Section K
The Protest Hearing
Jurisdiction, General Principles, Preparation
The protest committee’s jurisdiction is limited by the rules as defined in the current version of the Racing Rules of Sailing. A boat’s breach of a government, harbor or maritime agency regulation is outside the jurisdiction of the protest committee, unless the requirement for a boat to comply with such a law is included in the notice of race or sailing instructions. 

There are four different types of defined hearings within the rules - protest hearing, redress hearing, a hearing to consider whether a support person has broken a rule, and a misconduct hearing.  Misconduct under rules 2 and 69 is covered in Section N [WSJM - N1] of this manual.  

The rules for the initiation of the other three types of hearings are shown in the following table:

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The rules and procedures for initiating, conducting and deciding these hearings are formally presented in Part 5 of the rulebook. However, there are other types of hearings that are not so specifically defined. For example, a formal hearing may be appropriate when the organizing authority asks the protest committee to decide a question on eligibility or measurement that is not as a result of a protest or request for redress. Under RRS N2, an international jury may be asked to decide a matter that directly affects the fairness of the competition. Such a request may require obtaining evidence from competitors, officials or other participants. In such a case, a formal hearing may be warranted.  

Any hearing should be conducted in a formal but friendly way so the parties feel they had their evidence seriously considered. In a hearing, the protest committee should be polite but always in control. 

Dress by members of the protest committee should be appropriate for the event and its venue. The organizing authority may provide the protest committee with event clothing. If so, it may be appropriate to wear that in hearings to give the impression that the protest committee operates as part of the team. 

Many different room configurations work well. Some chairmen like a round table with the participants alternating with the members of the protest committee. Others feel that at important events, the chairman should sit in the middle of the jury on the side of the table facing the door, with the protest committee members sitting on either side of the chairman. Parties should sit opposite the chairman. When a witness gives evidence, he should sit between the parties. Work with the furniture that is available. 

Do not allow food or beverages in a hearing. No alcohol or smoking should be allowed in the protest room.  All mobile telephones and recording devices must be switched off. 

The chairman should review the case with the other members of the protest committee before the parties enter, so that the protest committee has a general idea of the issues involved. 

The members of the protest committee should be introduced to the parties to the protest. If any member of the protest committee has a conflict of interest, it should be disclosed to the Chairman. Follow RRS 63.4 to determine whether the conflict of interest is significant and whether that member of the protest committee should not be on the hearing panel. 

If a party claims that a member of the protest committee has a conflict of interest, the chairman should ask the reason. Nationality alone does not fit within the definition and is not grounds for excluding a judge. If the protest committee decides that there is an actual conflict of interest, and either it is significant or at least one of the parties rejects the judge based on it, then this judge will not be a member of the protest committee for that hearing. If, during the hearing, a member of the PC feels he or she might have a conflict of interest, the parties should be asked to leave the room while the protest committee decides its significance. The member who is excused from the hearing panel may still may serve as a witness.  

The protest committee members should take an active role in questioning the parties to ensure that sufficient evidence is presented to enable the protest committee to find facts necessary to determine the protest. Ask at the appropriate time without intervening when the parties are asking questions of each other or witnesses, except to seek clarification  

Show extra patience and take extra care to ensure that junior sailors understand the proceedings. Young sailors could be intimidated by the protest committee hearing system.  Try to arrange the room in a friendlier way for them. Explain to them how to do a final summary of their case.  Provide them with a more complete explanation of the decision, if necessary. 

If, for some reason, a protest committee no longer complies with the requirements of Appendix N, the parties should be told that they have the right to appeal before the hearing proceeds. 
Take great care to ensure that competitors who are not fluent in English understand all of the statements and procedures. Constant checks by the chairman are necessary. This can be difficult for a chairman who also needs to be concerned about procedure. It may be necessary to ask one of the protest committee members to pay attention to the individual instead. 

If a competitor speaks enough English to say he has poor English skills, ask him to start the hearing without an interpreter. If he is still having trouble understanding, allow an interpreter to be present. It is often the coach who plays this role. The chairman must ensure that the coach does not provide an unfair advantage to his athlete. Remind the coach that he or she is there as an interpreter, and not as a rules advisor. Protest Committee members should speak slowly and clearly to assist the party in understanding what is being said.  

The chairman should explain that the procedure will permit each party to give his evidence at the appropriate time.  Do not allow the parties to interrupt each other’s statements.  Allow only an interruption by a party or jury member to say he did not understood or did not hear something. 
Right to be Present
The parties to the protest have the right to be present during the hearing and to ask questions of any person giving evidence.  

Definition: Party  A party to a hearing is 
a.  For a protest hearing: a protestor, a protestee;
b.  For a request for redress: a boat requesting redress or for which redress is requested, a race committee acting under rule 60.2(b); a technical committee acting under rule60.4(b) c.   For a request for redress under rule 62.1(a): the body alleged to have made an improper action or omission;
d.  a person against whom an allegation of a breach of rule 69 is made; a person presenting an allegation under rule 69;
e.  a support person subject to a hearing under rule 60.3(d) or 69; any boat that person supports; a person appointed to present an allegation under Rule 60.3(d).

However, the protest committee is never a party.

When a party is absent, the hearing should normally proceed without him unless there are special circumstances for the absence. When a party wishes to attend, but finds the time of the hearing inconvenient, the protest committee must decide to what extent the competitor can be accommodated. The protest committee must also allow the protestee a reasonable time to prepare for the hearing. When at the beginning of a hearing, a party asks for more time to prepare, the protest committee must decide whether more time is deserved or necessary.  

When the protest claims a breach of a rule of Parts 2, 3 or 4 the representative of each boat shall have been on board the boat at the time of the incident, unless there is a good reason for the protest committee to rule otherwise (rule 63.3(a)). For radio-controlled boats this rule is changed so that the representatives of the boats shall have been controlling them. 

When neither the protestor nor the protestee attends the protest hearing, the committee should first consider whether there was a flaw in the posting of the time or place of the hearing. If the protest committee decides that the parties were properly notified, the protest committee may act without the parties. In most cases, the protest committee will dismiss the protest when the protestor and the protestee(s) do not attend the hearing. However, it may act upon the evidence provided on the protest form.  When this occurs, the protest committee should be ready to reopen the hearing on request, if good grounds are provided for the nonattendance. A good reason for missing a hearing might be getting medical treatment for an injury received during the incident. 

Note that rule 63.3(a) is changed for protest hearings involving classification of a competitor. See Regulation 22.5.3. 
Right to Withdraw a Protest
Withdrawing a protest requires the approval of the protest committee. A competitor may not automatically withdraw a protest simply upon request. The protest committee should determine the reason why it is being withdrawn. If foul play, damage or injury is suspected, permission should not be given. 
Hearing More Than One Protest Concurrently
When there is a protest and a counter-protest, or when several protests appear to relate to the same incident, they should be heard together in a single hearing. If the protest committee has doubts about whether two protests are about the same incident, it is preferable to assume that they are and start the hearing with all the parties from both protests.  

Multiple requests for redress about a single complaint are best addressed at a single hearing. When considering the validity of protests concerning one incident, each should be addressed in the order in which they were delivered. The protest committee should decide whether each is valid and give the reasons for refusing those that are not valid.  Provided that at least one is valid, the hearing must proceed. 

When there are multiple counter protests, the competitor who delivered the first valid protest would be the protestor, if his protest is valid.  The protestor gives evidence first and the protestee gives evidence, and summing up, last. 
Penalizing a Boat Other Than the Protested or Protesting Boat
A party to a protest has the right to hear all the evidence. If it becomes apparent that a third boat might have broken a rule, then the protest committee should stop the hearing and protest that boat under rule 60.3(a)(2). Rule 61.1(c) requires that the boat be informed as soon as possible, the current hearing should be closed, and the hearing begins again, including the reconsideration of validity, with all the parties present. 
At the initial jury meeting, discuss whether hearings should be open to observers. World Sailing's policy is to open hearings to observers, but often a large enough room is not available.  

The advantage of open hearings is that they can greatly enhance the respect for the hearing system. However, a hearing should not be made open to observers if any protest committee member is uncomfortable with spectators. It is more important to give a good service to the parties than to educate, impress or entertain those not involved.  Similarly, a party might ask for a hearing to be closed to observers.  Such a request can be considered by the protest committee on its merits after the reasons are stated. 

Observers may include persons not connected with the case being heard; club members, other sailors, parents, coaches and the press or media.  No person should be present who witnessed the incident and is to be called to give evidence, or might be called to give evidence.  

Observers in a hearing should be made aware of their obligation to remain silent.  Make sure that each observer will not be called as a witness. Observers shall not be allowed to record or photograph any of the hearing. An Observer form describing the observer’s role and limitation should be given and signed by the observer. 

Observers must leave the room after the evidence has been taken while the protest committee discusses the case and makes a decision.  
Hearing Procedure: Validity
General Principles
The protest committee must address the validity of a protest before the hearing can proceed according to rule 61.1. It is not sufficient to simply obtain the protestor's opinion that the protest is valid. This may require that the chairman investigates deeper if the response to the question “When did you hail protest?” is “Immediately.” 

When the protested boat admits that she knew she was being protested and did not take a penalty, the protest committee may review each of the validity requirements less strictly. 

