You are here
Home > Editorial > Clarisse Crémer and Tanguy Le Turquais cleared of misconduct by international jury

Clarisse Crémer and Tanguy Le Turquais cleared of misconduct by international jury

Clarisse Cremer

Yacht Racing Podcast

French yachtswoman Clarisse Crémer and her husband Tanguy Le Turquais have been cleared of anonymous allegations of cheating during the last edition of the Vendée Globe singlehanded non-stop around-the-world race.

The ruling handed down by an international jury convened by the Vendée Globe organisers followed an independent investigation into the couple’s WhatsApp messages while Crémer was participating in the 2020-21 edition of the high profile race in which outside assistance of any kind is strictly prohibited.

The investigation was prompted by an anonymous email received by the President of the French Sailing Federation which included supposedly incriminating images of WhatsApp messages between the married pair sent during the race.

After reviewing these images along with evidence from Crémer and Le Turquais the jury concluded that there had been no misconduct by either party.

UPDATE 1230 Tuesday March 5:

In a statement issued by her L’Occitane en Provence IMOCA team on the day after the jury announcement Crémer confessed to being relieved

“Of course, I am relieved by this decision, and I thank the jury for examining our case with impartiality and professionalism. Now that these challenging moments are behind us, the team and I can get back to work to prepare for the Vendée Globe 2024.”

This sentiment was echoed by the former Vendée Globe skipper and team mentor, Alex Thomson: “We have weathered this storm together as a team. We have always supported Clarisse, standing by her every day. Clarisse is a person of great integrity, and we were all convinced of that, with the jury’s decision serving as proof.”

The jury’s official statement is laid out below.

JURY’S DECISION

VENDEE GLOBE 2020 case n°10

Hearing under Rule 69.2 of the Racing Rules of Sailing on Saturday 2nd March, starting at 11:00

RESPONDENTS:

Clarisse Crémer, skipper of Banque Populaire in the Vendée 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 Vendée Globe 2020
– Jacques Caraes Head of race management of Vendée 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 Horm, 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 MarineTraffic 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 informationfor 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 Crémer or Tanguy Le Turquais.

The allegation of misconduct by Clarisse Crémer is dismissed.

The allegation of misconduct by Tanguy Le Turquais is dismissed.

Top