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Aarhus: Jury lowers the Rule 69 boom on Iker Martínez (ESP) for illegal alteration of his Nacra 17 d


AARHUS, DEN (#1082) – On this week's Tuesdays with TFE webcast we reported that during measurement for the combined World Sailing Championships for Olympic Classes now taking place in Aarhus, the Nacra 17 of celebrated Spanish sailor Iker Martínez de Lizarduy was found to be illegal. Specifically, the strict one-design manufacture (for all boats) of the the dagger foil mechanism had been altered to allow "an additional 4-5mm bearing move [that] amounts to 40-50mm at the tip of the daggerboard, which will improve the performance at slow speed."

"At slow speed" means "in light winds" – widely expected to be the norm in Aarhus, and which has in fact been the case. The alteration to the daggerboards allowed them to be canted with a lower angle of attack, hence less drag.

As a result, the jury penalized Sr. Martínez with a DNE for the first race (a DNE is a DSQ that is not excludable; in other words, cannot be used as a throw-out race). Subsequently, the organizing authority rejected his entry – meaning he could not compete in the regatta even if he still wanted to. But wait, there's more....

The jury also initiated a Rule 69 case against Sr Martínez for "misconduct." Under the Racing Rules of Sailing, misconduct is defined as "a breach of good manners, a breach of good sportsmanship, or unethical behaviour; or conduct that may bring the sport into disrepute."

A Rule 69 hearing was called for midday yesterday (Wednesday), and the decision was issued just after midnight this morning in Aarhus. In short, the decisions states:

The international jury is comfortably satisfied, bearing in mind the seriousness of the alleged misconduct, that Mr. Iker Martinez deliberately modified ESP 70 in breach of the class rules and he concealed the modification. Thereby, Mr. Iker Martinez committed a breach of good sportsmanship contrary to RRS 69.1(a).

The International Jury excludes Mr. Iker Martinez from the venue of the event from Thursday, August 9 at noon, and directs the organizing authority to revoke his accreditation from that point in time. Since Mr. Iker Martinez’s entry was rejected by the organizing authority before he sailed any races in the event, the International Jury cannot impose scoring penalties.

This decision will be reported to World Sailing under RRS 69.2(j)(2) and WS Regulation 35.4.7.

The jury's decision also found that Mr Martínez had "not told the truth" to regatta officials including the jury in the original measurement protest hearing.

Indeed the jury's Rule 69 decision confirms the "one hears" that your Ed. reported on Tuesday – that following the original measurement protest and DNE penalty to Mr Martínez (and rejection of his entry), that he had removed his yacht from the venue (to the team's hotel), but that the jury ordered the yacht to be returned to venue for further inspection. According to the Rule 69 decision:

On August 6, 2018 ESP 70 was inspected further by the Technical Committee. This showed that in the aft side of the port side hull recess, the original holes that were in the position defined by the building specification had been filled, and new holes had been drilled further aft. Sikaflex had been applied over the holes concealing the modification.

Mr Martinez was the 2004 gold medalist in the 49er Class, won silver in the 49er in 2008, was the 2011 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year (worldwide), and skippered entries in the VOR in the 2011-12 edition (TELEFONICA) and in 2014-15 (MAPFRE).

According to Sail-World.com's NZL editor Richard Gladwell, "In the 2014/15 Volvo Ocean Race Martinez was given a two-point penalty by the International Jury for altering the Volvo 65 MAPFRE at sea after running into severe weather conditions. It was claimed as skipper he hadn't received permission to make the repair. Martinez took the view that the repair was urgent and essential and while he had tried to get permission had not had a response and proceeded anyway."

Read Richard's write-up of the measurement protest in Aarhus against Sr. Martínez, including the full decision, here.

The Rule 69 matter now goes before World Sailing's disciplinary body where it is possible Sr. Martínez will be subject to further penalties, including possible exclusion from participation in the sport for some period of time – months or possibly a year or more.

We will have more on all this during our "TGIF with TFE" live webcast tomorrow (Friday) that airs on our Sailing Illustrated Facebook page at 1300 PDT / 2200 CET.

Given the seriousness of this incident and the stature of the sailor involved, we reprint today's Rule 69 decision in it's entirety here:

Case 061

1. On August 8, 2018, the International Jury heard case o61 submitted by the EDIO of the Aarhus 2018 World Championships against Mr. Iker Martinez for misconduct.

Procedural Comments

2. The EDIO was Alastair Fox, appointed by World Sailing, who was advised by Jon Napier.

3. At the hearing, Mr. Iker Martinez was accompanied by Antonio Otero (representative) and Asier Fernandez (advisor).

4. At the beginning of the hearing and after it had been adjourned, Mr. Iker Martinez asserted on procedure that the International Jury:

I. Does not have jurisdiction over Mr. Iker Martinez because he was not entered in the event.

II. Has not given Mr. Iker Martinez opportunity to find a professional legal interpreter.

III. Has not given Mr. Iker Martinez enough time to prepare.

5. Concerning I: The International Jury was appointed for the event by World Sailing. The event is governed by the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS). Mr. Iker Martinez tried to enter the event and initiated the process of entering the World Championships as a competitor and completed all required steps up to passing the equipment inspection. Thus he clearly intended to participate in the event and thereby agreed to accept the RRS, cf. RRS 3.1(a). The reason why he did not race was that his entry was rejected by the organizing authority, when his boat did not pass the equipment inspection on Sunday, August 5 before 14:30. Therefore, the International Jury has jurisdiction over this matter.

6. Concerning II: At the beginning of the hearing, Mr. Iker Martinez requested an interpreter. Although it is not the responsibility of the International Jury to provide interpretation, and Mr. Iker Martinez had the opportunity to contact a local interpreter, the International Jury offered another jury member as interpreter. Mr. Iker Martinez did not object until after the hearing was reconvened, and continued to use the interpreter thereafter.

7. Concerning III: Reasons for not giving additional time to prepare:

1. The alleged misconduct occurred before the first race of the World Championship.

2. The first Notice of Charge dated August 5 was sent at 22:58.

3. During the hearing on August 6 starting at 12:00 Mr. Iker Martinez requested

additional time to prepare and he was granted 48 hours.

4. Mr. Iker Martinez received the second Notice of Charge on 7 August at 16:08.

5. The hearing was reconvened on 8 August at 12:00.

6. At the request of Mr. Iker Martinez, the