Three boats in the Volvo Ocean Race received point penalties for Leg 7 sailing rule infringements from the independent ISAF-appointed jury sitting in Lisbon on Wednesday.
Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR), Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) and MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP) all admitted sailing the wrong way in Traffic Separation Schemes (TSS) and were each penalised a point to be added to their overall total in this low-scoring event.
Additionally, Team SCA were given an additional penalty point for sailing into an exclusion zone.
The decisions mean that Dongfeng Race Team drop a further point behind overall race leaders, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), Charles Caudrelier’s crew trailing now by six points with two legs to go.
The Chinese-backed team are now level on 22 points with Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) – the Dutch crew officially ranked second because of their superior record in the in-port series, which breaks ties.
All three teams admitted their infringements in the hearing, but said in mitigation that there had been confusion over how clearly the TSS zones had been marked and the angle the boats were allowed to sail within them.
The jury was earlier given evidence from Race Director, Jack Lloyd, who said that the offences took place early in the 2,800-nautical mile (nm) leg from Newport, Rhode Island, to Lisbon, which started on May 17.
Volvo Race positions after the penalties
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 16 pts
2. Team Brunel 22 pts
3. Dongfeng Race Team 22 pts
4. Team Alvimedica 27 pts
5. MAPFRE 27 pts
6. Team SCA 43 pts
7. Team Vestas Wind 52 pts
Despite the decisions, the race is a long way from being decided.
With the comeback of Team Vestas Wind (Chris Nicholson/AUS) to the fleet returning it to full-strength for Leg 8 to Lorient, France, the chasing teams still have the chance to cut drastically Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s lead before the final showdown to Gothenburg.
The Leg 8,647 nm between Lisbon and Lorient, begins on Sunday, June 7.
more info ……….volvooceanrace.com