Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

Invalid Protest. ¿May I have your opinion?

Juan Carlos Soneyra
Nationality: Argentina
Certifications:
  • National Race Officer
  • National Umpire
  • National Judge
Grand Prix 2017
A principal event, held during two consecutive week-ends, for 19 classes in five racing areas.
I was designated RO on Race Area 1 - Laser Class (20 / Standard; 19 / Radial; 10 / 4.7; sucesive starts) - 6 races / 1 excluded score.
SI called for Apendix P enforcement, but there were no juries on the area.
We had had strong winds during the first four races. It was no occasion for kinectic.
Sunday, last racing day. I selected option b) as racecourse, WL4, marks to be left on port. I set the racecourse with the RCB 25 meters death downwind of the leeward mark in prevision of wind rotation to either side.
Race 5 was started with 6/8 knots, flat river. From the beginning of leg 2 the Standard front pack was body pumping. Radials front pack did the same. When each front pack were about to round the leeward mark I shouted them "Stop Pumping". On leg 4 they repeated their pumping so I wrote a list of competitors breaking the rule 42.2 b)(1).
At the finishing line I gave to each competitor in the list a formal oral warning for repeated breaks of rule 42, they were 11 Standards and 4 Radials.
Race 6 was started with 7/9 knots. On leg 2 they continued pumping so I checked them along the full lenght of the leg and when each one was turning the mark I called by sail number and shouted Protest. They were four Standards and three Radials.
Within the protest time limit I wrote and presented the seven protests.
The place and time of the audience were published on the Official Notice Board.
At the begining of the audience the PC found my protest invalid acording to rule 61.1 b), because if a RC intents to protest a boat... it shall inform her after the race within the time limit of rule 61.3.
After a while studing the rules (twenty minutes) I requested a reopening of the audience as permitted by rule 66. It was given.
I argued about my situation in front of the competitors. In this case I was not intenting to protest a boat, I have already protested a boat at the time and place of the incident, so I strongly thought this situation perfectly fits in the last sentence of rule 61.1 b). "In other cases the committee shall inform the boat of its intention to protest as soon as reasonably possible".
My reasoning was not admitted. Invalid Protest.
Created: Tue 04:29

Comments

Paul Zupan
He once won the world series of poker using UNO cards
Nationality: United States of America
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  • Regional Umpire
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Unfortunately this post breaks the Forum guidelines in that we don't re-litigate protest hearings here. However, instead of rejecting this posting, I'd like to hear what people think of any race committee protesting boats in general and for RRS 42 specifically. But please do not drift into discussing the merits of the above protest or the post will be removed.
Created: Tue 05:20
Bill Handley
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
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  • National Judge
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Whenever I am appointed as an event judge I always publish the policy of the PC on the Official Notice Board. Below is the part of the policy relating to protests from the Flying Fifteen Nationals where I was event judge just a few weeks ago. It is up to the RC how they handle this issue but in general terms I think something similar would usually be appropriate. Of course this does not cover Rule 42 as Appendix P had been applied and this was being policed with on the water penalties in the usual way.

The PC will not initiate protests in respect of boat on boat incidents, if the competitors do not want to protest that is up to them. The PC will be available as witnesses to any incident that they observe and that results in a protest. A member of the PC may give evidence even though they are sitting on the Protest Committee – see rule 63.6.

The exceptions to this policy will be where there is an incident that results in injury or serious damage and no valid protest is lodged. In those circumstances the PC may lodge it’s own protest – see rule 60.3(a)(1). Furthermore if the PC observes a boat breaking a rule unobserved by other competitors ( most likely rule 31 touching a mark or rule 28 failing to sail the course) it may lodge a protest -see rule 60.3(a). If that happens, although not required the PC will attempt to inform the boat at the time so that they can take the appropriate penalty but if unable to do so will inform the boat after racing – see rule 61.1(b).