When the protest is valid the hearing must proceed unless a party accepts a penalty in the incident, such as retiring prior to the hearing. When the protest or request does not meet the requirements for validity, the committee shall declare it invalid and close the hearing. However, if the protest is invalid but the incident resulted in serious damage or injury, the protest committee may protest any boat or boats involved (rule 60.3(a)(1)). 

When the protest appears to be invalid, give the protesting boat the opportunity to give evidence on the failed validity requirements. If there is conflicting evidence on the question of validity, ask the parties and any observers to leave the room while the protest committee decides on whether or not the protest is valid. Then recall the parties and announce the decision.  
Receiving a Written Protest in Time
The sailing instructions may change a rule and may provide for special procedures for delivering a protest. Unless a different procedure is stated in the sailing instructions, RRS 61.3 states that the protest shall be delivered to the race office. However, a protest should be considered to be delivered when it is received by any official thought to be acting on behalf of the race committee or protest committee. If the protest is delivered after the protest time limit, it must still be accepted by the official and the time of receipt noted clearly on the first page. The official must not refuse a protest because the time limit has expired.  

If the protest is late, rule 61.3 requires the protest committee to decide whether there is an acceptable reason for it being delivered after the protest time limit. 

When there is a good reason, the protest committee shall extend the time limit and record its action. 
Identification of the Protestee
The protest must identify the protestee. In almost all cases, this will be by sail number or boat's name. When there is an error in identification, the error may be corrected before the hearing starts.  
Description of the Incident
The protest shall identify the incident. This is requirement (b) of the five requirements for a protest listed in rule 61.2, and the only one of the five that cannot be corrected after the protest is delivered. When the incident is not identified, the protest will be found invalid. There must be adequate information from which the protestee can identify the incident and understand the allegation. Other details required by rule 61.2 may be corrected before or during the hearing. 
Protestor's Representative
The protestor is technically the boat that protests, and the boat’s representative is normally one of the crew. When a protest claims a breach of a rule of Part 2, 3 or 4, the boat’s representative shall have been on board at the time of the incident, unless there is good reason for the protest committee to rule otherwise.  
The Hail
There is currently no World Sailing Case to interpret the word ‘reasonable’ in rule 61.1(a), 

‘… she shall hail “Protest” and conspicuously display a red flag at the first reasonable opportunity for each.’ 

Judges must use their own common sense to interpret the requirement, but it does not take long to make a hail. 
The Protest Flag
A red flag must be conspicuously displayed at the first reasonable opportunity after the incident and the flag must be displayed until the boat is no longer racing. A protest flag must be seen primarily to be a flag (World Sailing Case 72). No protest flag is required from boats less than six metres unless specifically stated in the Sailing Instructions or in the Class rules as allowed by rule 87
Protests not in the Racing Area
In the racing area, when the protestor has hailed ‘protest’ loudly and displayed the protest flag correctly, the protestee has been adequately informed and nothing else is required under rule 61.1. When the protest involves an incident that is not in the racing area, the protestor must inform the protestee that she is that she is protesting as soon as reasonably possible. This might be the next time they come close on the race course. If the boats had not come close to each other on the water, it would be as soon as reasonably possible after coming ashore. 
Validity Involving Injury or Damage
For protests by the protest committee made under rule 60.3(a)(1), the tests for a valid protest include evidence of injury or serious damage. The protest committee only needs to decide that either injury or serious damage occurred during the incident, and not how the injury or damage occurred. The protest committee must be certain about this, and getting the evidence may involve a walk to the boat park to view damage to a boat or to meet an injured competitor. If the protest committee decides the protest is valid and later finds out that, for example, the damage was not serious, or the competitor was not injured, the protest committee will have heard an invalid protest. 
Decisions on Validity
Decide the validity of the protest. If it seems clear from the testimony that the protest is valid, the chairman may glance at the rest of the protest committee to see if anyone would like to discuss any issue. If there seems to be no issue, the chairman can simply state that the protest committee is satisfied that the protest is valid. If someone on the panel would like to discuss the question, ask the parties to leave the room during the deliberation. 

If the protest committee decides that the requirements for the protest have not been met, the protest is invalid and the hearing is closed. The protest committee has no discretion under the rules to hear an invalid protest. 
Hearing Procedure: Taking Evidence and Finding Facts
After the protest is found to be valid, the protest committee takes the evidence of each party and witness by following the sequence shown in RRS M3.2. Judges should individually develop a picture of how the incident transpired as each party or witness presents their side of the story.  

An experienced judge will mentally develop a list of rules that apply and when the rules apply. Questions by judges should be limited to only the questions needed to determine whether any boat broke any of the rules in the judge’s list.  For example, if the list of rules includes 12, 11 and 15, a judge will ask questions to determine when an overlap occurred, how close the boats were and how long before a boat altered course.
Hearing Procedure: Witnesses
Rule 63.6 requires the protest committee to take the evidence from the parties and their witnesses. The answer by the protest committee chairman will always be “Yes” to the question “May I call my crew as a witness?” However, an able chairman can manage witnesses by keeping witness’ testimony to the point. To reduce leading questions, always allow the opposing party to question the witness before the party who called the witness.   

Under rule 63.6, a member of the protest committee who saw the incident shall state that fact in the presence of the parties, and may give evidence. If that member knows something that is relevant but was not revealed by the testimony from the parties and witnesses, he should volunteer to get that evidence before the protest committee deliberates. Care must be taken to not introduce new evidence from any source without the parties present. 

When witnesses are called to give evidence, a member of the protest committee or the protest committee secretary should retrieve the witness. This eliminates any coaching of the witnesses after the hearing starts.  

Appendix M of the Racing Rules gives the normal routine order of conducting a case, calling witnesses, etc. Appendix M is advisory and, as the preamble states, the recommended procedures may be changed if needed.  
The Influence of Race Memory on Recall of Evidence
Human perception begins with expectation based on prior knowledge, and not on sensations of what was there to see or hear. Persons with good race memory know where to look at the time of the incident and are able to recall incidents with good detail, including nearby boats, positions and relative speeds of boats, and the sequence of events. With good rules knowledge also, the witness will present evidence that is likely to fit within the requirements of the rule believed to apply. Persons who do not know the rules well, may miss important details on boat positioning that are needed to find facts. 
Cautions in Evaluating Evidence
Protest committees can make judgements about the credibility of evidence based on style and presentation of evidence. Witnesses who express their opinions confidently are often given more weight than someone who is less forceful and less believable. The PC should support the parties in making as specific and informative statements as possible. 

You should be aware of speech patterns that could lead juries to erroneous conclusions: 
  • Use of hedge words, such as “kind of”, “I think”, “If I’m not mistaken”, “it seems”; use of rising intonation in a declarative statement, suggesting that the speaker is seeking approval for the answer, e.g. in response to the question of “how fast”, the response “5 knots?”; 
  • Repetition indicating insecurity; 
  • Intensifiers, such as “very close”, instead of “close”; 
  • High degree of direct quotation, indicating deference to authority; and 
  • Use of empty adjectives, such as “charming”, “cute”, “interesting”. 

Do not confuse confident witnesses with accurate ones because their confidence is based on more information than simply the information that determines its accuracy. Their confidence may not be at all related to the accuracy of their recall. 
Hearsay Evidence
The term “hearsay evidence” is a technical legal term brought over from legal proceedings.  It means evidence which is given by a person who has no direct knowledge; he has simply heard or received it from another party. For example, in support of his claim that there was a collision, a party to the protest might say "John Smith, bow # 32, told me that he saw the collision."  

Hearsay evidence can take various forms. Hearsay evidence can be in the form of a witness telling what someone told him, or it can be in the form of written reports where the author is not called as a witness, or video or tracking information that is not authenticated, or a written statement of a person not called at a hearing. 

The difficulty with hearsay evidence is that it can be hard to challenge or examine its validity or credibility. It can therefore affect the fairness of the hearing if not treated appropriately. 

Rule 63.6 requires a protest committee to take any evidence of a party. It is common that sometimes a party will make a statement or produce a document that is hearsay i.e. the maker of the statement is not going to give live evidence.  In these cases, the protest committee is entitled to give that evidence little or no weight and should advise the parties of that it will give “appropriate weight” to the evidence.  

Different types of hearsay may be given more or less weight. For example, hearsay evidence such as mark rounding sheets (where the person who recorded the information is not called), should normally be given significant weight. Similarly, tracking information or photographs or video (without calling a witness to authenticate the information) can be given significant weight in the sense that the information is authentic. The reliability of the information and the weight to be given to it must be considered separately. A letter or an email from the technical committee or from a class association about facts that are generally within the author’s knowledge should be given significant weight, but not conclusive weight.  

On the other hand, hearsay evidence of the description of a racing incident should be given little or no weight. 

All of the evidence on which the protest committee relies must be shared with the parties. It must also be subject to questioning by the parties and the protest committee. If necessary the protest committee must reconvene or reopen a hearing to achieve this.  
Photographic Evidence
Photographic and video recordings may be accepted as evidence at a hearing and can sometimes be useful. However, there are limitations and problems, and these should be appreciated by the protest committee. 

