Case 82
Definitions, Finish
Rule 62.1(a), Redress
When a finishing line is laid so nearly in line with the last leg that it cannot be determined which is the correct way to cross it in order to finish according to the definition, a boat may cross the line in either direction and her finish is to be recorded accordingly.
At the finish of a race boat A crossed the finishing line from the side of the line that she believed was the course side, leaving mark F to starboard. She recorded the time she crossed the line. The race officer did not record her as having finished and did not make a sound signal. Hearing no sound signal, A sailed the track shown in the diagram and finally crossed the line leaving mark F to port, at which time the race officer recorded her as having finished and made a sound signal. A requested redress, asking that the time she recorded at her first crossing be used as her finishing time.

The protest committee found as a fact that the committee boat was swinging back and forth across a line parallel to the last leg, but believed that the race officer was watching closely to determine the correct direction for each boat to cross the line. Redress under rule 62.1(a) was denied and A appealed.
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A's appeal is upheld. Positioning the finishing line marks so that boats cannot easily determine in which direction they should cross the finishing line is an improper action on the part of the race committee. When a boat cannot reasonably ascertain in which direction she should cross the finishing line so as to conform to the definition Finish, she is entitled to finish in either direction. A is therefore entitled to redress under rule 62.1(a). She is to be given her finishing place calculated from the time she herself recorded when she crossed the line for the first time.

(Note that no racing rule requires the race committee to make a sound signal when a boat finishes. Such a signal is a courtesy to reassure a boat that her finish has been recorded.)

GBR 1992/1
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