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Rio 2016 - Kiwis and Brits to appeal penalties in 470 Mens and Womens

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com on 15 Aug 2016
Day 7 - W470 August 14, 2016. Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie with their game faces on during the tow home after hearing of their penalty. Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz
Top rated crews from Britain and New Zealand are set down to appeal their starting penalties incurred in the first race of the Mens and Womens 470, sailed yesterday.

The Race Committee knocked out a total of six crews - three Mens and three in the Womens in Race 6 of the Olympic sailing regatta in Rio de Janeiro.

The race committee flew a 'U' flag at the start of the start sequence, meaning that any boats over the line would not be signalled as recalled, would be allowed to sail the race, and would then be effectively disqualified, from the race.

They crews were only informed after the race that they were UFD'd and their only recourse is to claim redress for an act of omission of the race committee.

Normally the boats are recalled individually and given the chance to pay a penalty by having to sail back recross the line and then restart correctly. Why the draconian UFD penalty was imposed was not disclosed by either crew last night in the mixed zone.

The rule is covered under Sailing Instruction 12.5 which reads in part:

12.5 If flag U has been displayed, no part of a boat’s hull, crew or equipment shall be in the triangle formed by the ends of the starting line and the first mark during the last minute before her starting signal. If a boat breaks this rule and is identified, she shall be disqualified without a hearing but not if the race is restarted or re-sailed.

The Race Management Policies that govern the Olympic Regatta prescribe that: Competitors who have been scored OCS, UFD or BFD, and their coaches, may listen to the voice recording(s) of the applicable start(s). A time and location for doing so each day will be posted on the Official Notice Board.

The two crews who are down to have redress claims heard later this afternoon are defending Olympic Champions, Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) and Luke Patience and Chris Grube (GBR). The Hearings are scheduled for 1800hrs and 1745hrs respectively, which presumably means that they will be heard by separate Juries.

Conditions on the Copacabana course, were light for the start of the first race with the wind from a SE direction and a swell of a metre coming at right angles to the SW wind direction. It is not known whether the current was was pushing the crews over the start line.


Water depth in the area is about 85ft, and the with the conditions of swell and wind there is a good chance of significant mark movement in the conditions, which could have caught a crews who were running a conventional starting strategy of being in the front row of the fleet.

In the Mens 470 there have been no other UFD penalties issued in all seven races sailed in the regatta, in the Womens fleet, two UFD penalties were issued in the first race of the 11 race series.

'We started early, which you don't find out until the end of the race,' said the normally ebullient Luke Patience, trying to put a brave face on a day's results which dropped them from third to tenth on the points table. 'We had a really good race and were firing on all cylinders.'

'As we crossed the finish line we were told by our coach that we, and two other boats had been disqualified. It was not a fine day in the office.'

'It wasn't a mental thing,' he said of the second race (Race 7). 'We lost control of ourselves on the startline. It is and area of judgement as to what we thought was the right thing to be doing. We were a bit rushed on the start line, and that is probably a reflection from the previous race.'


The defending Olympic Champions in the Womens 470 class had a similar tale to tell. They too were called out as being over the line at the start of the first race of the day, and not advised until the finish.

'We got a good start but it was one of those where we were a little bit out. We don't know how much we were over by - 10 cm maybe more,' said Aleh.

'We'll have a look at the tape and see what the issue was, before deciding if we will take it further.'

'There was a lot of swell out there, between the two start boats and that could have been a factor,' said crew Polly Powrie.

The 2012 Gold Medalists scored a very useful third place in the second race of the day on the Copacabana course.

There are three races left to sail in the regatta in both Mens and Womens events, plus the double points scoring medal race.

Post Script: Both redress claims were declined to be heard as they were both ruled to have have been lodged too late. The British team lodged one claim, within time but then withdrew it. They then lodged a second claim, but this was ruled to be late and was declined. The New Zealanders claim was lodged this morning at 10.08am and this too was ruled to be outside the two hour time limit after boats have finished.

The Jury does have the option to extend the protest time if there is good reason. Competitors are entitled to hear the audio of the start, and would normally have expected to do this before lodging their redress claim.

Boat Books Australia FOOTERAnyport Ewincher 2019 FooterNanni Diesel 2019 Footer

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