asked if he could lie alongside. He reported that when he was inside his IMOCA 60 preparing things to move, he came back on deck to find a Russian crewman on board:

Stamm, who had twice lead the race, sounded despondent but objective when he told Vendée Globe LIVE earlier: ' When I saw my anchor was moving I called on the VHF to warn the other boat that I was getting closer. They are the one who told me I could tie up to them. I was running everywhere on the boat trying switch on everything. When I came out, there was someone trying to pull up the anchor. I did not even have time to tell him to get off my boat, especially since we were dragging. I finished pulling back up the anchor and he fastened the line to his boat. Any sailor in the world would have done the same thing, and it happened so fast that I did not think what is specified in the rules. Maybe the captain of the Professor Khromov can testify but I'm not sure he would bring any new elements.'

The International Jury upheld the protest against Cheminées Poujoulat for receiving assistance. Subsequently 14 entries in the race have signed a petition requesting the reinstatement of Stamm, as well as lodging other support for the Swiss sailor, who was forced to sail north to the coast of New Zealand to effect proper repairs. He set off to continue the race 3,500nm behind the race Vendee Globe website
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