Case 39
Sportsmanship and the Rules
Rule 60.2(a), Right to Protest; Right to Request Redress or Rule 69 Action
A race committee is not required to protest a boat. The primary responsibility for enforcing the rules lies with the competitors.
Throughout a five-race series, A competed with a crew of three. After the last race, B and others jointly protested A, alleging that she had broken a class rule that limited the crew to two. This was the first protest relating to the matter. It was refused because the hulls of the protesting boats were all over 6 metres long, but none of the boats displayed a red flag. This decision was appealed on the grounds that the race committee ought, on its own initiative, to have protested A in all the races.

As provided in rule 63.5, the protest was invalid because no red flag was displayed as required by rule 61.1(a). To uphold this appeal would amount to a conclusion that a race committee ought to know the class rules of each class, and that it then has an obligation to enforce them when members of the class themselves fail to do so. No such obligation is placed on a race committee. Furthermore, rule 60.2(a) is clearly discretionary. As stated in Sportsmanship and the Rules, "Competitors in the sport of sailing are governed by a body of rules that they are expected to follow and enforce." The primary responsibility for enforcing the rules therefore rests with the competitors.

The appeal is dismissed, and the decision of the protest committee is upheld.
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