Sailing: Jury's judgement short on appeal

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The Independent Online
Amid threats to remove yachts from the race, criticism of their competence and even talk of civil law cases, the international panel that hears disputes in the Whitbread Race has agreed to meet yet againtoday to consider the award of 21.5 hours to Dennis Conner's Winston for turning back when the Italian yacht Brookfield was in distress during the second leg, writes Stuart Alexander from Fremantle. Challenging the jury are three of the four who originally cried 'too much': Lawrie Smith, who won the leg, New Zealand's Ross Field and Spain's Javier de la Gandara, who also said yesterday he would be writing to the race director, Ian Bailey-Willmot, asking for the present jury, chaired by Belgium's Marcel Leeman, to be sacked. The managers of Smith's Interum Justitia had earlier said that if the jury did not change its decision they would 'seriously consider withdrawing from the 1993-4 Whitbread Round the World Race.' Winston's captain, Brad Butterworth, is keeping well clear, although he thinks he should have been given even more time. He asked for over 26 hours. Even so, he was given a time only 67 seconds slower than the record set by Smith for the 8,000-mile leg from Uruguay, allowing him to jump from fifth to second.