Malingri case. What happened (and why he is no longer skipper)


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Vittorio Malingri (photo by A. Falcon)

Why is Vittorio Malingri no longer the skipper of the Swan 65 Translated9 leading the round-the-world sailing, stage and crewed Ocean Globe Race? And why was the boat penalized? Here is our reconstruction of this intrigue that has little to do with sports and much to do with hateful and questionable regulations.

The Vittorio Malingri case. What happened to the world tour

The Swan 65 Translated9, of which the famous 62-year-old ocean navigator Vittorio Malingri was skipper, was penalized 72 hours at the end of the second leg of the Ocean Globe Race. The cause is trivial and nothing to do with the sports result. This is an infraction of the regulation that prohibits repairing sails in the sailmaker’s shop, but only on board the boat. Malingri, as skipper, took full responsibility for sending three sails to the sailmaker, as well as failing to notify the jury that he had done so.

This infraction cost Swan 65 Translated9 as many as 72 hours of penalty time (24 hours per sail) to which had been added an additional 100 hours of penalty time for failure to declare the skipper.

In a deft move, Vittorio Malingri took all the blame, claiming that the crew and owner were unaware of the decision to have the sails repaired in the sailmaker’s shop, contravening regulations.

So the jury had to cancel the 100-hour penalty (provided that no further rules of the Notice of Race were violated. If they did, disqualification would come), allowing Translated9 to still remain at the top of the round-the-world leaderboard after two legs. In the face of this, Malingri has resigned as skipper of the Swan 65 Translated9 and to date it is still unclear whether he will continue to be part of the crew as a mere deckhand or not.

To what extent should the “vintage” spirit be preserved?

The affair sparked a very strong controversy over the rules of the regatta organized by Don McIntyre, an around-the-world race in the footsteps of the old Whitbread, raced aboard boats of vintage design and construction, without state-of-the-art instrumentation and with stringent rules to preserve its “romantic” character (and keep budgets lower for participants). But by dint of trying to preserve the romantic spirit, McIntyre may have let the matter get out of hand. There is no doubt that the rule prohibiting taking sails to the sailmaker but allowing sailmakers and repair equipment to be brought aboard the boat has little to do with the oceanic sailing of the 1960s/70s.

Meanwhile, let us review what happened.

Malingri’s “river” post and Translated’s post.

The dust cloud over the “Malingri case” was raised yesterday, when on Team Malingri’s Facebook page the navigator published a lengthy rant announcing his departure as skipper from the round-the-world race, without specifying in detail the cause. A stream-of-consciousness, “Malingrian”-style post in which he implied that, from the very first moment, Translated9 and his team were always, from the beginning of the regatta, “sEight attack and suspect: our rating is fake, we do tricks–every day we talk to someone who doubts that we play fair“. He also said that “we also know about many things that are not regular on many boats, bowsprits, wrong certificates, apparatuses that are not allowed, but we don’t worry about it at all and we mind our own business“.

More sobering is the post that follows on Translated9’s page, which states that Malingri has resigned as skipper and admits that he made an error of judgment and misrepresentation about one of the OGR rules regarding the repair and use of sails.

The discussion rages on the web, everyone wondering what happened and the extent of the penalty, waiting for an official communication from the Ocean Globe Race jury.

The reason for the penalty

Then, with three days to go before the start of the third leg of the race (the one from Auckland to Punta del Este, Uruguay, via the mythical Cape Horn, starting Jan. 14), comes a very long communiqué whose gist is: 72 hours to Translated9 for the repair of the irregular sails, with the additional 100 hours “frozen” following Malingri’s admissions that he acted completely independently and without the crew’s knowledge and his resignation.

Sending sails for repair to the sailmaker is not permitted by the Notice of Race unless specific processes are followed and notice is provided by the crew and permission from the jury.

Then, the penalty detail:

1. Three sails were sent to a sailmaker for inspection and repair. Each sail receives a standard 12-hour penalty. Total 36 hours.

2. Three sails were sent to a sailmaker without permission and registration. Each sail receives an extra 12-hour penalty. Total 36 hours.

What happens now?

With “only” 72 hours of penalty time, Translated9 maintains the first position in the ranking, as it had more than three days of IRC compensated time advantage accumulated in the first two legs over its opponents. He now has about nine hours left and can face the third stage still starting as leader.

Whether with or without Vittorio Malingri on board, we will find out on January 14.

L.O. and E.R.




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