Section P
Judging Oceanic and Offshore Races
This chapter provides information and help for judges at offshore and oceanic races. For readability and understanding, it follows the plan of RRS Appendix N describing the duties of the International Jury. The chapter refers to the Protest Committee (PC), although it is often constituted as an International Jury. The chapter takes into account that Oceanic and Offshore racing requires procedures that may vary from the RRS, respecting as closely as possible the basic principle of RRS Part 5 Section B. This chapter does not change RRS Appendix N, but comments on some specific habits at offshore and oceanic races.  
Protest Committee Composition and Organization
Composition and Skills
The International Jury must be constituted as required by Appendix N. To contain cost, the organizing authority may make various arrangements for the jury meetings, including conference calling. 
The majority of members should have great experience as oceanic and offshore sailors, including offshore seamanship, sailing in extreme conditions, heavy weather, and in short-handed races. Knowledge of navigation calculations, tracking systems, electronic charts, GPS and, meteorological analyses is necessary to establish appropriate penalties and redress. If this skill is not within the Protest Committee, an independent expert can be called. The Race Committee, or the race director, may be also provide information and technical help. 
A good knowledge of International Regulations to Prevent the Collision At Sea (IRPCAS), and the World Sailing Offshore Special Regulations (OSR) is also needed. 
A meeting of the full PC prior to the start and finish of the race is recommended. During the race, issues may be resolved remotely, by email, conference call, or other means. All judges must be available for contact throughout the race. 
For continuity in a race that has various legs, it is preferable to keep at least the chairman and one other member of the PC throughout the entire race.  After a leg of the race, local judges may take part in the PC, provided that all the required skills required are maintained. 
Initial meeting
An initial meeting of the full PC is advisable, to organize the communications methods and response within the PC. All members should be familiar with the use of the chosen technology. The aim is to define a policy to reduce misunderstanding, and to ensure confidentiality when discussing discretionary penalties or redress. 

PC members are advised to be familiar with section WSJM - H of this Manual for media contact. Otherwise, at least, a full pre-race briefing with the Organizing Authority, race management, Race Committee and, Technical Committee is necessary, to define and understand the roles and responsibilities of each committee. 
PC members must handle information relating to emergencies, serious accidents or any dangers relating to competitors sensitively. The confidentiality of the information must be safeguarded. The chapter on Crisis Management in the World Sailing Manual for Race Officials, and Appendix E of OSR both provide guidance. 
The PC may, in the interest of transparency, publish its Discretionary Penalty policy in advance 
[Working with the OA, RC, TC] - (note: title added - AG)
As stated in RRS Appendix N1
“the international jury is responsible for hearing and deciding all protests, requests for redress, and all other matters arising under the rules of Part 5. When asked by the organizing authority or the race committee, it shall assist them on any matter directly affecting the fairness of the competition”. 
This last sentence is of major importance. The race management, the race committee, the technical committee and the protest committee should work as a team, each committee having its own responsibility, and collecting useful information from each other. 
A good working relationship among all race officials is essential, especially if they are to work together for an extended period of time. At the same time, it is equally essential that the International Jury maintains its independence and impartiality. 
Pre-race protests on measurement and safety equipment or class requirements must be handled sensitively. Sensitive information about equipment or the race may be involved, and might draw attention from the media. Judges must take extra care to safeguard this information. 
Deciding any matters referred by the OA (RRS Appendix N2.3)
before the race: 
  •  checking the Sailing Instructions for consistency with NoR and class rules, relevance of any national prescriptions, and changes to racing rules 
  •  consultation on race management’s intention, keeping in mind RRS 85, 86, 87, and 88
  •  establishing and publishing any discretionary penalties, or how navigational penalties may be calculated 

during the race: 
  •  extensive consultation may be required at various stages of the race, for safety reasons such as relocating ice gates, or to extend the race, or to shorten it. 
  •  giving advice in relation to the RRS as consultants to the OA, Race Management, or the RC, 

