To most people it might have appeared to be just a pile of gear but something didn’t look quite right with the pile of ‘stuff’ lying in a hotel storeroom.
Sometime after the racing fleet crossed the start line for the leg from Haikou to Sanya down the east coast of Hainan in the recent Round Hainan Regatta we were in a Haikou hotel storeroom collecting our own bags for the drive south when I spotted the pipe-cots from one of the competitor’s boats.
What else was under those pipe–cots?
I am not sure, it wasn’t my gear so wasn’t about to go raking in it, but it was quite a pile and if they were willing to dump off the pipe-cots, what else had they left behind?
Mmm, I thought, surely they should most likely be on board so I took a photograph and forwarded to the official protest email address of the event confident that the matter would be looked into, after all “lightening ship” is potentially just another form of cheating and the event did boast an International Jury and even had an international measurer in attendance.
It would be a simple task for the measurer to do a spot check of the boat when she docked in on her arrival in Sanya.
A day later, having not had an acknowledgement of my mail I physically went to the race office and checked that the mail and photo had been received – it had. Still nothing!
Subsequently we spotted a representative of the boat in question in deep discussion outside the Blue Moon Café at Sanya Serenity Marina with one of the senior organisers of the event. Could have been, and probably was, totally unrelated but one can’t help wondering.
So what happened? Well when the hotel storeroom was revisited the ‘cupboard was bare’ and the hotel staff informed us that someone from the team arrived and told them the boss had told them to come and take all the gear away. To the boat or just hidden away we don’t know.
So were any rules broken?
According to IRC Rule 17.1 a boat shall be measured with “Items of accommodation” and as berths, hard or soft are accommodation she would most likely have been measured with the pipe cots in position.
Also IRC Rule 22.1.1 detachable items permitted by Rule 17 to be aboard for measurement shall be carried in their normal positions while racing.
These two rules quoted from the IRC Rule 2019 and confirmed by the RORC Rules office.
Furthermore the IRC measurer confirmed that the pipe-cots were on board when the boat was measured under previous ownership and said measurer was “not aware of any rating amendment that gives their removal or any other interior”
Pipe-cots, (and potentially other gear) don’t get left off by accident and one can only assume they were deliberately removed which is breaking the IRC Rating rules.
Incidentally even if they were “just forgotten” the boat would not be in measured configuration so the IRC Certificate would surely be invalid.
So the boat was probably racing under – at the very least – an invalid IRC Certificate in that the details on the certificate did not match what was actually on – or more importantly NOT on the boat while racing which calls, or should have – at least – called into question the validity of their result in the Round Hainan Regatta.
What do you reckon?
Name of boat concerned redacted to protect the innocent (me ☺)