Please select your home edition
Edition
SailX 728x90

Sailing as a TV sport – the downside Ainslie’s Rule 69

by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team on 12 Dec 2011
Ben Ainslie of Great Britain walks thru Fishing Boat Harbour on day 8 during the Finn gold fleet race of the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships on December 10, 2011 in Perth, Australia. Paul Kane /Perth 2011 http://www.perth2011.com
The demand from the IOC is that Olympic sports improve their ratings. ISAF has responded with medal races and here at Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships, with a stadium course.

But television steps onto the field of play...


Yesterday, in the name of more exciting television, the ISAF contracted Sunset & Vine TV boat twice powered down the run, following the Finn class race leader Pieter Jan Postma and putting significant wash on Ben Ainslie.

Ainslie was seen to be shouting at the driver both times and even shook his fist the second time.

Then post race, Britain’s sailing superstar lost it completely. He stepped aboard the video boat and there was, at the very least, vigorous discussion.


Here are the facts found:

DECISION OF THE INTERNATIONAL JURY
CASE 48

Rule 69.1 Hearing based on report from Organizing Authority
Ben Ainslie (Finn GBR 3)

Facts Found


As the first two boats in Finn Race 9 rounded the gate for the second beat and headed towards the shore, a media boat followed close to leeward of the leader. This caused wash for GBR 3, who attempted to wave the media boat off.

When the leaders passed through the gate and headed towards the finishing line, the same media boat followed the leader to the finishing line leaving a large wake, which again affected GBR 3's race.

The media boat crossed the finishing line and then stopped in front of GBR 3 after GBR 3 finished. As GBR 3 came alongside, the skipper jumped aboard the media boat.

The skipper grabbed and shook the boat driver, shouting 'You have no respect!' He then walked towards another member of the media boat's crew, but made no contact with him. He then jumped into the water, swam to his boat and sailed away.

On coming ashore, the skipper of GBR 3 wrote a letter of apology and delivered it to the media boat driver. The media boat driver accepted that apology and apologised in a letter for disturbance during the race.


Conclusion

The action of jumping on a media boat with anger and grabbing the driver constitutes physical aggression. Such behaviour is never an acceptable response. Such behaviour not only constitutes a gross breach of good manners but also, coming from a top athlete at a world championship, brings the sport of sailing into disrepute.

However, the repeated nature of the media boats interference over multiple legs is a mitigating circumstance, as is the prompt and unsolicited written apology given to the boat driver.

Decision

GBR 3 is to be scored DGM (disqualification non-excludable for gross misconduct) for Races 9 and 10.

Decision given at 22:40 December 9, 2011

International Jury:
Bernard Bonneau (Chairman), Jim Capron, Josje Hofland, Ana Sanchez, Marianne Middelthon


As a result of this decision Ainslie missed out on the 2011 Finn Class World Champion medal round.

Skip Lissiman, the Perth 2011 Competition Manager said this morning ‘The matter has been decided by the International Jury and there will be no further action.

‘There have been discussions between the TV company and the race management since the incident.’

Asked who would have directed the driver to position the boat where it was, would it have been the cameraman?

Lissiman said ‘I imagine so, but let’s say the driver has been re-directed.’

Tim Sewell, the ISAF Media Manager said 'a mistake was made.'

Going forward as ISAF is very keen to have television camera's amongst the action, it seems events, including the Olympic Games are going to have to insist that that host broadcaster's media boats are going to have to be of a design that throws much less wake than the ribs being used at this event.

Watching the Sunset & Vine media boats on the water today it did seem that the sailors were being given the respect that was clearly lacking yesterday.

As this is an International Jury, they are bound to report an adverse finding to the International Sailing Federation who under RRS69.2(c) may, in other words they are no obliged, to investigate and may also conduct a second Hearing, (which would allow them ISAF to hear and completely traverse all the available evidence). It can then decided what additional penalty, if any, should be imposed.


Ainslie's National Authority, the Royal Yachting Association also is informed, but would usually take their lead from the ISAF. The RYA have published a list of guidelines governing actions under RRS69 which can be read by http://www.rya.org.uk/SiteCollectionDocuments/Racing/RacingInformation/RaceOfficials/Resource%20Centre/Best%20Practice%20Guidelines%20Policies/Rule%2069%20Guidance%20for%20Race%20Officials.pdf!clicking_here however these are only for UK national use.

On the scale provided in Appendix B of the guidelines Ainslie's actions fit into a category 3-5 offence on a five point scale. From the penalty imposed it seems as though the Int Jury saw the incident as attracting a rating of three.

It is unusual when a case is upheld against a competitor for an additional penalty not be imposed, the usual minimum is about 12 months, with two years being the top end. That would clearly take Ainslie out of contentions for the 2012 Olympics, for which he has already been selected by the Royal Yachting Association.


The ISAF will be in some degree of anguish as to whether to further penalise the Golden Boy of British yachting and deprive him of the opportunity to win a fourth Gold Medal, and probably a further UK order of chivalry, against the signal sent to the rest of the sport over competitors being physically aggressive towards other competitors, media and officials.

