International Jury reverses decision to abandon Race 7 of Etchells Worlds – last race today

The International Jury at the ACE Etchells World Championship 2004 this morning reinstated Race 7 of the regatta, reversing its decision of last night to abandon the race and order a resale today.

This means that the Championship, being sailed off Mooloolaba on the Queensland Sunshine Coast, will go ahead with just the eighth and final race to be sailed instead of also having to also run a resail of Race 7.

The Jury announced their revised decision this morning to a meeting of representatives of each of the 85 competing boats and the Chairman of the Race Committee, admitting that it erred in originally abandoning Race.

However, the matter is not over, with three boats, Racer XY (Jason Muir), Zulu (Andrew Hunn) and Squid (Chris Pratt) subsequently lodging applications for redress from the Jury’s decision. Satu II (Grant Wharington) is seeking a re-opening of the hearing,

The Jury is hearing these applications before the fleet is sent to sea to contest Race 8, which not likely to be before 11am, with a start for Race 8 not expected until 12 noon or later.

Going into the final race, only two boats have a chance to win the 2004 World Championship – Tom Pepper XVIII skippered by Peter McNeill from Lake Macquarie and Pacesetter skippered by Cameron Miles from Pittwater.

McNeill is on 47 points after discarding his worst race, Miles is on 49 points. In third place overall is America’s Cup legend Dennis Conner, sailing Menace from the San Diego fleet, who has 67 points on the board. Odyssey (Julian Plante) is on 72 points, as is Satu (Glen Collings).

Last night, the Jury denied 14 requests for redress arising from the Race Committee’s decision yesterday morning to abandon its first attempt to sail Race 7 of the eight race championship following a 45 degree windshift.

In a verbal announcement to protestors, the Jury ruled that the action of the Race Committee was in accordance with Rule 32.1(e) of the racing rules of sailing. However, the Jury then declared the subsequent running of Race 7 as invalid because of the time of the start.

This morning, the Jury called a meeting of one representative from each of the 85 competing yachts and the Chairman of the Race Committee and issued printed details of the Protest Hearing.

In Facts Found, the Jury announced:

1. The RC abandoned Race 7, as the leading boats were part way through the second leg.

2. The RC started the resail of Race 7 at 13.25 hours.

3. Sunset was at 17.22 hours.

4. Class Rules Appendix A 11D(3) requires no start for course 2 to be within 4 hours of sunset.

5. SI 15.1 states time limit for Course 1 is 4 hours and for Course 2 is 3 hours from the starting signal.

6. SI 1.3 states: “The International Etchells Class Association rules will apply except as modified by these Sailing Instructions. The Class Governors have approved all variations from Class Rules Appendices in these instructions.

The Jury announced that in denying claims for redress by competitors and then reinstating Race 7, its Conclusions and the Rules that Apply, were:

Race 7 was abandoned by the Race Committee in accordance with RRS 32.1(e). There was no improper action of the Race Committee in abandoning Race 7.

There was an improper action of the Race Committee in starting the resail of Race 7 within four hours of sunset, in breach of Etchells Class Rule A 11D(3).

The Sailing Instructions do not amend Etchells Class Rule Appendix A11D(3) in that SI 15.1 refers to a time limit to complete the race and Etchells Class Rule Appendix 11D(3) limits the start time of a race.

The Jury erred in awarding redress by abandoning Race 7 as during the hearing no boat demonstrated that the improper action of the Race Committee resulted in their finishing place in Race 7 or the series was made significantly worse through no fault of their own.

Provisional ten top boats after seven races, with one discard:

1. Tom Pepper XVIII (Peter McNeill, Lake Macquarie) 2-8-11-13-9-4-(37), 47 points.

2. Pacesetter (Cameron Miles, Pittwater) 11-12-8-5-11-3-33, 49 points

3. Menace (Dennis Conner, San Diego) 23-11-(44)-8-2-19-4, 67 points

4. Odyssey (Julian Plante, Pittwater) 13-1-29-18-(42)-8-3, 72 points

5. Satu (Glen Collings, Mornington) 14-23-16-12-(28)-1-6, 72 points

6. Moody Blues (Rob Bird, Perth) 48-2-(51)-11-12-9-7, 89 points

7. Squid (Chris Pratt, Adelaide) 9-(40)-6-25-11-7-36, 94 points

8. Whooshka (Lucas Down, Mooloolaba) 29-(47)-1-31-5-23-8, 97 points

9. Racer X (Mark Bradford, Brisbane) 28-5-14-39-(46)-10-1, 97 points

10. Satu II (Grant Wharington, Mornington) 49-19-17-4-10-3-(68), 102 points.
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