Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Three Protest in the VOR 2008-2009 |2

And then there were only two!

From the VOR 2008-2009 website: Wednesday 7 January, 2009 11:00 GMT
Telefonica Blue has withdrawn its protest against Ericsson 3, with agreement from the International Jury.

Jury Chairman Bryan Willis received a letter from Richard Slater of Telefonica Blue requesting the International Jury allow the protest to be withdrawn and following discussions, allowed the Spanish team to drop the matter.

"We lodged the protest because Ericsson 3 fouled us but we withdrew it because it could effectively mean losing a point against Ericsson 4," said Telefonica Blue skipper Bouwe Bekking.
"There was a chance that Ericsson 3 could be disqualified which would just bring the other Ericsson boat up but we want to win this race. "The guys on Ericsson 3 got the message and are very happy so that's enough for me. There are so many protests going on in this race but I would like to win this race without any protests so when we hold the trophy we can say we did it just by plain sailing."

The protest was one of three due to be heard on Thursday January 8th. Ericsson 3 will still face the Jury to answer a protest from the Race Committee regarding whether the team obeyed all the waypoints in sailing the course for leg three.

In the afternoon, Ericsson 4 will answer charges brought by the Rule Management Group (the measurers) regarding a replacement 'false bow' that was fitted before the start.

Sometimes I get sick and tired of sailors stating that they want to win a race 'out on the water'. As if protests are not part of racing - something to be avoided at all costs and somehow spoiling the game.
One of the first things someone reads in a rulebook is the basic principle: "Competitors in the sport of sailing are governed by a body of rules that they are expected to follow and enforce". I can perfectly understand that Telefonica wants to withdraw this protest to protect it's position against Ericsson 4. Tactically a sound decision.

But don't "cloud" the issue by using the "I don't want to go to the room" argument. Then they are actually saying: "We don't want to follow the rules".



  1. First, I'd like to remind everyone that we discussed withdrawing protests recently in

    Secondly, please pardon me, but I'll just re-copy a couple of misplaced comments on this topic.

    Adriaan Pels said...
    What happened with the old unwritten rule that made our sport a gentleman sport: protest or keep your mouth shut. When you chat: he breached a rule (Ericsson 3 fouled us) and you do not lodge a protest or withdraw a protest, the other party cannot be cleared by an independent group of competent persons (the jury). This action of Richard Slater must be disapproved. He is the man to blame. Unsportsmanlike behavior can be under discussion. When someone really wants to win on the water: he must not spread the rumor: he did wrong.
    And I like the principle: when there is no written protest (anymore), there is no protest. Journalists, annalists, and so called competent observers must keep that in mind. They must not stir up the case. That is not good for the sport.
    08 JANUARY 2009 10:36
    Adriaan Pels said...
    I forgot to mention the reason of my comment: Jos, I agree.
    08 JANUARY 2009 11:00
    Anonymous said...
    It should be remembered that whilst a competitor may request to withdraw a protest that has been lodged the Jury is under no obligation to accept this request. In this case the Jury accepted

    If there had been damage to either boat, or if the protested boat had gained a significant advantage I would expect the Jury to have refused the request to withdraw.


  2. I agree with Jos that nonsense about 'we don't want to win in the protest room' is silly.

    I also agree with Adriaan on the 'protest or shut-up' issue, but I don't agree that protesting then withdrawing the protest on sound race management grounds is the same as bad-mouthing a competitor without any protest at all.

    I note that Bryan Willis has always encouraged boats to exercise their choice to protest or not protest: see Protests and Appeals (1995) pp 42 to 44, and his current book The Rules in Practice p87 (especially the fifth paragraph).



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