The following points may be of assistance to juries when video or photographic evidence is used. 
  • When a video recording is to be shown to the protest committee, it is the party presenting the evidence that should arrange the necessary equipment and ensure an operator (preferably the person who made the recording) is available to operate it. 
  • The party bringing the video evidence should have seen it before the hearing and provide reasons why he believes it will assist the protest committee. 
  • It is usually preferable to view the video after the parties have presented their cases. 
  • Allow the recording to be viewed first without comment, then with the comments of the party bringing the evidence, then with those of the other party. Questions may be asked in the normal way by the parties and the protest committee members. 
  • The depth of field of any single-lens camera is poor and with a telephoto lens, it is non-existent. When, for example, the camera's view is at right angles to the courses of two overlapped boats, it is impossible to assess the distance between them. Conversely, when the camera is directly ahead or astern, it is impossible to see when an overlap begins or even if one exists, unless it is substantial. Keep these limitations firmly in mind. 
  • Use the first viewing of the recording to become oriented with the scene. Where was the camera in relation to the boat? What was the angle and distance between them? Was the camera's platform moving? If so, in what direction and how fast? Is the angle changing as the boats approach the critical point? (Beware of a radical change caused by fast panning of the camera.) Did the camera have an unrestricted view throughout? If not, how much does that diminish the value of the evidence? Full orientation may require several viewings; take the time necessary. 
  • Since it takes only about 30 seconds to run and re-wind a typical incident, view it as many times as needed to extract all the information it can give. Also, be sure that each party has an equal opportunity to point out what he believes the clip shows and does not show. 
  • Hold the equipment in place until the end of the hearing. The recording should be made available during deliberation for review to settle questions as to just what fact or facts, if any, it establishes. Also, one of the members may have noticed something that the others did not. 
  • Do not expect too much from the recording. Only occasionally, from a fortuitous camera angle, will it clearly establish the central fact of an incident. But, even if it does no more than settle one disputed point, that alone will help in reaching a correct decision. 
Written Evidence
Written evidence from a witness or a party who cannot attend a hearing violates the principle that a witness’ testimony can be cross examined or questioned by the other parties and protest committee members. Written evidence in the form of scores, mark roundings, or class interpretations does not carry that limitation. 
Use of tracking information in hearing
Terms and Acronyms Used in this Section
2D: The graphical display of objects drawn in two dimensions. For sailboat race tracking, this is generally a simple overhead view of the race course. 
3D: The graphical display of objects drawn in three dimensions, showing the length, width and depth of objects. For sailboat tracking, 3D graphics allows the viewer to follow the race from different perspectives. For example, the spectator can follow behind a boat or view the race from the perspective of a crew on deck.
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GNSS: Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), which uses orbiting satellites to broadcast signals to receivers on earth. The receivers then calculate their locations as geographic positions at specific times. Galileo (EU), GLONASS (Russia) and GPS (USA) all provide worldwide coverage. 

Raw data: The position data from trackers without any data manipulation by tracking software other than to change the file format. 
Commercial tracking systems are often used in sail boat racing to create publicity and promote the event. Regatta organizers contract with a tracking service provider to place individual trackers on the racing boats and marks of the course to allow spectators to view the race. The positional information obtained is graphically enhanced to make the display of the tracking information interesting and understandable to a broad range of users.  

Coming ashore, sailors and coaches will review the race using the tracking system. If there was an incident on the water, the tracking information may be presented as evidence in a hearing of a protest or request for redress. Race officers will sometimes compare the tracking information with their finishing sheets to locate a missing boat. For these reasons, judges need to understand the limitations of the tracking system to know what information can be reliably used.  
How do tracking systems work?
While the core technology in use by the different tracking service provider is basically the same, there are many different approaches in the final delivery of the tracking system product. Every tracking service provider uses GNSS receivers to capture the basic geolocation data at regular intervals. The minimum raw data captured by the tracker for each position fix includes latitude, longitude, timestamp and tracker ID. The geographic positions are updated repeatedly within the GNSS receiver up to 10 times per second, but the frequency of fixes available from (or published by) the tracking system may vary from one or two fixes per second to up to one per hour or (s)lower for oceanic races.
What is the position accuracy?
There are many different factors effecting the accuracy of the position. Typically, the absolute accuracy of the position fix for trackers is 2 to 8 meters, 95% of the time, but it could be better or much worse. The predicted accuracy is not readily available to the race officials. The relative accuracy between two receivers of the same manufacturer (between trackers of the same model and year on two boats) is usually better than the absolute accuracy. 
Are the marks of the course tracked?
Most of the time, the race committee will install trackers on the marks of the course. However, if the mark tracker is lost or stops working, or the race course is defined by government navigational buoys, the mark location(s) will be manually entered in the tracking program. In each of these cases, the tracking information at a rounding mark is useless for the protest committee. In fact, the tracking system administrator will often ‘adjust’ the position of the mark to a location where the boats look like they are rounding a mark of the course. If this is done the information displayed is unreliable. 
Can the tracking system show overlaps and collisions?
Competitors will sometimes present tracking information in a hearing to show a collision or an overlap at the zone. In almost every case, the information from the tracking system will be inconclusive by itself. The graphical representation of the boat is almost never to scale. You can test this by comparing the length of the boat icon at various levels of zoom. In the 2016 Olympic Games, Lasers appeared to be over 20 meters long.  

The locations of the trackers on boats can be misleading. For big boat regattas, the trackers are often attached to the stern rail. In that location, when the helm is turned hard to port, the tracker moves to starboard. At dinghy events, the tracker is sometimes kept in the jacket pocket of the crew. If the crew is on a trapeze and the boat tacks, the tracker suddenly moves athwart ships, whereas the boat did not. 

The tracks showed in the graphical displays are not always based only on accurate position fixes. If position fixes from trackers are missing or if the software thinks they are ‘out of position’ the software might estimate the missing position fixes and eliminating fixes that look to be out of position. This can result in estimated tracks shown in the graphical display that may be different from the real sailed track. 
Other considerations in a hearing.
Competitors are entitled to present evidence that they consider relevant, and may bring animated video clips of an incident they saw in the tracking system. The competitor will be basing his presentation on derived information and it is important for the judges to know what it real and what is virtual. There are no sensors on the boat that detect when a sail is set or dropped even though that is shown in the 3D viewer. There is no wind information transmitted from the tracker. While you can clearly see a boat cross head to wind in the viewer, all that ‘information’ is computer generated images. 

A competitor might present evidence in the form of raw data obtained from a GNSS system (such as a boat’s own GPS), or obtained raw data from the event tracking service provider.  Such information does not have the same disadvantages as the derived information in the 2D and 3D displays, but the inherent accuracy of the system should still be considered. 

Because the enhanced graphics can lead competitors (and judges) to the wrong conclusions, there are a few things the protest committee can do to manage the presentation of tracking data in a hearing. 

  1. Before the first race, the jury should discuss the tracking system being used. Review the instructions, verbal or written, that the sailors receive about the installation of the trackers on the boat. Know where the trackers are intended to be installed on the boats. 
  2. Review the tracker application as it will be seen by the competitors. Zoom in and zoom out, observe the scaling, start and stop the race display, and know how to declutter the screen by removing boats and tags. The more ‘stuff’ you can remove, the closer you will get to the real data coming from the boat. Even (or especially) the depiction of the three-length zone is misleading. Try to find out from the tracking service provider what the accuracy of the tracking units are and whether any averaging (or smoothing) is applied to the information. 
  3.  Ask the race committee if trackers will be installed on the RC boats and where they will be located. Determine if the marks will have trackers. 
  4.  It is the responsibility of the party to provide the equipment to display tracking data (See RRS M7, first bullet).  
  5.  During a hearing, get the verbal testimony from the parties first, before the presentation of the tracking clips. Let the parties question each other’s verbal testimony. Make sure the protest committee understands the facts from the verbal testimony. Tracking data is always easier to assess when it is presented in support of the description of the incident by the parties. 
  6.  Do not to look at tracking data during the protest committee deliberations if the tracking data was not presented during the hearing. Tracking information is similar to information from a witness. If the protest committee wants to review ‘new’ tracking information, recall the parties and review the tracking with them. They have a right to be present throughout the presentation of all the evidence [RRS 63.3(a)]. 
Leading Questions
A leading question is a question in the form of a statement inviting agreement, and should be discouraged by the chairman. However, when a questioner finds it difficult to ask any questions without them being leading questions, the chairman may decide to allow some leading questions rather than disrupt the questioner's line of questioning.  

Straightforward leading questions: 
“You did see me steering a straight course, didn't you?’, or ‘Do you agree that as I was sailing toward the mark, I had a half boat-length overlap?’ 

A question with a presupposition leads the witness to view the presupposition to be accurate. For example: “Had the boats reached the zone when the overlap was established?” This question presupposes the overlap. Witnesses are likely to accept the presupposed overlap to be true, or to remember it as an established fact and condone it if asked about it later in the hearing. A better question would be, “Position the two boats relative to each other when the lead boat got to the zone”. 

A question that contains a false presupposition can influence a witness to testify to the presence of a non-existent object corresponding to that presupposition. 

Multiple choice questions: 
Multiple choice questions should not be allowed, because they influence the response. The question, “How many lengths, 1, 2, or 3?” will lead to a smaller number than the question, “How many lengths, 1, 5, or 10?” A better question would just be “How many lengths?” 

