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Clarisse Cremer Exonerated

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  • Clarisse Cremer Exonerated








    March 4th, 2024



    "On 12th February this year, the President of the French Sailing Federation informed me of the anonymous e-mail he had just received implicating Clarisse Cremer, who had allegedly benefited from routing information from her husband Tanguy Le Turquais during the 2020-2021 Vendee Globe.

    Since then, the French Sailing Federation has asked me and the Race Committee to appoint a Jury to analyse the veracity of the information and its content.

    The International Jury is entirely convinced that there was no misconduct on the part of either Clarisse Cremer or Tanguy Le Turquais and you will understand that it is not for me to make any comment whatsoever on a decision taken by the federal sporting authority.
    I therefore take note of these conclusions, which were reached in complete independence.”

    Alain Leboeuf - President of the Vendee Globe


    JURY’S DECISION
    VENDEE GLOBE 2020 cas n?10
    Hearing under Rule 69.2 of the Racing Rules of Sailing on Saturday 2nd March, starting at 11:00
    RESPONDENTS:
    Clarisse Cremer, skipper of Banque Populaire in the Vendee Globe 2020-21.
    Tanguy le Turquais, support person to Banque Populaire in that event.

    PROCEDURAL MATTERS
    Parties have chosen as representative and advisor :
    - Alan Roberts
    - Pauline Daraux
    Witnesses presented by the parties :
    - Christian Dumard routing expert and weather advisor to the Race Management for the Vendee Globe 2020
    - Jacques Caraes Head of race management of Vend?e Globe 2020
    Translator FRA/GBR : Tom Grainger
    The allegations of misconduct are serious, and relate to the principle of the race, namely a solo race without outside help.

    The Organizing Authority that appointed this International Jury according to Rule 69.2(k) to decide whether to call a hearing had actively sought that this hearing takes place.

    Rule 69 does not include any time limit for calling a hearing. Rule 69.2(e) requires that a hearing under rule 69 complies with several rules in Part 5 of the Racing Rules related to protests and requests for redress. No rule related to time limits is stated to apply.

    In this case, the evidence of pictures of WhatsApp messages is just as valid today as it would have been during the 2020-2021 race if it had emerged then. The passage of time has not diminished its significance.

    The identity of the person who released the pictures is not known.The pictures' metadata has been removed. There is no other evidence. That does not not prevent a hearing under rule 69 to be called, based on what they contain, and information ‘any source’ can be considered. The same could happen as a result of unattributed press or TV content. The International Jury was therefore satisfied that it is proper that this hearing takes place.

    The International Jury then has to decide whether it is 'comfortably satisfied' that (a) the evidence is genuine, and, if so, (b) that there was misconduct. If not, the allegations are dismissed. In this case, no further investigation into the status of the pictures was needed, as the parties themselves subsequently confirmed in a press release that the pictures are of WhatsApp conversations between them. The question for the hearings was then whether there was misconduct by either party.






    FACTS FOUND

    The main evidence examined, discussed, and questioned were 14 screenshots of WhatsApp messages between Clarisse and Tanguy, from an unknown source, presumably some of many such messages as part of the permitted communication between Clarisse and Tanguy during the race, using the boat’s phone and Tanguy’s own phone.

    Five pictures included examples of route images generated by Tanguy. This concerned very different parts of the race (passage of the Theta low pressure, approach to Cape Horn, return passage of the equator and finish). The International Jury accepts that Tanguy was trying to understand Clarisse’s intentions, for his own reassurance for her safety (as husband) and in order to answer media and family questions. The routes did not include any detailed information about wind, wave states, time and course options that Clarisse could adapt for her own use for routing.

    Two pictures related to Clarisse having a problem with her AIS, and wishing to check whether she was visible on the Marine-traffic website.

    The final pictures relate to Clarisse’s projected finish, in relation to severe weather conditions. This was an issue raised by Race Management, which was providing competitors with advice and weather information and encouraging them to co-ordinate their plans with their teams. For this reason, a WhatsApp group was created with the race management, the boat, the shore team and the weather consultant. The timing of her finish was also a relevant issue for the media and for personal arrangements. Her boat was several hours behind the previous finisher and several hours on front of the next boat.

    Clarisse’s weather models used with the routing program was more sophisticated than Tanguy’s, and she was using it for many hours every day.

    RULES AND CONCLUSIONS

    Notice of Race (NoR) 4.3.2: Routing Definition
    The screenshots do not demonstrate that “routing” took place as defined in the article.
    Clarisse did not ask for routing advice from Tanguy. She never followed any of the screenshots from Tanguy. They were not useful information for her. She was always in possession of better information and had the time to work on her plans.

    NoR 4.3.3 Performance Support
    The screenshots do not demonstrate that Clarisse received performance support as described in the article.

    NoR 6.4.5: Monitoring the Fleet, Exceptional Circumstances.

    The Race Management team applied the NoR article Exceptional Circumstances at the end of the race for Banque Populaire, due to safety concerns due to high winds and exceptional weather, to ensure safety of the competitor and her boat. This included permitting conversations and options for Banque Populaire’s finish.

    Clarisse did ask Tanguy’s opinion about her finishing route intentions, but that was for safety, and included the possibility of deliberately slowing, to avoid low tides or a night-time arrival given the bad weather. These were issues to which Race Management had alerted all competitors and shore teams of boats likely to be affected. She therefore did not receive outside help.

    Tanguy had sent several course options to Clarisse, on his own initiative. The International Jury feels that this was not a wise or necessary thing to do, but accepts that his intention was to get clarification of Clarisse’s plans rather than to advise her what to do.

    DECISIONS
    Rule 69, Misconduct – The International Jury is completely satisfied that was no misconduct by either Clarisse Cremer or Tanguy Le Turquais.

    The allegation of misconduct by Clarisse Cremer is dismissed.

    The allegation of misconduct by Tanguy Le Turquais is dismissed.
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