The aggressive match racing of Cádiz resulted in a total of 12 penalties - with 6 of the 8 boat on boat penalties distributed before the gun had even been fired.
Close racing produced 33 protests, resulting in 4 boundary penalties and 8 Part 2 (boat on boat) penalties, while no early start penalties were recorded.
One key boat-on-boat incident unfolded at the last mark of the first fleet race between Canada, Emirates GBR and France. Canada was on port tack on the inside at the mark, while France and Emirates GBR were approaching on starboard. This meant both the French and British were required to give room to Canada.
“France was foiling in from astern and overlapped Emirates GBR, then turned up quickly which resulted in all three boats being squeezed together,” said chief umpire Craig Mitchell.
France gained the inside overlap on Emirates GBR and then overtook Canada, crossing the line in 7th, but was promptly penalized for not giving GBR room to keep clear when France luffed them during the incident - a decision the umpires deemed incorrect in retrospect.
“On review, we think we got it wrong and they should not have been given a penalty,” he said. “The incident created some lengthy discussion in the umpire team on incidents between multiple boats at marks and ways that we can improve our process to get to the right answers.”
Elsewhere, the rumbling feud between Spain and Canada - ignited by a collision in Saint-Tropez - was revived in Cadiz. Approaching the right turn on starboard, Canada had the right of way. But indecision by the Spanish on which way to turn to give Canada room saw them end up between Canada and the mark - with the Spanish F50 hitting the mark in efforts to avoid hitting Canada.
While hitting a mark in itself doesn’t result in a penalty, Diego Botin’s team was penalized on the water for preventing Canada from sailing their fastest course around the mark and also received 4 penalty points for causing minor damage to their F50. “This was a big error and hurt their event score badly, without which they would have finished the event 5th, one place ahead of Canada,” Mitchell said.
Elsewhere, an argument broke out between the Kiwi and British teams after an incident at the end of the 5th fleet race saw New Zealand miss out on a place in the three-boat Final.
After getting ahead of the Americans in an effort to reach the finish line first, the Kiwis turned right in front of the British boat, which was heading upwind. With not enough speed to turn away, New Zealand was trapped by Ainslie’s crew and penalized following its own protest.
“New Zealand must have been focused so hard on their race with the USA that they didn’t see Emirates GBR heading upwind,” Mitchell said .”New Zealand was parked and couldn’t dive out of the way quick enough before Emirates GBR sliced by - ironically it was New Zealand that pressed the protest button and copped the penalty, followed by a wordy exchange between the boats.”