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Beluga disqualified from Vegvisir Race Nyborg 2022

Updated: Sep 7, 2022

Anders Johansen in Beluga cheered at the finish line at the Garmin Round Denmark Race 2022. After the Vegvisir Race, the arms have come down. Anders Johansen calls the jury frivolous - he himself, however, missed the rounding of the course's only mandatory mark.

This blog post is a journalistic take on Race Management's decision to disqualify Beluga

The Vegvisir Race Office has announced on 6 September that Beluga skipper Anders Johansen has not sailed the 238 nautical mile course, as he chose to round E26 instead of the course's only mandatory mark E25A, which is why he is disqualified.

Vegvisir Race Management has rightly received general criticism for poor communication in connection with the two shortenings of the 238 nautical mile course.

- We have learned from our mistakes and already now you can see the first consequences of this, as we have meticulously gone through everything from skipper's meetings to mark-roundings with the aim of finding mistakes, shortcomings and inaccuracies so that we can do better in the future, says Carsten Berntsen from Nyborg Sailing association.

- We take the criticism seriously. We've been saying that since last Saturday, when we actually started getting input from the participants. I can promise that the Sailing Guidelines will be completely clear in 2023, among other things regarding shortening, says Morten Brandt.

Brings in Christian Lerche

A single sailor, Anders Johansen, chose to take his criticism a step further than the quayside in Nyborg. Most notable by involving Danish Sailing Association director Christian Lerche, who, among other things, replies that he will not participate in taking a position in the specific case.

Anders Johansen and co-skipper participated in the boat Beluga in the Medium category. He crossed the finish line as the front boat in the category ahead of competitor Lightworks. Even so, Beluga finished in 2nd place as Lightworks was compensated by 45 minutes. You can read why Lightworks received the compensation by clicking below. It is on the basis of the decision to compensate Lightworks that Anders Johansen raises criticism of Vegvisir Race.

Publish criticism on fan page

The email involving the Danish Sailing Association was also published on the Facebook fan page of Beluga Sailing. Here he criticizes the Vegvisir Race organization for, among other things, being frivolous, indecent and unprofessional. Anders Johansen is trying to further criticize Nyborg Sailing Association's credibility because of the fact, that the club that is co-organizers of the Vegvisir Race Nyborg 2022. The criticism goes to the aforementioned jury decision, which cost Anders Johansen first place. According to Anders Johansen, the decision represents the opposite of "everything that the Danish Sailing Union stands for in relation to FairPlay and good seamanship".

“If in the process of winning you have lost the respect for your competitors you have won nothing,” Paul Elvstrøm.

Sailed down below the horizon

In terms of FairPlay, it seems unlikely that anyone will hail a winner who has been sailed 8.5 nautical miles astern by another crew in exactly the same type of boat. That Beluga was initially able to stand as the winner seven minutes ahead of Lightworks was only due to the leading boat missing the mentioned course shortening due to poor communication partly caused by imprecise wording in the Sailing Guidelines. And not to forget because Beluga saved a minimum of 2X0.6 nautical miles by rounding E26 instead of E25A.

After an inquiry from a participant, Race Management's attention was directed to the mark rounding of E25A. Here it appears that Lightworks is 8.4 nautical miles ahead of Beluga when the boat reaches E25A, where it should have turned towards Nyborg, but instead continued towards Romsø. In addition, it is clear from the tracking from tractrac and from AIS data from Vesselfinder that Beluga rounds E26 and does not sail the last 0.6 nautical miles (1.1 km) north on to the mark E25A.

Since the course is thus not completed, Race Management chooses to disqualify Beluga.

You can read the reason for the disqualification here.

The two buoys in focus: E25A at the top approx. 0.6 nautical miles (1.1 km) further south is the visually identical E26. In the Navionics chart app, E25A's position is: 55.22 338N; 11.2757E. Whereas E26 is positioned on 55.21.723N;11.2.772E.

Vesselfinder's AIS data shows the point where Beluga changes course. The position is show right above above the "Louis poulsen" advertisement: 55.21.741 N and 11.03.727 E.

Vegvisir Race is an event that celebrates fairness, sportsmanship and good seamanship. This is shown, among other things, by the fact that sailing is carried out according to the rules of the sea, and that the participants in their mindset are competitors and colleagues, as they can be the first to rescue if an accident should occur. Therefore, the legendary Paul Elvstrøm's words above apply as a guideline for the competitors in the Vegvisir Race

Image from tractrac's race viewer shows the nearest boats and how Beluga swings west over 0.6 nautical miles south of the E25A, while Kaha has rounded E25A and is heading south-west towards Nyborg.

Raw data from tractrac shows the plotted positions with time stamps - there are no outages, but a complete and thus 100% valid tracking.

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