One source who did not want to be named yesterday suggested a penalty of three months banning from competition could be imposed which could send a signal to sailors but not impinge on Ainslie's Olympic campaign.

http://sailingpix.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Ben-Ainslie-confronts-skipper-and-photographer-at-World-Champs/G0000uXhrsGqrj50/I00002vfUZc3w4Hw!Here_is_the_sequence_of_images_from_the_incident!now

Schaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82Barz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best EyewearZhik Yachting 660x82

Related Articles

Gladwell's Line - Does the America's Cup really need a Star Chamber?
The first meeting of the three-man America's Cup Arbitration Panel is believed to have taken place in London The first meeting of the three-man America's Cup Arbitration Panel is believed to have taken place in London in the past week or so. Officially the date hasn't been publicly announced. The venue hasn't been publicly named, and the parties have appeared before a Panel that is publicly nameless.
Posted on 23 Jul
America's Cup - Glenn Ashby on Emirates Team NZ's road to Bermuda
Part 2 of the interview with Emirates Team NZ skipper Glenn Ashby. In this part of the interview we look at what is going to happen once Emirates Team NZ get their 'AC49.5' sailing in Auckland, and how the campaign may shape up before they leave for Bermuda. Ashby wouldn’t be drawn on whether Team New Zealand had started their AC50 build, with July being the usual start of what is usually a five-month build and commissioning period for an end of December launch.
Posted on 10 Jul
America's Cup - Glenn Ashby on Emirates Team NZ's new AC49.5
Sail-World talks with Emirates Team NZ skipper, Glenn Ashby on what is different about the team's new test boat Just under 11 months out from the 35th America’s Cup, Team New Zealand does not seem to be in its customary place at the front of the starting grid to be the first to launch their Challenger, or are they? Although they will be one of the last of the six teams to launch an AC45 Surrogate, Emirates Team New Zealand may have stolen a march with a boat that is as close as you can get to an AC50.
Posted on 9 Jul
Gladwell's Line - Emirates Team NZ launches shadow AC50
Emirates Team NZ took a late but significant step along the road to the 35th America's Cup, with the launch of their AC4 Emirates Team NZ took a late but significant step along the road to the 35th America's Cup, with the launch of their AC45S - as the test boats are called in the Protocol which governs the 2017 event. The bloated Protocol, which now runs to 83 pages of legalese, is restrictive on the size of boat that can be built as a test platform but doesn't restrict the number that can be built.
Posted on 22 Jun
Platino recovery - Family confirms that tug has made rendezvous
Reports in social media say a salvage tug has made a rendezvous with the Platino earlier than expected. Reports in social media by family and friends of Nick Saull, the crew member killed during a catastrophic incident abroad the 66ft yacht Platino say the salvage tug which left on Tuesday night has made the rendezvous earlier than expected. The Facebook report says the tug, Sea Pelican, arrived on Friday morning, the weather in the area has eased and with a more favorable outlook.
Posted on 16 Jun
Rio 2016 - Double Olympic medallist on the delights of Guanabara Bay
Olympic Gold and Bronze medallist Bruce Kendall updates on the 2016 Olympic venue at Guanabara Bay. Olympic Gold and Bronze medallist, and now a windsurfer coach, Bruce Kendall has made several trips to the 2016 Olympic venue at Guanabara Bay. He updates on the pollution issue which is clearly not going to be resolved in a couple of months, and also shares his views on the venue from a sailing competition perspective.
Posted on 14 Jun
America's Cup - Artemis win Chicago as Team Japan wins two races
Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series got three races away on Super Sunday. After losing the first official day of racing due to light winds and the non-arrival of the onshore breeze, Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series got three races away on Super Sunday. From a racing perspective this was probably the best day of racing yet in the series which counts for points in the Qualifying Series of the America's Cup in 11 months time.
Posted on 12 Jun
America's Cup - Emirates TNZ NZ and Oracle capsize in Chicago Practice
Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA capsized in Practice Racing at the Louis Vuitton ACWS Chicago There was action aplenty on Practice Day at Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Chicago, after Emirates Team New Zealand capsized in their match with Oracle Team USA, and then Oracle Team USA capsized later in the day. Team NZ's skipper skipper Glenn Ashby performed some impressive acrobatics ejecting from the AC45 capsize, without injury.
Posted on 11 Jun
America's Cup - Changes proposed to control future Cup options
Changes are being mooted to put the America's Cup on a longer-term footing according to the Daily Telegraph (UK) News that changes are being mooted to put the America's Cup on a longer-term footing is being floated in the Daily Telegraph (UK) by the British Challenger, Land Rover BAR. According to the Telegraph, some of the teams in the 2017 America's Cup are keen to lock-in parameters which would bind successive holders of the a style and frequency for the next America's Cup Match.
Posted on 8 Jun
America's Cup - AC50 construction uncovered - Part 2 - Wings and Costs
Second part of a two-part series looking at the AC50 construction progress at Core Builders Composites Second part of a two-part series looking at the construction progress at Core Builders Composites, and features of the AC50 class which will be used in the 35th America's Cup in Bermuda. Tim Smyth takes us on a tour of the CBC facility in Warkworth, and hour's drive north of Auckland. Where several AC50's, components and wingsails are under construction or have already been shipped to the teams.
Posted on 5 Jun