Language that supports a position: 
The question asked can lead to different answers, based on the wording chosen. The question, “How far apart?” will lead witnesses to respond with a greater number than the question, “how close?” A better question would be, “Position the two boats relative to each other and estimate the distance between them”. 

The choice of verbs can lead the witness. The question, “How fast were the boats travelling when blue ‘smashed’ into yellow?” yields a higher estimate of speed than the same sentence using the verbs, ‘collided’, ‘bumped’, ‘made contact’ or ‘hit’. A better question using language from the rule would be “What was the speed of the boats when contact occurred?” 

Questions about the existence of an object or event that use the definite article, “the” are more likely to yield a “yes” answer than questions that use the indefinite article, “a”. “Did you hear the hail?” implies that the hail was made, and the party or witness is likely to condone it, even if it is false. A better question would be, “Tell us anything that you heard”. 
Once all the evidence is taken, it is the protest committee’s responsibility to find the facts and make a decision. Often the entire panel has privately reached the same facts and conclusion. The chairman can save considerable time if he or she asks the members for their decision. If everyone has come to the same conclusion, then writing the facts and conclusions goes very quickly.  Finding that the protest committee does not see the situation the same way allows the committee to quickly refocus on the differences. This decision-making process must be conducted in private. 

Another method of proceeding is for the chairman or preferably his appointee, commonly known as the scribe, to write during the hearing the points he considers are the facts of what has happened and if clear, also the conclusions and applicable rules. This can speed up the decision-making process. The scribe is normally an experienced International Judge. Should a member not agree on some point, or believe there is an omission of an essential fact, there is a discussion on that point to reach an agreement. Apply the relevant rules to these facts and identify any missing ones, if not included in the scribe’s original draft. Before reaching a final agreement, read out the facts found and decision, giving the protest committee members one last chance to propose a change. 

When the case is complex with a wide range of opinions among the protest committee members, it is preferable for the chairman to start by asking each protest committee member for an overview, and then address the points of difference.  
Hearing Procedure: Finding the Facts
In almost all cases the differences of opinion are settled by the quality of the evidence. The racing rules do not give the onus of proof to one boat or the other. Port is not required to prove she kept clear of starboard. A protest committee is required to consider all the evidence, consider who was in the best position to determine what happened, determine which evidence is more credible, then decide the facts of the incident. 

It is an unalterable responsibility of the protest committee to establish the “facts” that the decision will be based upon, even when the parties present widely differing testimony. If one party says the boats were one meter apart while the other says three meters apart, the protest committee must decide which opinion is more credible. Varying testimony is common and does not necessarily mean that someone is lying. It may reflect different perspectives or feelings at the time of or after the incident. When all the evidence is reviewed and a distance is determined, that distance will become a “fact” the decision is based upon, even if that distance is neither one meter nor three meters. 

Allow witnesses to show the incident with model boats from their own angle. Do not set the wind direction for them, because this requires them to mentally rotate the incident to a new angle if they saw it at a different angle. Not all people are good at mental rotation of objects in space, and this could interfere with their recall of the incident. 

Assign colors of boat models to the boats involved in the protest and keep the colors consistent through all presentations in the hearing. This will assist the parties and judges in understanding the demonstrations of the incident. This will be especially helpful to any judge who might have difficulty in seeing the incident from different angles if one presentation has the wind blowing at the presenter, and another has the wind blowing away from the presenter. The ability to mentally rotate the event in space is not related to the person’s ability to perform as a judge. 

One way to determine whether something is a fact or not is to use the “home video rule—if the action can be seen in a video, it is fact.”  “Boat A altered her course when she was one boat length away” is a fact. “Boat B intended to luff,” is not a fact. “Boat D was half a meter to windward of Boat C”,” or, “the boats were more than eight meters apart,” are facts. 

Listen carefully to the evidence, be aware of the parties’ body language, take notes and, most important, establish facts. A recommended way of doing this is to establish: 
  • what rules might apply to the incident; 
  • what are the boats’ obligations under those rules:  to keep clear or to give room or mark room? 
  • write facts that determine whether the boats met those obligations.  
Resolving Controversial Issues
When all but one member is in general agreement, the dissenter should be given an opportunity to state his point of view, and try to persuade the other members. Only after having been given an opportunity to persuade the others, should his opinion be overruled. 

Try to obtain agreement among the protest committee. Establish the most likely scenario by returning to the last point of certainty, assess the weight of the conflicting evidence, and, if necessary, recall the parties to obtain any missing information or further clarification. Once any differences of opinions among the protest committee members have been resolved, use the procedure in the previous paragraph. A vote can be useful especially after a reasonable time has been allowed for discussion and a variety of views persist.  

The chairman has a casting vote (that is, when there is an even number of votes either way including the chairman's vote, then the chairman has an extra vote). When a casting vote is required to decide a case, it is usually worth spending some more time discussing the case. 
Protest Committee Member with a Minority Opinion
There are various levels of disagreement with the decision of a protest committee, which can be handled differently:

Level 1:  Usually, after thorough discussion, a member of the protest committee who does not agree with the majority accepts the decision of the majority.  This should be simply recorded as a majority decision on the protest form without stating who the judge(s) in the minority are.

Level 2:  If the judges in the minority feel strongly that they do not wish to be associated with the decision, they have the right to be named as dissenting judges when the decision is announced and to have their names recorded on the form. 

Regardless of any personal disagreement with the jury’s final decision, a judge is duty-bound to uphold it. A judge must refrain from criticizing the decision of a protest committee in public, whether or not he or she was a member of the jury.  Criticism of a jury decision may not always be misconduct (or "inadequate conduct" in terms of Regulation 32), but the manner, time and place in which the criticism is expressed will determine whether it is misconduct. 

There is nothing wrong with discussing (and criticizing) a decision with other judges in private for the purpose of education, or for the purpose of persuading a protest committee to reconsider the decision under RRS 66. However, any discussion with competitors, coaches or the public of a difference of opinions within the protest committee will almost never be appropriate conduct and can only serve to inflame a situation and damage relationships with other officials.  If a judge does not wish to associate himself or herself with a decision, then the proper course of action is to exercise the right to be named as a dissenting member in the decision and then refer any queries to the published decision only. 

The chairman must include details of the case in his regatta report if the dissenting member(s) request it to be done. 
Onus of Satisfying the Protest Committee
For protest hearings, the standard of proof is the “balance of probability”, unless a rule specifies a different burden of proof.  

There is one rule,18.2(e), that permits the protest committee, when there is a reasonable doubt, to presume facts about whether a boat obtained or broke an overlap in time. However, the protest committee must not merely rely on this rule; it must take an active part in trying to resolve the doubt by other means. It should question the parties and witnesses to elicit all available evidence to find facts and to learn what actually happened. Then, if still in doubt, it may use rule 18.2(e) to resolve the protest. 

When making its decision, rule 18.2(e) is relevant only when the protest committee is in doubt. In this case, the decision might use such words as: ‘The protest committee is not satisfied that A, astern established an inside overlap before B ahead reached the zone,’ and cite rule 18.2(e). When the protest committee is satisfied by the evidence that A astern failed to obtain an overlap, then the words used might be: ‘A astern failed to establish an inside overlap [etc.],’ and rule 18.2(e) would not be cited in the decision. 
Recording the Facts and Decision; Rule 14
When there is contact between two boats, a rule has been broken. Therefore, the protest committee must, under rules 63.6 and 64.1, find the relevant facts, make a decision and penalize one or more boats. 

In cases where the contact caused damage, it is essential for the protest committee to decide whether the boats fulfilled their responsibilities under rule 14. In every case involving contact, a rule other than rule 14 was broken. However, rule 14 specifically addresses the obligation to avoid contact between boats. Take care to record the necessary facts to indicate whether either the right-of-way or give-way boat broke rule 14, and whether any penalty applies. 
Announcing the Decision
The protest committee will recall the parties to the protest to announce the decision. Observers and members of the press may be included. The chairman or scribe will read the facts found, the decision, the rules that apply and any penalties imposed.  When appropriate, an interpreter will translate the decision for a party.  

The decision will be to dismiss the protest, to conclude that no rule was broken or that a boat broke a rule and is to be disqualified, unless some other penalty applies. The penalty will apply except when: 
  • a boat was compelled to break a rule by the actions of another boat breaking a rule; 
  •  a right-of-way boat, or a boat entitled to room or mark-room, broke rule 14 but caused no damage; or 
  •  rule 36, Races Restarted or Resailed, applies, 

Disqualification under these rules may not be excludable (DNE): 

Promptly notify the scorer of all protest committee decisions that affect scoring, and keep a running record of this scoring changes.  

When a party to the protest requires clarification of the decision, this can be given immediately, but no further discussion should be permitted at this time. Any further discussion with a dissatisfied party at a future time, and its content will depend on the experience and confidence of the chairman and members of the protest committee. 

Permitting an informal discussion with the protest committee and setting a time for this discussion in response to dissatisfaction when the protest decision is announced can often defuse a stressful atmosphere. Conversely, refusing any future discussion can often exacerbate the bad feeling.  

