Sailing: Compensation puts Winston into second: Protests over jury's award

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BRAD BUTTERWORTH could scarcely conceal his delight yesterday as Marcel Leeman, chairman of the international jury, told him he had been awarded a time compensation of 21 hours and 28 minutes for taking rescue action in the second leg of the Whitbread Round the World Race.

The decision provoked protests as it moved Butterworth's yacht, Winston, into second place not just for the leg from Uruguay to Australia, but overall when the times for the first two legs are combined.

Leeman awarded the French maxi, La Poste, 71hr 33min for turning back and standing by the damaged Italian yacht, Brooksfield.

Reaction to Winston's award, apart from a statesman-like acceptance by the race leader, Chris Dickson, ranged from the incredulous to the furious.

Ross Field, skipper of Yamaha, said he was consulting his lawyers because he felt his yacht, Yamaha, had been materially prejudiced. Galicia's skipper, Javier de la Gandara, indicated he would lodge an official protest and Lawrie Smith, skipper of Intrum Justitia, who won the second leg, was considering his position.

After saying that the award was a farce, Smith's official statement said: 'The jury could be deciding the outcome of the whole race. We were 250 miles ahead of Winston when they turned back, and do not believe they could have narrowed this difference to just a minute. We do not mind the jury being generous, but this is ridiculous.'

Butterworth would have liked even more. 'They did not give us what we asked for (25hr 47min) but they have come up with the best they can,' he said, repeating that he had not wanted to see his position as fifth W60 to finish the leg changed in the record books.

The award makes him just 1min 7sec slower for the leg than the winner, Smith. And it puts him ahead of Smith by nearly three hours, in second place behind Dickson, on combined times for legs one and two.

Dickson's combined time is 50 days 3hr 7min and 57sec. Winston is second with 50:14:29:58. Grant Dalton, who welcomed the jury's policy of rewarding those who take rescue action, leads the maxi class with 50:06:16:25, followed by Merit Cup, with 50:12:53:13, and La Poste, now with 51:23:00:07.

WHITBREAD ROUND THE WORLD RACE (Amended overall standings after two legs): W60 class: 1 Tokio 50 days 3hr 7min 57sec; 2 Winston 50:14:29:58; 3 Intrum Justitia 50:17:19:55; 4 Yamaha 50:17:58:13; 5 Galicia Pescanova 50:18:41:01; 6 Brooksfield 56:14:03:59; 7 Women's Challenge 57:20:53:27; 8 Hetman Sahaidachny 58:01:02:27; 9 Dolphin and Youth still racing; 10 Odessa still racing. Maxi class: 1 New Zealand Endeavour 50:06:16:25; 2 Merit Cup 50:12:53:13; 3 La Poste 51:23:00:07; 4 Uruguay National still racing.