The RYA Tribunal met on February 9, 2012 to consider a report dated 14 December 2011 received pursuant to the Racing Rules of Sailing Rule 69.1(c) from the International Jury at the ISAF Sailing World Championships held in Perth in December 2011.
The Tribunal agreed with the decision of the International Jury that the behaviour of Ben Ainslie amounted to a gross breach of good manners and conduct that brought the sport into disrepute.
Having considered all the evidence put before it, the Tribunal was satisfied that it would not be appropriate for the Tribunal to impose a penalty over and above that imposed by the International Jury at the event.
In reaching its decision the Tribunal acknowledged that the effect of the penalty imposed by the International Jury was to deny Ainslie the possibility of taking part in the medal race for the event.
The Tribunal also recognised that there was an apparent lack of active management of media boats at this and previous events leading to repeated infringements of the provisions of the event media boat guidelines. In addition, formal rights of redress against official boats were not available to competitors.
The Tribunal noted that it had had an opportunity to view evidence that was not available to the International Jury during the hearing at the event.
The RYA, as the ISAF Member National Authority for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, has jurisdiction under Rule 69.2 to take action in response to reports made to it under Rule 69.1 relating to British sailors and the Council of the RYA has delegated its authority in such matters to the RYA Tribunal.
In reaction to the announcement, Ben Ainslie said: “I welcome the RYA Tribunal’s decision and am looking forward to fully focussing on my Olympic preparations. I deeply regret the incident, but would like to thank all the governing bodies involved for their thorough investigation.”
Skandia Team GBR manager Stephen Park said: “The Tribunal report will now go to ISAF as is standard practice, but from a Skandia Team GBR perspective we’re all keen to take on board lessons learned and put the matter to bed. As we have said from the outset, it’s regrettable that the incident occurred in the first place, but we’re grateful that the Tribunal recognised the mitigating factors and are relieved to be able to now move on and focus on the task of preparing for Ben’s bid for a fourth Olympic gold this summer.
“We’re grateful for the support and openness of all parties involved as we all try and take the opportunity to learn from the incident and improve future interactions as sailing looks to enhance its media exposure and accessibility.”