To say that the Rolex Middle Sea race completely screwed the pooch in this edition of the race would be alarmingly accurate, figuratively speaking. Read this article which we published yesterday for the story.
Below is what Sunrise navigator Tom Cheney had to say… It is our understanding that Sunrise received a three-minute standing ovation at the prizegiving last night. There was a cringeworthy speech from a Rolex representative about the integrity of the race and you could have cut the tension in the room with a knife.
69 boats finished the full racecourse. 23 were still racing when the course was shortened. Approximately 24 hours after we finished a notice was issued stating that an alternative finish was to be used. The sailing instructions do have a section describing how the race might be shortened at Camino (the strait between Malta and Gozo) 13 miles before the finish and without rounding the final mark of the course. The PRO acknowledged that he’d never intended to use 11.3 after a boat had finished.
SI 11.3 doesn’t amend the RRS on how to shorten the course (see RRS 86). The RRS is pretty clear that you can’t shorten the course after a boat has finished (RRS 32). I completely understand the safety aspect of this but I’m a pretty strong believer in the decision to race, and the weather was never that severe.
My issue is the timing and that I don’t believe the SIs allow them to shorten the course after a boat has finished.
In my first redress hearing, the international jury ruled it was not a shortened course but an “alternative finish line”. When the hearing was over and I pointed out that the fairway mark outside the usual finish is a mark of the course three jurors’ mouths fell open.
I applied to reopen but they denied – no new evidence. In an effort to point out the ridiculous nature of their decision I then suggested that I needed redress because we didn’t sail round the fairway mark and to their “alternative finish” line. I also tried to protest Comanche for the same reason (I did chat to Mitch Booth on the phone to make sure they knew I wasn’t actually accusing them of doing anything wrong. He said he’d be doing something similar in my position).
The race committee members are screaming at each other and don’t know how to fix it.
How can you finish a 600-mile race as the winner and then the RC change the course/shorten the course after you finish?