Rule 69 filed against Team Scallywag

4 Dec
I am not sure if it’s because someone at the Volvo Ocean Race read my Open Letter to the VOR last week, or if it’s just a coincidence but the Volvo Ocean Race management have filed what’s called a Rule 69 against Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, their skipper David Witt and navigator Steve Hayles for their stupid  sexist behavior in a video which was posted from the boat during the second leg of the race. 
For those not familiar with Rule 69 it reads as follows:
MisconductA competitor, boat owner or support person shall not commit an act of misconduct. Misconduct is: (1) conduct that is a breach of good manners, a breach of good sportsmanship, or unethical behaviour; or (2) conduct that may bring the sport into disrepute.
My Open Letter was in reference to that video but it was not to call out Witt and Hayles for their behavior. Instead it was to point out that the Volvo Ocean Race management let the video sit on their website for over a week and only took it down after being bombarded with complaints.
The hearing is this Thursday in Cape Town ahead of the third leg start on Sunday. The International Jury are on their way to South Africa to conduct the hearing. To be honest I am not sure what the penalties are but I guess we will find out later this week.
In this current climate where so many women are coming forward with claims of sexual harassment a video like this has no place on the website of an international sporting event like the VOR. Sure back in the “old” days people might have found it funny but those days are long gone and thankfully so.

I hate to get this video any further circulation but I think that it’s important for people to see it and draw their own conclusions so I am including a link here.

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This article was syndicated from Great Circle Sails Blog


  1. Anon

    Brian Hancock, you have been very outspoken on this incident (perhaps the most outspoken), but don’t call out any other examples of this type of behaviour in sailing.

    I also see you were very careful to only imply harrassment, as only Annemieke or others on board can claim there was harrassement. There has not been anything that indicates a harrassment claim has been made. Unfortunately viewers of the video can only be offended (and that is up to them to be offended).

    In the absence of you calling out other examples it makes it difficult to consider you a curcader for equality in saling but perhaps an opportunistic journalist cashing in on recent events across the globe (as you refer to in your article). Or perhaps you have a personal vendetta against Messers Witt and/or Hayles.

    In any case, I hope you will name and shame and call out any unacceptable behaviour in whatever sailing event in the future to demonstrate you are a true crucader and an unbaised journalist.

  2. John Dixon

    For some credibility, I’ve raced on Drum, and stood on the deck of Flyer. But I’m still not blokey, or macho, and that’s where I have a real problem with a lot of sailing circles.

  3. John Dixon

    Seems Volvo Ocean Race have already censored the video.

    I agree with you on everything you’ve said on this issue, and personally, have always found sailing, in some areas, hampered with sexism and laddish behaviour.

    The ‘blokish’ behaviour on Scallywag has done nothing but reinforce my experiences of SO many boats. And I’m a big bloke, with quite a few ocean trips, and decent races, under his belt. But I do feel that yachting can be very ‘male/blokey’. I don’t like it, and have moved away from the sport because of this.

    But I guess I’m not in the majority.

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