Pindar's momentary engine use to free kelp from her rudder has been protested by the Global Challenge Race Committee

The Global Challenge Race Committee yesterday (Thursday 31 March) announced its intention to protest Pindar for using engine in reverse to remove kelp from their rudder.

The committee states: “for a breach of RRS [Racing Rules for Sailing] 42.1 following notification, under General Sailing Instruction 20, of the use of their engine in reverse gear at 1530 (local time) on the 27 March 2005.”

Pindar was at position 44.39S 50.33E when the incident occurred, in 17 to 18 knots of headwind. After a report of a sluggish helm, kelp was found to be trailing under the transom. Assuming the rudder was fouled, Pindar was brought hove-to and the crew attempted to dislodge the kelp using the boat hook.

In the heat of the moment the engine was engaged for approximately one to three minutes in reverse gear only. This time, again using the boat hook, a large pile of kelp was freed.

The crew then recognised in hindsight, this action may be regarded as a breach of RRS Rule 42.1 and immediately notified the race committee. In accordance with the Sailing Instructions, they will present a full written report to the Race Committee within 24 hours of the leg finish.

The Protest Hearing will take place on 14 April at the Royal Cape Yacht Club in Cape Town. The International Jury, appointed by ISAF, will hear Pindar’s case along with any other protests lodged within 24 hours of each yacht crossing the finish line and award any penalties if deemed necessary.

In race news, Imagine It. Done have stretched their lead to 12 miles ahead of Spirit of Sark. Variable wind conditions have given way to steady winds from the west and the Global Challenge fleet are setting their sights to arrive in Cape Town in the next week.