SailGP’s chief umpire Craig Mitchell has given his penalty rundown of all the racing action at the ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix in Copenhagen.
A total 25 protests were lodged across the day of racing, resulting in 10 penalties. Four of these were boundary penalties, which punish teams for straying outside of course limits, while six were Part Two (boat on boat) penalties.
The fleet raced cleanly across the four-race format, Mitchell said, resulting in ‘only a couple of incidents’ and the ‘usual’ number of boundary penalties. ‘No affect penalties’ - penalties which are cleared almost as soon as they are issued - were also prevalent.
AUS v FRA
Of the six Part 2 penalties, which are handed out for close incidents between boats, three were handed to Australia as Tom Slingsby’s crew went head to head with the French in a battle for the Final.
In race 3, two of these happened in quick succession, with Australia lodging a protest that France hadn’t given sufficient room at the boundary just after Gate 3. But this was dismissed by the umpires - ‘the French were ahead and there was plenty of room,’ Mitchell says. However, the French strayed out of bounds meaning they had to loose 20m. This set up a tussle between the two teams all the way to Gate 4. In the ensuing duel, the Australians fell off the foils, almost immediately clearing the penalty they were given for not keeping clear of France. By the time the Australians were back up to speed, they were on course for a close cross with the Kiwis.
“Australia turned late in front of the Kiwis and then just didn’t move when New Zealand gained the outside overlap,”Mitchell said. The result was a penalty for not keeping clear, which was cleared quickly. “It put a bit of a fluster on the Australians - they rounded the mark very slowly and then the Danes came up from behind and pushed them up - everyone was beating up the Australians in that race,” Mitchell said.
The Australians and French had another altercation on the finish line of the first fleet race, where France effectively ‘shoved the Australians outside the boundary’, Mitchell says. The French were handed a penalty, but had no way to take it before they crossed the line. Canada saw an opportunity and swept in front of Australia to claim fourth place. The result saw a time penalty of five seconds handed to the French, leaving the team in sixth behind both Canada and Australia.
DEN v FRA
In the Final, it was the French who won a crucial penalty against the Danish. "Denmark tried to press over the top of the French boat at Gate 3 but the French got their elbows out,” Mitchell explains. “The windward boat - Denmark - was handed a penalty, but in the ensuing action they dropped off the foils resulting in France scampering away to second place overall."
Elsewhere, it was smooth sailing, with only two boundary penalties recorded in the second fleet race. Mitchell commended Peter Burling’s New Zealand crew for ‘sailing clean and fast across all four races’. “It was pretty impressive feat to win four straight races in a regatta and six if you count the last two races from Plymouth,” he said.