Alternatively, two protest committee members may be appointed to informally explain a decision.  
Protests by the Race Committee or Technical Committee
A protest initiated by the race committee under rule 60.2 or the technical committee under rule 60.4 has certain validity requirements which the protest committee must ensure are met before proceeding with the hearing. The protest committee must satisfy itself that neither of the exceptions in 60.2(a) nor 60.4(a) applies. If either does, the protest is invalid. Rule 61.1(b) requires the protestee to be informed. Rule 61.2, Protest Contents, also applies to protests by the race committee or technical committee. 
When the race committee or the technical committee protests a boat and no protest committee has been appointed, the organizing authority or the race committee shall appoint a protest committee to hear the protest.  

A representative of the race committee or the technical committee acts in the same way as a protesting boat would do in a normal boat-to-boat protest.  The race officer or the representative from technical committee gives evidence, is given the opportunity to ask questions, answers questions, calls witnesses, and leaves the room while the protest committee makes its decision. 
Protests Concerning Class Rules
Protests concerning class rules can be initiated by a boat under rule 60.1, by the race committee under rule 60.2, by the protest committee under rule 60.3, or by the technical committee under rule 60.4. The rules do not give the Class Association, National Authority or an independent measurer the right to protest.  

Most measurement problems are found during pre-regatta inspection and are worked out between the technical committee and the person responsible for the boat. However, the protest committee is sometimes asked to settle a dispute over an interpretation of a class rule before the start of racing. Otherwise, class rule protests usually arise from a protest by the technical committee based on a postrace equipment inspection.  

In almost all cases the protest committee is able to decide the protest using the process outlined in rule 64.3. Evidence concerning the accuracy of the measurement and the interpretation of the rule is presented by the competitor and the event technical committee. The World Sailing Equipment Rules of Sailing should resolve questions about measurement procedures. 

After listening to all of the available evidence, if the protest committee decides there is no reasonable doubt about the interpretation of the measurement rule, then it must decide the case. If the protest committee is still in doubt about the interpretation of a class rule, then rule 64.3(b) requires that the protest committee refer the questions, and relevant facts to an authority responsible for interpreting the rule. This authority will usually be the class association’s technical committee, World Sailing, or a national authority. This authority is not the event’s technical committee, even if a technical committee member is also the chairman of the class technical committee. Once the protest committee refers the question, it is bound by the authority’s reply.
Basic Rules
A protest about class rules or rating does not imply that the owner or person in charge has knowledge, or should have had knowledge of the breach. The alleged infringement could be a simple error or misunderstanding about the interpretation or application of a rule. Sometimes there is uncertainty between what is clearly permissible and what is clearly prohibited, exposing the rule to variation in interpretation. The entire process of a measurement protest is supported by only a few basic rules. Competitors and all race officials are required to abide by these rules. 

Rule 78 is fundamental. It makes the owner and any other person in charge responsible to ensure that the boat is maintained to comply with her class rules and that her measurement certificate, if any, remains valid.  

Rule 64.3 deals with the procedures for deciding a protest brought under rule 78.  
Class Rules
Class rules provide details of how a boat must measure and/or rate. They usually include administrative provisions, the owner’s responsibilities, and prohibitions while racing, in addition to the details about the measurement of the boat. 

Although the rule and measurement procedures appear complex, a protest committee can usually understand them with a little effort and some informed assistance from an expert witness, usually the technical committee or class rule administrator. 

Class association measurement and championship rules govern a class.  However, these rules do not empower a class association to disqualify or otherwise penalize boats during an event, except when channeled through the protest committee. 
Sailing Instructions
Sailing instructions may include provisions for the handling of measurement questions. They often include everything from pre-race procedures to measurement checks to penalties.  

If the race organizers intend to take an active role in checking measurement and enforcing compliance it is important that any special rules and procedures be written in the sailing instructions. Such advance planning will help eliminate problems that might develop later and save the protest committee endless time in clearly identifying its authority and role in measurement questions. 
Technical Committee Responsibility
A technical committee appointed under rule 89.2(c) for an event to conduct inspections and measurement checks is not part of the race committee. A person not so appointed has no official status at an event, but may be called as an expert witness.

Before a race or regatta, when the technical committee concludes that a boat does not comply with the rules, he may suggest to the owner or any other person in charge that the defect be corrected. If it is not corrected, the technical committee may protest the boat under rule 60.4. The same principle applies when, after a race, the technical committee concludes that a boat does not comply with the class rules.

When a boat protests another boat for infringing a class rule, she must produce sufficient evidence to convince the protest committee that there may have been a breach. If she fails to do so, the protest would not be valid, since it would not satisfy the requirements of rule 61.2(b) by describing the incident. For example, a protest alleging that a boat must have an illegal hull, with no evidence of the way in which the hull has broken the class rules, must be ruled as invalid, since the protest does not 'describe the incident' (i.e. describe the manner in which the boat has broken the rule). It is not uncommon for sailing instructions to require that any costs incurred for haul out and measurement are paid for by the 'losing' party.
Acceptance of a Protest Concerning Class Rules
The protest committee must first determine whether the protest is valid; the requirements of rule 61 must be met. Rule 61.2(d). A protest stating only that, “the boat doesn't measure”, or that, “she is too fast for her rating”, should normally be rejected unless the protestor provides this information before or during the hearing. Unless the allegation is reasonably specific in describing the rules broken or the nature of the alleged breach, the protest committee should find the protest invalid.
Protest Committee’s Responsibility in a Protest Concerning Class Rules
A class rule or measurement rating protest is processed like any other protest by the protest committee. The notification requirements, contents and time limit of rule 61 applies and the hearing procedures under rule 63 applies. Rule 63.6 requires that the protest committee take evidence from the parties and such other evidence as it thinks necessary. The rules expect the protest committee to obtain the evidence it needs to decide the protest. Unless it is unable to interpret or apply the rules, it must decide the protest without referring the question to a qualified authority.
Expert Witnesses and Evidence
In some cases, the protest committee will not be able to resolve a protest concerning class rules without calling one or more expert witnesses. It is helpful to have a judge on the protest committee who is familiar with the class rules and procedures. The protest committee chairman should have the names and contact information of class expert witnesses. The technical committee for the class is also helpful. Boat designers can be expert witnesses when there is no conflict of interest. Remember that witnesses, no matter how expert, are just witnesses. The protest committee makes the final decision.
When the technical committee is available, and the protest alleges complex breaches, the protest committee may wish to order measurement checks or even re-measurement. This is within its power and its obligation to 'take such other evidence' as it needs to make a decision.

Nothing in the rules gives the owner of one boat an absolute right to demand that another boat be re-measured. The decision to order or request re-measurement is a matter for the protest committee or, if the notice of race or sailing instructions so state, the organizing authority. The losing party pays for re-measurement and any measurement costs unless the protest committee decides otherwise.

Provided an appeal has not been denied (rule 70.5), a boat disqualified under a measurement rule may continue to compete in subsequent races without making changes to the boat. To do so, the boat shall state in writing that she intends to appeal. If she fails to appeal or the appeal is decided against her, she will be disqualified from all races.
Qualified Authority
If after hearing the available opinions of the expert witnesses described in paragraph [K.26.7] WSJM - K26.7

, the protest committee is in doubt about the meaning of a class rule, rule 64.3 requires the protest committee to refer the questions to the authority responsible for interpreting the rule. This may be the class association whose rules name the class technical chairman or measurement chairman.

For a question concerning the rules of a handicap or rating system, it may be the technical chairman of the organization who issues the handicap or the rating certificate in the waters the boat is lying in. In making its decision the protest committee is bound by the reply of the authority.

In all cases the protest committee should ensure that there is no conflict of interest of the person or committee answering the question.
Protests by the Protest Committee
A protest initiated by the protest committee under rule 60.3 has the same validity requirements as those initiated by the race committee. The protest committee must ensure that the validity requirements are met before proceeding with the hearing.

The chairman should ensure that the boat’s representative is aware that although one or more members of the protest committee will present the evidence, it is the protest committee as a body that has initiated the hearing under rule 60.3. We recommend that members of the protest committee present their evidence from their normal positions seated around or behind the protest room table.

A witness who is a member of the protest committee participates in the deliberations and decision of the protest committee. The members giving evidence are not interested parties. They are a part of an independent body, with nothing to gain or lose from the decision. Such witnesses, who stay for the decision, must not give any new evidence after the parties have been dismissed.

In cases where the chairman or the protest committee member or members who is the witnesses feels uncomfortable, the witness would leave the room when the protest committee begins its deliberations. Be aware that dismissing protest committee witnesses while the remaining members make the decision tends to portray protest committee members as individuals who are intent on protesting individual boats, and having a personal interest in the success of their protests. The practice of dismissing protest committee witnesses becomes embarrassing when all members of the protest committee witness an incident.

However, should the protest committee be convinced that the protestee feels genuinely and strongly that it would be unjust for the one or two protest committee witnesses to remain, then the protest committee witness should be dismissed for the decision. Rule N3.2 provides that the protest committee remains properly constituted as long as 3 members remain and at least 2 members are International Judges.
Drug testing can be initiated only with written permission from the national authority or the World Sailing.