Created: Tue 07:41
David Lees
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
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  • International Umpire
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Whatever the rights and wrongs of what was happening on the water, we are a self-policing sport and it is up to the sailors to protest not the officials. If the event or the class wanted to do something about it, they should have provided members of the jury to be there to act under Appendix P. It is not the job of the Race Officer.
Created: Tue 10:57
Doug Bailey
Nationality: United States of America
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Perhaps one way for the forum to provide clarity without violating the "no re-litigating" rule would be for someone to outline a clearly acceptable procedure for an RO to bring a rule 42 protest againt multiple boats. As a competitor I know what to do - yell "protest" at the time of the incident and fly a flag. When back at the dock wander over to the other guy and chat about it, in case I'm wrong so I don't waste everyone's time. Then get a form and fill it out before end of protest time. For an RO you don't have a flag to wave etc. What else is different for the case of an RO wishing to file a protest?

Created: Tue 11:16
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
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I think Appendix P changes what would be "normal" for an RC. In general, I agree that this is up to competitor-competitor because as has been said, we are a self-policing sport built on a foundation of sportsmanship, fair-play and honor. It seems to me that Appendix P specifically calls upon the RC's, and gives the competitors notice, that for R42 issues that the RC's will step over that line and police R42 violations.

Other than that, I think the only other time an RC should protest another boat (other than contact/damage) is if they witness a boat breaking a rule where other boats can't see the violation .. such as touching a mark. It is often, especially in larger boats, that the boat and its sails obscure competitors' view of a mark-touch .. or a boat so separated from the next competitor .. that the touch can't be decerned. In that case, if it is obvious that the boat is taking advantage of the fact that other competitors couldn't see the violation, I think it would be appropriate for the RC to protest.

I'm a bit of a hard-nose on this topic. If the violation was very obvious that the infringing boat had to have known they broke a rule (i.e crew physically pushing mark off boat as not to get tangled) .. and didn't take their penalty .. I think the RC should also toss Rule 2 in there as well.
Created: Tue 13:13
Bill Handley
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
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Ang - while as usual I would agree with most of what you say I am not so sure about your first paragraph. Appendix P involves the RC only in deciding wind strengths for the flying of flags Oscar and Romeo. P1 makes it clear that all peanalization will be by the PC and not the RC. Whilst Appendix P provides aditional ways in which a boat may be penalized it does not affect the existing rules and a RC may protest a boat for breaking rule 42 in the normal way.
Created: Tue 13:37
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
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Bill .. when I read P1.2 .. it seems to me it's talking sound signals and on-the-water protest notices. It would seem to me that the PC's could easily appoint any on the water crew (helpers on the RC, mark-boat personell,etc) as "observers" and in that way the RC could do a P1.2 protest.

How are you interpreting P1.2 differently?

PS (added after posting) ..

I think maybe I'm seeing your point Bill? .. maybe it's a chicken-n-egg issue. If the PC's appointed those on the water in/with the RC and support as PC "observers" prior to racing, maybe that's one thing. But maybe RC personell can't retroactively be appointed observers (or for that matter .. apoint themselves) after the fact? If that prior appointment didn't officially happen, then it just falls back to an RC's original powers?

Created: Tue 13:42
Warren Nethercote
Nationality: Canada
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  • International Judge
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Appendix P does not preclude a protest by another competitor, or the race committee, for a breach of Rule 42 through a conventional filing, although it is rare (rare? Almost unheard of?) to see it happen, especially since the penalty is likely to be DSQ instead of turns. As noted earlier, 61.1(a) is clear about what a competitor must do to inform the other party; 61.1(b) provides corresponding (but different) requirements for a race committee wishing to protest.

I normally ask the RC to make a posting of intent to protest independent of the schedule of hearings (and it is indeed necessary if the schedule is not posted until after protest time ends), but 61.1(b) does not preclude the race committee informing the competitor orally, as long as it is done 'after the race within the time limit of rule 61.3.' There is no provision for a race committee (technical committee or jury) to inform a competitor of a protest during a race, barring sailing instructiions to that effect (fleet umpiring, for example).

