French quit CMAC after rating row over controversial 50-footer rig

The French Champagne Mumm Admiral’s Cup team shocked the racing world by pulling out of the competition on the eve of the event following a rating row over their innovative IMS 50-footer Krazy Kyote Two which steps an unstayed mast. CMAC teams were reduced to eight losing one of the event’s greatest supporters and most talented team of sailors.

In an interview with Yachting World, Stephane Kandler, son of the yacht’s owner, accused Nicola Sironi, chief measurer of the Offshore Racing Council, which administers the International Measurement System rule, of “playing God” when their rating certificate was withdrawn and a new one with a less advantageous rating issued in the space of two days. The new rating was meant to take into account the reduced windage resulting from the yacht’s unusual unstayed mast, but the French felt there was no way the measurer could make an alteration without any form on the race course to assess.

Kandler also claimed that the change to the rating, which effectively penalised the boat by a further seven seconds an hour “couldn’t have been calculated on a rational basis”.

But Kandler also admitted that the French “had not read the rule” and Rule 101 clearly states that the Offshore Racing Council can issue a rating which it considers appropriate in the case of innovation in design and construction. Clearly the ORC felt that Krazy’s mast was innovative and a decision to change the provisional rating from 5036.6 to 5029.6 was then made.

In an earlier press release from the CMAC office it was stated that the new certificate had been prepared by Nicola Sironi and Andy Claughton of the Southampton Institute using the IMS’s computer model which normally produces the rating from measured figures.

But Stephane Kandler said that the situation proved that “the rule can be governed by one person” and this was simply not acceptable to the French team who at 1730 today effectively packed their bags and left Cowes.

Ortwin Kandler has spent a reported $2 million and three years developing his yacht for the regatta and many observers and fellow competitoirs in CMAC saw Krazy Kyote Two’s appearance as a refreshing change. It typifyied French flair and was a triumph for her young designer Juan Kouyoumdjian.

But speculation had already appeared in the specialist sailing press that the idea of such a mast might be outlawed and while the change in rating doesn’t mean a ban, the penalty posts a clear message that innovation on such a scale is unwelcome at this level and the rule is designed as such.

But Kandler still insists that the rule is unfair and that the time has come to find an alternative.

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