Competitors cannot protest alleged infringements of rule 5; hearings in relation to drug abuse can be initiated only after a competitor has refused to be tested or failed a drug test.

Since the testing of samples takes several weeks, the process of imposing penalties, when World Sailing Regulation 21 applies, will fall outside the protest committee’s jurisdiction. Rule 63.1 does not apply.
A boat whose score or place in a race or series that has been made significantly worse through no fault of her own may, in circumstances complying with rule 62.1, be granted redress.

Redress may not be granted without a hearing (rule 63.1).
Who May Request Redress?
a. A boat (rule 60.1(b))
The introduction to the RRS, Terminology, states that a “boat” means a sailboat and the crew on board.

Normally boats request redress for themselves; however, this is not a requirement of the rules. A boat or its crew may request redress for another boat. Rule 60.2(b) requires the protest committee to include all boats affected in a redress award, whether or not they asked for redress.

b. The race committee (rule 60.2(b))
The race committee may request redress for a boat that it believes may be entitled to it. Often it is to correct any errors it has made that may have affected a boat or boats.

Example: The race committee becomes aware that it incorrectly recalled a particular boat and she returned from course side and restarted. It may request a hearing for redress for that boat.

c. The protest committee (rule 60.3(b)).
The protest committee may call a hearing based on a report or information received from any source, including invalid protests or requests for redress, or from any party, whether interested or not.

Example: During the hearing of a protest the protest committee may become aware of, or receive a report, that a boat may be entitled to redress. The protest committee may call a hearing to consider granting redress to that boat.

The protest committee may also grant redress as part of its decision in a protest hearing if it decides a boat is entitled to redress under rule 62 whether or not they asked for redress. (rule 64.2).

d. The technical committee (rule 60.4(b)).
The technical committee may request redress for a boat that it believes may be entitled to it. Often it is to correct any errors it has made that may have affected a boat or boats.
Parties to a Redress Hearing
The definition of party to a hearing includes a boat requesting redress or for which redress is requested by a Race Committee under rule 60.2(b) or a Technical Committee under rule 60.4(b), or considered by the Protest Committee under rule 60.3(b). In such cases, all boats for which redress is being considered are entitled to attend the hearing.

In requests for redress under rule 62.1(a) the Race Committee or Technical Committee or the Organizing Authority may be a party to the hearing.

After deciding to grant redress and considering what redress is to be granted the protest committee may conclude that to arrive at a fair decision that other boats are also entitled to redress and that redress should be granted to them. If the “fair decision” requires more investigation and if those boats were not previously notified of the hearing or did not attend, the hearing could be adjourned and a new hearing started after notifying all boats which could be entitled to redress. As all parties to the redress hearing must be notified of the time and place of the hearing, proper notification must be posted on the official notice board. In this situation, it may also be beneficial to phone, e-mail or SMS all the parties, particularly if the time for posting protest notices has expired. This hearing must restart from the beginning as the new parties to the hearing are entitled to hear all the evidence.

Make sure that the hearing room is large enough to accommodate all parties, which could include one representative from each boat.
The Hearing
The hearing of requests for redress falls into four parts;
I. Validity
II. Compliance
III. The incident
IV. Redress given

Validity is considered first and if the request is invalid the parties hearing should be informed of this and the hearing closed.

If valid, the hearing should proceed to consider whether the request complies with the requirements of rule 62.1. If the request does not comply the parties should be informed at this time and the hearing closed.

If the request complies the protest committee then considers the incident and whether the boat is entitled to redress or not. If not the parties are informed of the facts found and that redress is not given and the hearing is closed.

If the Protest Committee decides that redress is to be given it now decides what redress would be appropriate. Once decided the parties should be informed of the decision and the hearing closed.
At a hearing to consider a request for redress, the protest committee must first address the validity of the request.

The request must be in writing and the reason for making it.

No protest flag is required, and there is no obligation for the boat requesting redress to inform the race committee. Match racing and fleet-umpired races, like medal races under Addendum Q have different requirements.

A boat may not protest the organizing authority or the race committee or the protest committee or the technical committee; any such protest should be accepted as a request for redress provided it complies with the requirement of rule 61.2, so far as they are relevant.

Under rule 62.2 a request for redress must be delivered to the race office no later than the protest time limit or two hours after the incident, whichever is the later. The time of the incident will need to be determined by the protest committee and this will depend on the circumstances of each particular case. If the incident occurred on the race course, the protest time limit would normally apply. In the case of a scoring error, or where a boat has been scored OCS or similar, the time of the incident would usually be when the results were posted time of the incident could be the first reasonable opportunity the party had of seeing. However, if the results were not posted within a reasonable time, the time of the incident could be considered to be even later still. If the results were posted only on the internet the them.

Requests for redress by the Race Committee or Technical Committee or Protest Committee on behalf of boats must be delivered within the protest time limit or within two hours of receiving the relevant information (rule 62.2).

When a request for redress is received outside the time limit, the protest committee must extend the time limit if there is good reason to do so. The decision as to whether there is a “good reason” to extend the time limit must be decided by the protest committee. The extension would normally be to the first reasonable opportunity after the boat or the committee making the request becomes aware of the situation.
When the request for redress is accepted as valid, the protest committee must now decide whether the request complies with the requirements of rule 62, namely whether the boat's score (either in a race or series) has through no fault of her own been made significantly worse by

a. An improper action or omission of the race committee, protest committee organizing authority or technical committee for the event, but not by a protest committee decision when the boat was a party to the hearing;

b. Injury or physical damage because of the action of a boat that was breaking a rule of Part 2 or of a vessel not racing that was required to keep clear;

c. Giving help (except to herself or her crew) in compliance to rule 1.1; or

d. An action of a boat, or a member of her crew, that resulted in a penalty under rule 2 or a penalty or warning under rule 69.2(c).

The protest committee should take evidence from the representative of the party requesting redress, his witnesses if any, the other parties and their witnesses, and any witnesses the protest committee may decide to call.

At the end of this part of the hearing a decision should then be made and advised to the party requesting redress whether his request has been granted and then move on to taking evidence on what redress, if any, will be granted.
Score or Place
Rule 62.1 states that a request for redress “shall be based on a claim or possibility that a boat’s score or place in a race or series has been or may be, through no fault of her own, made significantly worse”.

If the race committee made a scoring error, and as a result of correcting that error, a boat’s score is worse from that previously posted, the corrected score has not been made worse than the score the boat should have been scored in accordance with the rules. This would not be an improper action by the race committee, as they are required by the rules to score all boats in accordance with their finishing place.
A boat’s score or place in a race or series must be made significantly worse. The term “significantly” is subjective and is determined by the protest committee based on the circumstances of each case. It would be the responsibility of the party requesting the redress to establish that the boat’s score had been made “significantly” worse.

The worsening of a score or place by one point could be significant if it decides the outcome of a series. Whereas, if the worsening of a score or place by 25 points means a boat comes 37th in a series instead of 36th, it is probably not significant. However, if a boat was scored the extra 25 points in a race that it would have won, this may make it significant, as the boat may have missed out on a race prize.
No Fault of Her Own
To be entitled to redress, a boat’s score or place in a race or series must have been made significantly worse through no fault of her own. This means that if a boat is responsible either fully or partially, for the worsening of its score, no matter how small a part it was responsible for, it shall not be entitled to redress.

The race committee starts a race at its scheduled time but a competitor leaves the marina late and misses the start. This is the fault of the competitor and not that of the race committee.
Improper Action or Omission
An improper action is doing something that is not permitted by the rules of the event (racing rules, notice of race or sailing instructions and any others). An omission is not doing something that the rules specify will be done. If a race committee or protest committee or the technical committee does or does not do something over which it has discretion or is not mandatory, it is neither an improper action, nor an omission for which redress can be given.

Race management policies, jury policies, and “Advice to Competitors” are not rules. If the race committee or protest committee did not act on those policies or advice, it would not be grounds for redress. World Sailing Case 129 provides an example of a race committee action that was not good race management practice, but was not an improper action of the race committee.

If a race committee signals course 3 when only courses 1 and 2 are described in the sailing instructions, this would be an improper action as the course was not in the sailing instructions.

If the race committee signaled course 2 and subsequently the first boat could not finish the course within the time limit and the course was not shortened, this would not be improper action or omission. This course is permitted by the sailing instructions and shortening the course is not mandatory; it was not an improper action or omission.
Physical Damage and Injury
Rule 62.1 (b) does not require physical damage (or injury) to have been caused directly by the boat that was breaking a rule of Part 2. It is sufficient that any physical damage (or injury) was the probable consequence of the action of the boat breaking a rule. World Sailing Case 135 provides questions for the protest committee to consider to conclude whether a boat sustaining damage or injury is entitled to redress.

Physical damage is where the value of part or the whole of the boat is diminished or it is rendered less functional. Refer to World Sailing Case 19.

The following are not physical damage:
  • capsize
  • rigs or lifelines entangled
  • loss of places
  • crew overboard

Injury in the racing rules refers only to bodily injury to a person according to Case 110. Injury would be any that required medical treatment or rendered the crew less functional. Minor cuts or abrasions would not be considered injuries for the purposes of this rule.