Whether a race committee should protest a competitor is a matter of race committee policy, but if there is no other competitor available to protest I believe it is appropriate for a race committee (or jury) to act.
Created: Tue 15:58
Leo Reise
Nationality: Canada
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  • International Judge
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Interesting discussion

I note many of the posts use the “self-policing” statement as a basis. Sorry folks – refer to Basic Principles – Sportsmanship and the Rules - the rule has two parts. First, competitors “are expected to follow and enforce” the rules, and, when they break a rule to promptly take a penalty. It does not say “take a penalty only if protested”.

Neither of these happen when competitors break rules and protests are not made or penalties not taken – which, of course, means the competitors also broke the Basic Principle rule of our sport.

A passive official has accepted that competitors my break rules (cheat or bully) without consequence if the other competitors remain silent or do nothing.

As officials, are we not obligated to enforce the rules? Search “duties of a sports officials” and the first two duties listed are:

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Officiate at sporting events, games, or competitions, to maintain standards of play and to ensure that game rules are observed.

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Signal participants or other officials to make them aware of infractions or to otherwise regulate play or competition.

I have asked the question many times of my fellow officials – “Have you ever observed a race where you did not see at least one clear infraction of the rules of Part 2 and neither boat protested nor took a penalty?” I have yet to find an official who has said yes.

The self-policing argument dies!

Created: Tue 17:31
Bill Handley
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
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  • National Judge
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Ang

The key thing is that the RC can't appoint anyone - P1.1 states that observers must be appointed by the PC.There is no maybe about it, this can't be retrospective as the observers would have to be kitted out with yellow flags and whistle to give penalties at the time. I suppose technically that the PC could appoint members of the RC afloat going about their various duties but I have never heard of this. In practice the observers are usually PC or jury members at every event I have ever judged at.if only for the reason that there must be a clear separation in the eyes of the competitors between the RC and PC.
Created: Tue 17:41
Paul Zupan
He once tried to acquire a cold just to see what it felt like, but it didn’t take
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Here is the language I use as chief judge in a Notice to Competitors:

Protests by the Jury on the Water

The jury will not usually protest for a breach of a rule of Part 2 or Part 3 (Rules 28 & 31) unless they observe an apparent breach of good sportsmanship (RRS 2). Examples of breaches, where the jury will consider protesting, include:

  • deliberately or knowingly breaking a rule without justification for exoneration and not taking the appropriate penalty;
  • intimidating other boats, often evidenced by unnecessary shouting or foul language;
  • team tactics, sailing to benefit another boat to the detriment of your own position;
  • reckless sailing that results in, or is likely to result in, damage or injury;
  • obvious mark touch not followed by taking the appropriate penalty.
My experience has been that most IRO's won't initiate a protest unless it is for damage or injury (or requesting redress). And I wouild discourage a member of the RC from protesting except in exceptional circumstances, which clearly would not include RRS 42. It is impossible for any member of the RC to observe and penalize RRS 42 infractions in a uniform manner which would make it fair to all competitors, and the RC is not in a position to properly observe an infraction except by coincidence, which is certainly not fair to the competitor being penalized. It is a very common phenomon that boats, especially lasers, will break RRS 42 unless there are on-the-water observers. Once one boat starts doing it, the others have to do the same in order to preserve their position. But it is their game and the RC should not feel compelled to get involved. And I would be even more hesitant to enroll any member of the RC in penalizing for RRS 42 under Appendix P as there is an inherent conflict of interest in running the races and being a member of the PC. The PC should not get involved in RC matters and the RC should not be included on the PC. If nothing else, the optics are pretty bad...
Created: Wed 07:20
John Thorne
Nationality: United States of America
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  • Regional Race Officer
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Any member of a race committee who observes a rule violation may protest a competitor in accord with Rule 60.3(a). In particular, this action should be considered when no competitor has indicated that she intends to protest. A primary responsibility of the RC is to ensure fair competition. Based upon my RC experience, such action is rarely necessary but a PRO or other RC member should not hesitate to do so for reasons of fairness or safety. In the case cited above, the writer evidently failed to properly inform the competitors after the race. This doesn't have to be done face to face. An appropriate notice posted on the official notice board prior to the time limit would suffice. A protest that has been filed and posted within the time limit also should satisfy the requirement.

Created: Wed 23:19
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