Section N
Rule 2 and Rule 69
Rule 2 Fair Sailing
Rule 2 is one of seven fundamental rules of sailing. The Case Book gives guidance as to what actions may be considered a breach of this rule and the principles of sportsmanship and fair play. A boat, a protest committee, technical committee or race committee may protest under this rule. 

A boat may be penalized only when it is clearly established that this rule has been broken. The penalty is either disqualification or a disqualification that is not excludable from a boat’s series score (DNE). 

A protest committee may disqualify a boat for a breach of rule 2 even though it is not mentioned in the protest (second sentence of rule 64.1).  Rule 2 does not have the procedural and formal safeguards of rule 69.  When the protest committee is considering that the competitor’s action may also be a breach of rule 2, it should explain the potential breach of sportsmanship and give the boat an opportunity to address the issue before it makes a decision. 

Case 138 advises that an action that is considered to be an act of misconduct and that does not directly affect the competition should be subject to action under rule 69
Rule 69 Hearings
We recommend the reader to review the World Sailing Misconduct Guidance 2017. It is a complete reference work for all race officials – in particular, judges and protest committees, based on the World Sailing Racing Rules of Sailing 2017-2020. 

Rule 69 hearings are separate and different from other hearings in four main ways: 
  • an action under rule 69 is not a protest; 
  •  an action under rule 69 is against a competitor, a boat owner or a support person, not a boat; 
  •  an action under rule 69 may be initiated only by a protest committee; 
  •  on receiving a report, the protest committee has discretion as to whether to proceed to a hearing or not. 

The protest committee initiates a rule 69 hearing either on its own, or after receiving an oral or written report from anyone, including a person who is not involved in the regatta.

Note: Major international events (as defined by World Sailing Regulation 35) have very different procedures under rule 69.  Since this Manual does not cover these procedures, it is important to refer to the Regulation if involved with misconduct issues at one of these events. 
When the Protest Committee Should Initiate Action Under Rule 69 Hearing
Standards of ethical behavior among sailors throughout the world vary greatly, and it is not the responsibility of International or National Judges to educate individuals in the subject of moral behavior. Under rule 69.1(a) a competitor, boat owner and support person shall not commit misconduct, being conduct that is a breach of good manners, sportsmanship or unethical behavior, or conduct bringing the sport into disrepute. 

Such actions are addressed through two rules. Rule 2 requires that a boat, her owner and crew shall compete in compliance with recognized principles of sportsmanship and fair play. Rule 69 prohibits misconduct and describes the procedure for the protest committee to adopt, should a competitor, boat owner or support person commit such an act of misconduct. 

It is essential to the healthy development of the sport that severe penalties be imposed on competitors, boat owners or support persons who knowingly infringe a racing rule. Protest committees should take action under rule 69 if a competitor deliberately breaks a rule for his or her own advancement or if a deliberate breach results in injury, or if a competitor cheats, lies at a hearing, or behaves in any way that brings the sport into disrepute. Protest committees should also take action under rule 69 if the actions of support persons might affect the fairness of the competition or seriously affects people’s enjoyment of the sport. 
Who Can be Subject to a Rule 69 Hearing
Rule 69 uses the terms, competitor, boat owner and support person; this means any boat owner and any crew member and any support person.  

Support persons are bound by the rules because the competitor agrees on behalf of the support person to be bound by the rules (rule 3.2).  In addition, a parent or guardian who enters their child in a race thereby agrees to be bound by the rules (rule 3.1(b)). 

A parent or other support person might object to a rule 69 hearing on the grounds that the competitor did not have authority to bind the support person to comply with the rules, and that he or she did not know that providing support would bind the person.   

A way to deal with this is to point out to the support person that, if that is so, the competitor broke rule 3.2 and must be disqualified.  The limitation of a disqualification in a single race in rule 64.4(b) does not apply to the breach by the competitor of rule 3.2.  In most cases that will cause the support person to accept that he or she is bound.   

It is important that the protest committee considers this point as a preliminary issue and whether, on the facts it finds, the support person is bound to the rules.  If the protest committee is convinced that the support person was indeed bound (such as the case of a coach which would be expected to know the rules, including the provisions of rule 3.1 and 3.2), it should proceed with the rule 69 hearing.  If the protest committee determines the support person is not bound to the rules, then it cannot proceed against them and must turn its consideration to the competitor’s compliance with rule 3.2 
The Time and Place of the Misconduct
The act of misconduct must be associated with the event. It would therefore normally occur within the period immediately prior to the event, commencing with the competitor’s arrival at the venue for the purpose of the event and may extend beyond their departure from the venue. Thus, a protest committee is not at liberty to hold a rule 69 hearing to address alleged misconduct by a competitor which happened before the beginning of the event, unless the misconduct relates to the event.  For example, before an event, a competitor may threaten to do something at the event, or do something to prevent another competitor to partake in an event, such as deliberately damaging another competitor’s boat.  Such an act, even though it happened before the event, will be sufficiently closely connected to the event to say that the person is a competitor. 

The place where the act of misconduct occurred is irrelevant. For example, a competitor who was involved in an assault during a fight in a public place unrelated to the venue of the regatta, but brings the sport into disrepute because the public associates the competitor with the event. He or she could be the subject of a rule 69 hearing. If that fight took place between the competitor and someone unrelated to the regatta, in private or in public, without the public knowing the competitor was competing in the regatta, it would probably not be appropriate for a protest committee to initiate a rule 69 hearing. 
Preparation by the Protest Committee
Before a protest committee convenes a rule 69 hearing, it should first prepare itself. The protest committee will try to get a clear view about the meaning of rule 69 and the procedure to follow.  

Start reading rule 69 carefully. Discuss the implications of the rule and discuss the potential infringement. 