World Sailing Case 142 indicates that when a boat requests redress because of injury or physical damage caused by the action of a boat that was breaking a rule of Part 2, she need not protest the boat that caused the damage or injury. She need only request redress. The other boat might have taken an appropriate penalty or have acknowledged their infringement in the incident.

If the boat requesting redress did not protest the other boat, the protest committee may protest her if it discovers that the incident caused injury or serious damage as per RRS 60.3(a).1.

To determine if the damage is serious damage under the rules, refer to World Sailing Case 141. Redress would be awarded if the serious damage adversely impacted the boat’s sailing performance in a significant way.
Giving help
A boat giving help (except to herself or her crew) in compliance with rule 1.1 may be entitled to redress. Also, when it is possible that a boat is in danger, another boat that gives help is entitled to redress, even if her help was not asked for or it was later found that there was no danger. Rule 62.1(c) and World Sailing Case 20
Penalty action
A boat whose score has been made significantly worse by the actions of a boat against which a penalty has been imposed under rule 2 or disciplinary action has been taken under rule 69.1(b) may be granted redress. Rule 62.1(d)
Redress Given
When the protest committee is satisfied that the request meets these requirements, it must make as fair an arrangement as possible; it has no power to decide not to make an arrangement when the requirements have been met. As the dictionary definition of “redress” is “to put right again” and the redress under this rule is based on a boat’s score having been made worse the only redress that can be given is to put the boat or boats scores right again. Rule 64.2 states this may be to adjust the scoring (see rule A10 for some examples) or the finishing times of boats, to abandon the race, to let the results stand or to make some other arrangement. In this instance, the reference to some other arrangement solely refers to some other arrangement under which the boat’s score or scores are adjusted.

When it appears during the hearing that the requirements of rule 62 will be met it is often helpful to ask the parties what redress they believe would be appropriate.

Although the protest committee is under no obligation to take these opinions into consideration, it is often enlightening.

When only one boat, or very few, have requested redress and their requests are found to have fulfilled the requirements of rule 62, the most equitable decision is rarely to abandon a race. Abandonment should be an option of last resort. If the fairest arrangement would be to abandon the race the protest committee must first take evidence from appropriate sources which could include all boats that have entered the race.

It is useful and enlightening, and often a requirement in order to fulfill its obligation under rule 64.2, for the protest committee to obtain evidence from other boats not involved in the request for redress.

When deciding what redress best fulfils the protest committee’s obligation to make, “as fair an arrangement as possible for all boats affected”, refer to the scoring adjustments in Appendix A10.

Mark rounding positions and boat timings may prove helpful. Sometimes the fairest arrangement is to do nothing.
Guidelines to types of redress that may be given
Average points: This is often used when a boat entitled to redress has been unable to finish the race in question. It is suitable only for boats competing in a series of races in which there are at least five races and in the interests of fairness the number of races for which average points are granted would rarely exceed twenty per cent and never exceed 50% of the number of races sailed in the series. Usually all races other than those or which redress is being granted are used for calculating the average points, however, in longer series consideration could be given to excluding a boat worse score from the average calculation. In major events, consideration may also be given to excluding the last race, or the last day of the series, from the average points calculation. In his way, competitors know the exact progress scores of all boats going into the final race or final day so they can devise their tactics and strategies.

If a majority of races in a series have already been completed the average points could be determined on the basis of her points for all races completed before the race in question.

Position of boat at time of incident: Points can be awarded based on the position of the boat in that race at the time of the incident. This method would rarely be used if the incident was early in the race and should never be used unless the positions of the boats in the race have become well established.

Finishing times: If the time lost by a boat in an incident can be reasonably determined the boat’s score could be adjusted by awarding points equal to the finishing position the boat would have had if that time was deducted from its elapsed time for the race. Protest committees must be careful to follow Case 110 and not grant redress for time or places lost during contact or an incident, but rather ONLY grant redress for time or places lost because of the boat’s slower progress caused by the injury or damage.

Other arrangements: If a boat’s score can’t be fairly adjusted using the above arrangements some other method of redressing its score could be appropriate. For example, in a two of a kind mixed fleet race it could be considered fair to give that boat points equal to the other boat of its same kind.

Abandonment: Abandoning a race should only be used as an option of last resort where no fair arrangement can be determined for all boats affected. This is important because to abandon a race may be unfair to those boats that won or finished the race on their own merits.

Qualifying and final series: Where a series consists of a qualifying and final series it is important that any redress given should relate to and be based on results relevant to that part of the series in which the incident occurred.

Remember rule 64.2 states that the protest committee SHALL make as fair an arrangement as possible for all boats affected.
Pre-Race Requests for Redress
Any requests for redress in respect of rule 76, Exclusion of Boats or Competitors, should be heard at the first reasonable opportunity before a race or series commences. Any such claim could only relate to an alleged improper action or omission by the Organizing Authority or Race Committee.

As the only other action taken by the Organizing Authority or RC at this stage is to publish the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions, the grounds could only be based on the possibility that these documents were either incomplete, contradictory or did not comply with the rules. Therefore, these requests for redress are more likened to requests to the Organizing Authority for clarification or interpretation of their documents. In cases like this, the Organizing Authority often ask the Protest Committee for their advice; but they are not bound to comply with this advice.

If the Organizing Authority asked the Protest Committee to conduct a hearing in respect of these requests and they agreed to be bound by the Protest Committee decisions, there is no reason why this should not be done. As long as the Protest Committee’s decision complies with the rules, competitors could not object or protest against this procedure as the Organizing Authority is the ultimate body that sets the parameters and conditions for the race or series.
Requests for redress for alleged race committee error in scoring a boat OCS, ZFP or UFD or BFD
Boats sometimes challenge the race committee’s decision to score them OCS, ZFP, UFD or BFD by requesting redress under RRS 62.1(a).

For a boat to be given redress, she must provide evidence that the race committee has made an error. Video evidence or the relative positions of two boats scored differently rarely proves that the race committee has made an error. It is the responsibility of the boat requesting the use of video evidence to supply the video and the equipment on which to view it. Replaying the video on a small video camera screen would usually be unacceptable. In finding the facts, the protest committee will be governed by the weight of evidence using balance of probabilities as the standard of proof. See World Sailing Case 136.
Addendum Q (Medal Races)
In races conducted using Addendum Q a boat’s entitlement to obtain redress is changed. Race officials and the protest committee should download the latest version of Addendum Q from the World Sailing website.
Appendix B (Windsurfing Competition Rules)
Protest committees need to use Appendix B7 which modifies the protest and redress rules applicable to windsurfing competitions.
Appendix F (Kiteboarding Competition Rules)
Protest committees need to use Appendix F5 which modifies the protest and redress rules applicable to kiteboarding competitions.
Hearings Involving Support Persons
Support Persons include a range of people who provide support to competitors and their boats at regattas:

Any person who
(a) Provides or may provide, physical or advisory support to a competitor including any coach, trainer, manager, team staff, medic, paramedic or any other person working with, treating or assisting a competitor in or preparing for the competition, or 

(b) Is the parent or guardian of a competitor.

Support persons are bound by the rules. This is agreed by each competitor and boat owner on their behalf. In addition, the support person agrees to accept the RRS, by providing support, or as the parent or guardian who permits their child to enter a race.
Procedures for a Hearing for a Support Person
The protest committee may call a hearing to consider whether a support person has broken a rule that applies to them. Most commonly, the allegation is of a breach of a rule in the SIs or NoR, or Support Team Regulations that are in effect at the event. The protest committee may call this hearing based on its own observation or on information received from any source. This could include evidence taken during a hearing. The allegation could also be an act of misconduct under RRS 69, as discussed later in this section.

To initiate the hearing, the allegation of the breach must be in writing, typically describing the incident, including when and where it occurred, and the rule that is believed to have been broken. The support person must be notified of the details of the alleged beach. This information is typically provided on the Request for Hearing form.

The support person is a party to the hearing. In addition, by definition, all boats associated with the support person are also parties to the hearing. The Request for Hearing form should identify all boats associated with the support person as parties to the hearing. Present the support person with a copy of the Request for Hearing form to provide them with the details of the alleged breach. Make copies available at the jury desk for the associated boats.

The protest committee must notify the support person and all boats associated with the support person, of the time and place of the hearing. The notification must be timely once the protest committee is aware of the alleged breach. Notification may be on the Official Notice Board, if the Sailing Instructions so permit. The hearing for the support person may be scheduled with the protest and redress hearings.

At times, the protest committee will bring the allegation against the support person, especially when based on their own observations. In this case, it is prudent for one member to step off of the protest committee and not participate in the protest committee’s decision. Alternatively, the protest committee may appoint another person to present the allegation at the hearing. This approach ensures that the protest committee is independent of the person who presents the allegations at the hearing.

The support person and all associated boats are entitled to attend the hearing as parties. If some or all boats do not attend, the hearing may proceed in their absence if they have been duly notified. Give all parties reasonable time to prepare for the hearing.

At the hearing, follow the procedures for protest hearings. Check for a conflict of interest of any member of the protest committee. Take evidence from the parties, hear their witnesses and allow for questions to the parties and their witnesses. The exception to usual protest procedure is that validity requirements do not apply.

