The top offenders and cleanest teams from Season 3 have been revealed, with Jimmy Spithill’s United States taking the title as the most penalized team.
A total of 155 penalties were recorded across the 11-event season, comprising 84 Part 2 (boat on boat) penalties, 15 early start penalties and 56 boundary penalties, which punish teams for straying beyond the course limits.
The Americans picked up a total of 29 penalties across the season, as well as two eight-point event penalties at the Range Rover France Sail Grand Prix and San Francisco Grand Final for causing contact and damage.
This meant the U.S. was docked a total of eight points from its season championship score, without which they would have finished the season with 64 points - just three points behind Canada and Denmark, which finished the season in fifth and sixth place respectively.
Season champions Australia followed the U.S. as the second most offending team, picking up a total of 25 penalties. Australia’s position at the top of the penalty league ‘stood out’ to chief umpire Craig Mitchell as evidence of the team’s ‘high risk, high reward’ racing strategy.
Season runners-up New Zealand also picked up a decent amount of penalties throughout the season - a total of 19.
By contrast. Emirates GBR was the lowest penalized boat in the entire fleet - incurring just nine penalties across the whole season.
Mitchell said this was a direct result of the team’s more conservative racing strategy employed in Season 3.
“After Season 2, Emirates GBR said they wanted to sail lower risk and that really comes out in the numbers,” he said.
When it came to calling for penalties however, season champions Australia was the team most active on the protest button.
Driver Tom Slingsby protested against other teams a total of 83 times - significantly higher than France in second place with 60 protests.
However, Mitchell highlighted that Slingsby’s process is to ‘protest before, during and after an incident to make sure they get the message to the umpires’. “Some teams don’t do that,” he said. “The team does get a message back saying ‘no penalty’ if that’s the decision, but the teams won’t always see it.”
By contrast, Canada protested the least out of the nine-boat fleet, pressing the protest button just 38 times across the 11-event season.