after the race: 
  •  if applicable, financial penalties, misconduct, etc.  
Specific rule changes in SIs
The SIs may make various changes to the racing rules. This list, while not exhaustive, shows many of the issues that typically are addressed in the SIs:  
Examples related to Protest Procedures and Decisions of the PC
  • Modifications to protest procedures in RRS Part 5 in accordance with RRS 86, to establish a different method for conducting hearings 
  •  Check whether RRS 64.1 is changed in the SIs so that the PC may impose a discretionary penalty instead of a DSQ for breaches of specified rules. Typical examples are for rules 28, 29, 31
  •  Discretionary penalties involving navigation and breaches of Part 2 rules should be calculated at the hearing. 
  •  various time limit for sailor to deliver a protest before the race, while racing, after the race 
  •  various time limit for RC, TC, PC, modification of RRS 61
  •  circumstances in which a boat may be eligible for redress if she is stopped or delayed during the race due to actions of a governmental or official body. 
Examples related to Outside Help, RRS 41
  • organizers will frequently prohibit the use of routing and provide or limit access to a common set of weather forecast files to all participants in the race. Check with the Race Management how it is controlled, and if it is reliable. 
  • will the receiving of shore-based technical advice to on-board repairs be permitted or not? 
  • are technical stops permitted or not? 
  • will verbal outside help to resolve medical problems while racing be permitted? 
  • which sort of outside help is permitted. 
Examples related to Safety
  • attending safety briefings before the race 
  •  for safety reason, changing RRS 30 for boats OCS 
  •  changes to rule 44 for penalties for breaches of RRS Part 2 and RRS 31 
  •  scheduled radio session imposed by the race management for safety 
Examples related to Navigation
  • specific prohibited zones, traffic separation schemes (TSS). 
  •  specifications of where and when RRS Part 2 rules apply, and where and when IRPCAS apply between boats racing, keeping in mind that IRPCAS always apply between vessels. 
  •  protected (forbidden) zone for the starting sequence (very often one hour before or more) 
  •  virtual mark (see experimental appendix WP)
  •  whether or not an engine may be used to enter a port in case of  emergency, repairs or medical treatment, subject to report to the RC. 
  •  whether or not the boat is permitting to go into port 
  •  whether or not the boat is permitted to be hauled out in port 
  •  whether or not crew are permitted to go ashore or during technical repairs stops 
  •  whether or not crew may be replaced for medical reasons during a race 
Examples related to Media requirements in the NOR and SI's
  • Attending press and/or opening and price giving ceremonies, prologue races or complying with RRS 80
  •  Radio or video session imposed by the race management for media purpose 
Even though there are specific hearing procedures for offshore and oceanic races, the PC must always protect each party’s right to a defense, irrespective of what hearing procedure is followed. The scheduling of hearings conducted while racing, whether by email or other means, should accommodate sailors for fatigue or weather considerations. Both boats should agree on the time for the hearing.  
PC operating before the start
The full PC should be present on site, if at all possible. 
If any hearings need to be conducted before the start, the PC should be aware that there is no requirement for any party to check the noticeboard. Therefore, if a sailor or support person is called in for a hearing, the notice should be made in writing and delivered to the person himself.  
PC operating during the race, and while racing
After the start, organisers frequently wish to have any protests or requests for redress resolved prior to boats finishing. The timing of conference calls for hearings and decisions must recognize that PC members may be in diverse locations and time zones. The chairman should give enough time to members to answer e-mails, and set a timeline for answers.  
Starting sequence
Protests involving the rules of Part 2 are likely to occur during the starting sequence or around the initial rounding mark. Having members of the PC on the water is helpful. Keep in mind that sailors, especially early in the race, may prefer to concentrate on racing and avoiding traffic rather than take time for a hearing via conference call or writing a complete statement. Depending on weather and their progress, they may be able to respond to email or other written communications later. 
If there is no agreement on the facts of a Part 2 or IRPCAS dispute, it is often better to have a hearing after the finish. An exception could be if there is damage and a request for redress. 
Open sea
Protests of a boat against one or more other boats are infrequent. Protests from the RC, TC and PC are more frequent. 
Protests by the RC often relate to infringements of the IRPCAS, including rule 10 Part B relating to TSS. (Keep in mind that some infringements of the IRPCAS may lead to an appearance in a national maritime high court.) 
A decision can be reached and communicated to all parties involved once a clear majority of PC members are in agreement. A copy shall be sent to all other committees for practical application and information. 
After the finish
Protests are usually limited to those from the RC and TC, in relation to broken seals or lost equipment. 
Range of penalties
In races of extended duration, disqualifying competitors for rules breaches is usually inappropriate. For example, there is no DNE in the Volvo Ocean Rage, the Figaro or the Vendee Globe. 
The longer the race, the more reluctant organizers may be to see a boat disqualified. There is a tendency to rely more on discretionary penalties. 
The use of DPIs should be stated in the SIs, and may vary with the requirements of the OA and the culture of the race. There is as yet no consistent approach to DPI for offshore and ocean racing, but a number of organizers have developed models for addressing penalties. The PC should work with the RC, competitors and organizers to manage expectations. 

The following types of discretionary penalties are common: 
  • Time penalties applied as a percentage of elapsed time (offshore races of relative short duration). 
  • Time penalties in “day / hours / minutes” added to the elapsed time. 
  • Stop penalties, to pass at the same waypoint, after a specified duration. 
  • Stay penalties in port for a minimum period. 
  • Financial penalties for breaches of media obligations. These could also be Standard Penalties to be applied by the OA without a hearing. This needs to be specified in the SIs. 
Requests for redress
This is one of the most difficult parts of the PC’s work at offshore and oceanic races, because giving redress may have a direct impact on results on a one leg regatta. 
  • request for redress for incidents during the starting sequence, resulting from a protest boat to boat, 
  • request by a boat resulting from an alleged improper action of the RC, PC, OA or TC. An example would be the situation where spectator boats hinder a boat, while the OA/is responsible for providing a safe zone, as defined in the SI. 
  • requests for redress for giving, or attempting to give, help to a person or vessel in danger. 

The value of a redress awarded is usually expressed as a reduction of the elapsed time, rather than as corrected time 
In view of media attention, decisions on redress are best taken and published as soon as possible, and if at all possible, before the boats finish. 
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