Penalizing a Support Person
The protest committee will decide if the support person broke a rule that applies to him or her. If the allegation is found to be true on balance of probabilities, and is found as a fact, the protest committee has a range of penalties that may be given to the support person. It may issue a warning, or for more serious breaches, exclude the person from the event or venue or remove any privileges or benefits of the event or venue. This exclusion may be for a limited time, such as for one race or one day, or for an extended period up to the end of the event. Consider also whether to exclude the support person from social events within the venue or outside of the venue. Decide further, whether the support person would be permitted to return to the venue after the event to pack up gear. Before recommending that the Organizing Authority remove accreditation from a support person, be sure whether it is needed to access meals that have already been paid, or to enter the athlete’s village to sleep. It may also take other action within its jurisdiction provided by the Rules.

The World Sailing Discretionary Penalties for Support Persons and Boats Policy (DPI) provides protests committees with guidance on penalties related to the rule that applies. By using the logic model in this Policy, protest committees may be consistent in penalizing for similar breaches across events. Not all rules in the Policy will apply at every regatta. It is important for the protest committee to stay within its jurisdiction in giving the penalty.
Penalizing a Boat for a Breach by a Support Person
If a support person is penalized in a hearing, the protest committee will also decide whether to issue a warning to the boats associated with the support person. This decision is normally considered during the hearing by inviting the boats to make representation as to whether a warning should be issued or not. The advantage of a warning to the boat is that the boat is put on notice that they are exposed to a penalty related to the conduct of their support person.

However, a warning is not mandatory, and the circumstances of the support person’s actions must be considered.

If the protest committee decides to issue the warning, as is normally done, they will include the warning in the written decision for the hearing.

Standard wording where the boats supported are sail numbers 1572, 1539, 1600 and 1602 and the support person is Chris Black:

“Boats 1572, 1539, 1600 and 1602 are warned that a further breach by support person, Chris Black may result in a penalty being imposed on the boats.”

It is prudent for the protest committee to post the decision along with the warning to the boats that are supported on the official notice board. This provides sufficient warning to the boats, even if they did not attend the hearing. 

A protest committee may also penalize a boat that is a party to a hearing about a support person under certain conditions in the rules. However, they will not automatically do so.

One condition for penalizing boats is that the boats may have gained a competitive advantage as a result of the breach by the support person. In these cases, there is usually a good reason to protest the boat as well. If possible, the rule alleged to have been broken in the protest will be the same rule the support person is alleged to have broken. Otherwise, the protest committee can use an associated rule. Examples include protesting a boat for outside assistance, or for a breach of a class rule when the boat has been modified, or when the support person has interfered with other boats that are racing.

Since the protest and the action against the support person arise out of the same incident, they can be heard together in the same hearing.

A second condition for penalizing boats for a breach of a support person is that the support person has committed a further breach after the protest committee has warned the boat in writing, that a penalty may be imposed. The further breach could involve the same rule or a different rule.

If either of these conditions are met, then the protest committee may penalize boats that are party to the hearing by changing their scores in a single race, up to and including DSQ. The boats may be penalized, even if they did not attend the hearings.
Appeals by a Support Person or Boats he Supports
All boats associated with the support person are parties to the hearing. Therefore, they all have the right to appeal the decision of the protest committee the right of appeal has been denied. The protest committee would provide a copy of their decision in writing to any parties who request. This would include the support person and boats he or she supports.
Allegations of a Support Person’s Misconduct
The protest committee may also call a hearing for a support person who is alleged to have committed misconduct in breach of RRS 69.1. In this case, the protest committee would follow the procedures in RRS 69.2. The World Sailing Misconduct Guidance 2017 is also a good resource for protest committees who investigate and conduct hearings about misconduct. Chapter N [WSJM - N] of this manual addressing Rule 69 provides further details of protest committees’ procedures and responsibilities.

If the allegation against the support person is misconduct, the boats that he or she supports are also parties to the hearing. While they are not alleged to have committee misconduct themselves, they are subject to penalties if conditions are met.
Requests to Reopen
Any party to the hearing may request a re-opening of the hearing. In cases where the request for redress was from the Race Committee or the Technical Committee, or considered by the Protest Committee under rule 60.3(b), according to the definition of Party, this is a boat requesting redress or for which redress is requested. All other boats are “affected” boats but they are not Parties.

The word “may” in the first sentence of rule 66 means that there is no absolute obligation on the protest committee to reopen. A protest committee should re-open a hearing when either one of the two requirements of rule 66 is met. One is when the protest committee decides that it may have made a significant error. The other is when significant new evidence which was not available at the time of the original hearing becomes available within a reasonable time.

That said, it is not in the best interests of the event to allow an unsuccessful party a reopening only for the purpose of re-stating an argument or testimony that had already been considered. In those circumstances, a reopening would be unreasonably burdensome to the protest committee and to the other parties involved.

Errors by the protest committee that should lead to a reopening include improper procedures or misapplication of a rule. The protest committee might decide that a key conclusion was not supported by the facts. More often, a hearing is reopened when a mistake was made in the interpretation of a rule.

For a hearing to be reopened to consider new evidence, the evidence must be both new and significant. Rule M4 and World Sailing Case 115 provide an Interpretation of the word ‘new’ as used in rule 66. The criteria provided by this Case states:
Evidence is ‘new’
  • if it was not reasonably possible for the party asking for the reopening to have discovered the evidence before the original hearing
  • if the protest committee is satisfied that before the original hearing the evidence was diligently but unsuccessfully sought by the party asking for the reopening, or
  • if the protest committee learns from any source that the evidence was not available to the parties at the time of the original hearing

Significant evidence means evidence that bears directly and substantially upon the specific matter under consideration and which is neither cumulative nor redundant. Cumulative evidence is additional evidence of the same character as existing evidence and that supports a fact established in the previous hearing, especially a fact that does not need further support. Significant evidence must be relevant to the decision and which leads to a reasonable possibility that, when viewed in the context of all the evidence, the outcome of the case will change.

A party to a hearing has an obligation under the rules to prepare for the hearing, to locate witnesses, to collect evidence in advance of the hearing, and to request a postponement if it is needed, as described in rule 63.2. If a witness or other evidence is known to exist but cannot be obtained in time for the hearing, it is the responsibility of the party to ask for additional time. The scribe will record any such request. For example, a new witness presented after the hearing is closed, is rarely considered “new evidence” unless the party made the protest committee aware of the witness before or during the original hearing, or unless the witness and his testimony were unknown to the party. When a party does not search for witnesses or does not ask the protest committee for a postponement, any later request to reopen to hear a “new” witness will rarely be granted.

If, however, the party attended the hearing and requested a postponement or extension of time to locate a witness, a subsequent request to reopen may meet the test of rule 66 and the protest committee will likely want to reopen the hearing.

Photographic and video graphic evidence that is claimed to be new can and should undergo a preview by some or all of the members to establish that the evidence is new, material and not cumulative. The chairman will usually assign two or three members to view the evidence and report back to the protest committee. If the evidence is appropriate and pertinent, or if there is any doubt, the members will refer the evidence to the full protest committee.

The protest committee could also learn itself of significant new evidence, and decide to reopen the hearing. If any new evidence is to be considered, the parties have a right to be present under rule 63.3. In addition, the parties have the right under rule 63.6 to question any new witnesses.

If a party requests a reopening, the protest committee must decide if the request to reopen is valid. There is a time limit for requests to reopen a hearing. Under rule 66, a party has up to 24 hours after being informed of the protest hearing decision to ask for a reopening. On the last scheduled day of racing, the time limit is shorter.

If the request is timely, the protest committee must decide, from the reasons given by the requesting party, if it has or may have made a significant error or if there is significant new evidence. The initial presentation by the requesting party should be limited to the reasons for reopening, not to any new evidence. The rules are silent on the subject, but if the other parties are available it is a good idea to have them present during this initial fact-finding.

If the protest committee decides there is sufficient reason to reopen, it must notify the parties of its decision. When the hearing will be reopened, the protest committee must provide the same notification that is required for a protest hearing. In addition, a majority of the members of the original protest committee should, if possible, be members of the original protest committee.

At a reopened hearing, the procedural rules of Part 5 apply, particularly, rule 63.6. The protest committee shall take the evidence of the parties present at the hearing and of their witnesses and other evidence it considers necessary. Parties may also ask questions. The protest committee proceeds as it would in any other hearing.

If the protest committee decides on its own that it may have made a significant error, it may, without taking any new evidence, revise its decision without the parties present. There is no time limit for the protest committee to reconsider its decision. When the protest committee changes its decision, it shall inform the parties in accordance with rule 65.1. This can be done by posting the revised decision or by delivering copies of the decision to the parties to the hearing.

It is always up to the protest committee to decide whether a request to open is granted. The examples above of situations where a protest committee may grant a reopening, are only a guide, and should only be used as such.

The protest committee may also reopen a hearing under rule 63.3(b) when it had decided a protest without a party present, but later found that the party was unavoidably absent. That hearing would begin anew, rehearing all evidence previously presented.

If the national authority’s decision in an appeal is to reopen the hearing using rule 71.2 or R5, the reopening proceeds with the evidence and witnesses that the parties bring, and with any other evidence the protest committee considers necessary.

When a hearing is reopened, rule 66 advises that a majority of the members of the protest committee shall, if possible, be members of the original protest committee.
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