Second of the repaired BT Challenge yachts leaves New Zealand with something to fight for

Save the Children, the more seriously damaged of the two BT Challenge yachts, left Wellington on Wednesday after repairs were finished. It has been decided that skipper Nick Fenton and his crew will sail for Hobart, where they can stop to refuel and revictual before meeting up with the rest of the fleet in the Bass Strait next week.

For the other 11 crews, the next leg of the race starts from Sydney on Sunday and takes them over 6,000 miles to Cape Town. Their route passes through the Bass Strait, making it possible for Save the Children to slot in and sail in company across the Southern Ocean. Although Fenton’s crew will not be able to compete in the leg, they have an incentive to race against the fleet: the international jury has decided that their performance will be a consideration for redress.

The formula for compensating Save the Children, the wronged party in the collision with Quadstone, for the two legs in which they cannot compete is an interesting balance of technicality, fair treatment and diplomacy. For the moment, there is little on offer for the Sydney leg they have just missed, as the international jury is awarding redress based on their average points in the race so far. Since Save the Children has been last twice in three legs, they can only give her 5 points, which equates to 11th place. They therefore do not move off the bottom of the overall results table. While disapppointing for them it is a fair decision that has the coincidental advantage of not displacing any of the 10 yachts which did race to Sydney.

However, that may yet be changed in their favour. Alan Green, secretary to the jury, says Save the Children’s points for leg 4 ‘could change retrospectively’ if they do better on the forthcoming legs. Better results on the remaining three legs would give them a higher average to count for leg 4 and offers some hope of improving their standing.

Quadstone’s new skipper, Richard Chenery, and his crew are expected to arrive in Sydney tomorrow and will leave in racing mode with the others on Sunday. As they officially retired from the last leg after the collision, the jury has decided to give them 3 points, or one less than they would have got for 12th place.This drops them from 3rd place to 5th place overall.