For those of you who haven't heard about the difficulties he faced and what happened, here are some excerpts from different sources:
Later in the evening Scuttlebutt came out with an extra edition with some astonishing news:
SCUTTLEBUTT EXTRA 3 - Sunday, February 14, 2010 (An update to supplement Scuttlebutt 3028 (and Extra 1 and 2)
SCUTTLEBUTT EXCLUSIVE - BENNETT RISES ABOVE RIFF
By Cory E. Friedman, America’s Cup analystFROM SCUTTLEBUTT 3029
Valencia, Spain (February 14, 2010) - By now many ‘Buttheads know that challenger USA 17 crushed defender Alinghi 5 in both races to win the 33rd America’s Cup. However, reliable sources tell Scuttlebutt that even when you thought it could not get any worse - it did. The defense club – Société Nautique De Genève’s (SNG) - had their Race Committee actually go on strike and refuse to start Sunday’s race ordered by ISAF approved PRO Harold Bennett. To begin the second race of the Match, Bennett was forced to draft Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) observer Tom Ehman and a Guardia Civil cop on board the RC boat and ordered them to run the flags as Bennett counted down himself.
* From Thomas C. Price, Annapolis, MD:
I'm sorry but if what your Scuttlebutt Extra says is true, (SNG tried to manipulate the RC to their advantage) that calls for sanction by ISAF against Mr Bertarelli. This absolutely cannot be allowed to pass without resolution and it's clear that it's he ISAF who must resolve it! If true, no Alinghi team should ever sail a sanctioned event again! What a shame. After the awkward "Cumbaya" moment at the press conference, where the parties shook hands, this news is reprehensible.
* From George Morris, Inverness, Scotland, UK:
If the SNG race committee really did behave as described then this will surely require a Rule 69 referral to ISAF. If the RC members who refused to raise the flags are members of SNG then that club would surely be banned from holding any more yacht races and if they were acting on instructions from Alinghi then surely that team would be banned from all future competition. AC events are not quite the same thing as ordinary sailing club regattas but there is a point at which the two sports touch each other, and that is on the racecourse. If Alinghi attempted to fix the result by buying the race committee, then they have disqualified themselves from future competition. Tell me it isn't true.
From an interview with Harold Bennett in Sailingworld: The 33rd Americas Cup Lawyers, Guns and Money.
Harold, what happened on the boat when you tried to start Race 2? Is it true that the SNG members on the boat refused to perform their jobs?
We had a bit of a mutiny. I don't think SNG wanted to go, so they decided they weren't going to do flags. So Tom [Ehman, BMW Oracle Racing's head of external affairs] took the AP down and my boat driver, who's also an international umpire, he shot up forward and did the rest of the signals.
Does this stray into Rule 69 territory. Would you normal write a report for ISAF?
Yes I do have to and obviously that's going to be included in any report. That's what you do, you've got outline what's going on on the boat, whether it's good or bad.
What could've been their motivation? The wind was as light as it could get and still be stable.
We had a perfect breeze the way I saw it. I had good weather information from the Alinghi weather team. It was perfect, everything lined up, 8, 9 knots up the course. And it was like, well, let's do it.
Have you heard of a race committee at any regatta deciding they want to prevent the race being run?
No. Well I've certainly never experienced it. No. I've never heard of that before.
It has been a week since the match and some lively discussions have begun on the sailing forums. In this post I'll give you some of my personal notes and thoughts on this subject:
Lets have a look at the rules.
There's rule 85; Governing Rules
"The organizing authority, race committee and protest committee shall be governed by the rules in the conduct and judging of races"And if you look at the definition of rules, they include: (g) any other document that govern the event.
Any, in the NoR, SI or other relevant document, regulated boundaries for wave and wind, become therefore rules according to the definition.
And rule 90.1; Race Committee
"The race committee shall conduct races as directed by the organizing authority and as required by the rules."There are no individual Race Committee members in the rules. The RC may consist of many people, doing different things, but in the rules they are all considered part on one ‘entity’, which is called the Race Committee.
The PRO/RO is responsible for everything his team does. If the mark boat has not recorded the rounding correctly – the RO gets the blame. If a flag setter on the committee boat doesn’t want to put up the flag, the PRO is the only one who can ‘fire’ him and find someone else to do the job.
The wave and wind limitations are part of the rules and should be discussed on the RC-boat. But in the end, only one person takes the decision - simply because it is his responsibility, and that is the RO.
If an individual RC-member does something that has an influence on the race – positive or negative - you cannot protest that individual. In fact, you cannot protest the RC at all. If you disagree with something that has happened because of the RC, the only thing you can do is request redress. And we all know that getting redress is not only depending on "The RC made a mistake or did not do something they should have done". There are other 'demands' before redress can be granted.
But if anything outside the rules in the RRS or the instructions in the NoR & SI is done by an individual RC-member, that has significantly influenced the results/score in a race or series, your only recourse is to request for redress. The Jury might find that you are indeed disadvantaged without any fault of your own and grant redress, but it cannot punish the RC as a whole nor the individual in question.
There is no provision in the rules to start an individual hearing against any member of the RC. You cannot disqualify a member of the RC. You cannot hold a rule 69 hearing against that person.
It becomes complicated if a connection between a competing boat and a RC-committee member can be found as fact. Then the Jury of that event can start a investigation and if appropriate start a rule 69 hearing, but only against the boat or persons competing, not against the RC-member.
An International Jury must be absolutely sure of the facts before it can decide in a rule 69 hearing against the competitor. And again, if appropriate, the Jury can only penalize the competitor, not the RC-member.
What about Interested Party?
The definition of Interested Party is only about a person who may gain or lose as a result of a protest committee's decision, or who has a close personal interest in the decision. The definition does not include someone on the race committee boat who has ties with a team or competitor.
Only when an actions or non actions influences the score in a significant way, and without any fault of the boat, that boat can request redress and get 'compensated' if necessary.
Since the match was sailed and the 'other' boat won, there's no redress possible.
That leaves only one rule.
That is rule 69.2; Action by a National Authority or Initial Action by the ISAF
When someone - RC-member, coach, parent, or anybody who has anything to do with the event - does something that could be a gross breach of a rule, good manners or sportsmanship, or might have conducted him/herself in such a manner that it brings the sport into disrepute, rule 69.2 gives the possibility to write a report and send it to the National Authority or to ISAF.
The MNA and/or ISAF can start an investigation and, when appropriate, conduct a hearing. It may then take any disciplinary action they think is appropriate against that person(s), team, or club.
Like Harold Bennett stated in the interview, a report will be send and the conduct of RC-members will be included. It is now up to the MNA or ISAF to decide what to do with that report.
Rule 69.2 gives them a choice. They may or they may not conduct an investigation and take this matter further.....
"¿Dónde están mis fresas?"