What side do we leave the mark?

Word has just reached me that Scallywag’s recent record run where they lopped a whopping 15 hours off the record could all be for naught.

Impressive as the elapse time is, my understanding is that for a record to be valid the course – as published in the Sailing Instructions has to be sailed.

The video above, ironically posted on Scallywag’s own Facebook page, appears to show a harbour tug doing a helm hard down turn to avoid Scallywag – the Sailing Instructions clearly state that any commercial vessel and the 100m ahead of it are a moving prohibited zone but perhaps the tug was below the length limit – even so!

Later they appear to sail the wrong way down the Traffic Separation off Tung Lung Chau meaning they left Buoy TCS3 to Starboard, the Sailing Instructions have that as a mark of the course to be left to Port.

These are not observations of my own but from people who know these waters extremely well.

Additionally it appears that Scallywag has been protested by another competitor.

As I am not hearing this first hand I cannot comment of the rights and wrongs of the case (and it would be wrong if I did) but in some ways it would be a shame if they were denied the record – as they should be if they didn’t actually sail the course as stated in the SI’s

Could they be awarded a place penalty as per RRS 44.3. In this they fly the yellow flag, draw the RO’s attention to it and receive a place penalty in accordance with the SI’s. Unfortunately, although the SI’s state that 44.3 would apply they (the SI’s) fail to note, as required by 44.3, how many places would be docked. Note it is a place penalty and NOT a time penalty.

Perhaps it was a case of too many chiefs and not enough Indians as at one point the tactician (I presume) wanted to go left for more pressure but sadly the proper course was to go right and leave the buoy to Port. The Protest Hearing, if it happens, will be quite interesting but if the ‘facts’ as told to me are correct it is likely that Scallywag’s ‘Grand Slam’ may end up being not so grand after all. – Shanghai Sailor.