Read Rule M5 again, and the World Sailing Misconduct Guidance and ensure you are knowledgeable of the procedure to follow. Think about what might happen during the hearing and what your answers will be. Plan the procedure within the protest committee, delegating tasks among the members; one chairs the hearing, another person is the scribe.  

If the hearing involves juniors or youths, make arrangements, if possible, that a parent, guardian or coach is present as a witness to the proceedings. Also refer to Section D, Judges and Junior Sailors. 
Appointing an Investigator (Rule 69.2(c) and (d)
The protest committee may appoint an investigator when they do not have sufficient information to decide whether to call a hearing or not. The purpose of the investigator is to ensure that the protest committee is independent, and that their judgment is not influenced by information obtained during the investigation.  

If possible, the investigator should be familiar with the procedures of Rule 69. He or she may be a member of the protest committee, or another race official or member of the organizing authority. However, the investigator, whether one of the protest committee or not, is prohibited from partaking in any further decisions made by the protest committee in the case. 

It is important that the investigator keeps a written record of all the evidence he or she obtains. Rule 69.2(d) deals with the disclosure of the information gathered by the investigator, an essential element in the fairness of any subsequent procedures. Fairness and rule 69.2(d) dictate that the investigator must disclose all information that it gathers, favorable and unfavorable, to protest committee and, if a hearing is called, to the parties.  
The investigator may be appointed by the protest committee under rule 69.2(e)(2) to present the allegation in the hearing. If appointed under this rule, the investigator will gain the status of a Party. 
Informing the Person in Writing
Prepare the written statement of allegations that you will give to the person who is accused of the rule 69 violation. Make the allegations as detailed as possible, and include the time and place of the hearing (rule 69.2(a)). 

Should the protest committee learn of the evidence of misconduct during a protest hearing, rule 69 cannot be addressed in that hearing. The protest committee must prepare the written allegation after that hearing is closed, and promptly deliver the statement to the competitor. Even if the competitor gives approval to proceed with the hearing immediately, wait. The competitor must be given a reasonable time to prepare a defense. Schedule the rule 69 hearing leaving enough time for the competitor to review the allegations, gather witnesses and find a person to provide support during the hearing. This is often only the following day. 

The written notice in terms of rule 69.2 should state the alleged specific act or acts of misconduct. It is not sufficient to state that the person committed an act of misconduct by committing a breach of good manners, without saying what the misconduct is. The description of the misconduct should be specific. 

The notice should be detailed. For example, state that “immediately after the decision was announced, the competitor stated in a loud voice that the decision was wrong, and called the members of the protest committee ‘idiots’ and that they have ‘no clue what they are doing’”. It is not sufficient to write, “the competitor said that the decision of a protest committee is wrong”. 

Where foul language is used, the notice should either quote the language or describe it clearly. For example, that the allegation of, “using vulgar language indicating sexual intercourse.” Do not merely say that the competitor used “insulting language” without quoting or paraphrasing the language. 

A good test is whether a dispassionate outsider will understand the notice and would agree that the alleged conduct is misconduct. 

The notice should also allege the time, place and identity of other persons involved, if known. 

It is preferable to be specific regarding the act of misconduct so that there is no possible misunderstanding by the competitor.  Remember that a finding at the end of the hearing cannot be of misconduct, other than that alleged in the notice.  If the evidence at the hearing differs materially from what is alleged in the notice, the hearing should be adjourned to give a further written statement of allegations and time to prepare.  An alternative is to inform the competitor or other person that a finding might be made in respect of this additional misconduct, and ask whether he or she requires additional time to prepare and gather evidence in this regard.  Record that this was done. This record should form part of the report made in terms of rule 69.2(j). 
Examples of Cause for Initiation of a Rule 69 Hearing
Only when there is evidence at hand that indicates a realistic prospect that misconduct has occurred should a rule 69 hearing be initiated.  It should also be in the interests of the sport to initiate a hearing. For example, misconduct by a junior sailor might not justify a hearing if a lesser and more appropriate form of intervention can be made.  

However, in most cases this test will clearly be met. 
  • Breach of good manners: Whether conduct is a breach of good manners will depend much upon whether other people, such as competitors, officials or the public, are offended by the behavior. What might be acceptable behavior in one situation may be unacceptable in another. The common use of foul language on television makes it difficult for some young people to realize how offensive such language may be to others. Persons who do not speak the language spoken at the regatta as their first language might also have less understanding of the offensiveness of specific terms. This is a difficult area to be judged consistently. Swearing directed at an individual could be considered differently from expressions of frustration that is not directed to any individual.  
  •  Breach of good sportsmanship: This includes cheating (acting to gain an advantage by infringing rule 2), lying at a hearing, etc. Unlike protests where it is assumed that if there is a rule infringement it was not done on purpose; the person’s intentions or attitude, if it was reckless, can be important in deciding whether conduct is a breach of good sportsmanship. 

Examples of occasions when action under rule 69 would be appropriate, should the protest committee become aware of evidence, are presented in Case 138. Some include:  
  • lying at a hearing; 
  • knowingly infringing a rule with intent to gain an unfair advantage;  
  • threatening behavior, or physical contact; 
  • falsifying measurement documents; 
  • failure to comply with a reasonable request of a race official; 
  • deliberately damaging another boat; 
  • abuse of officials; 
  • theft; 
  • offensive drunken behavior; 
  • fighting. 
The Hearing
During the hearing, follow the procedures meticulously.  Any doubt as to the correct procedure should be resolved in favour of the course of action which presents the greatest fairness to the competitor. 

It is especially important at a rule 69 hearing to maintain an atmosphere of formality and to ensure that the competitor is given ample opportunity to answer the allegations. It is important that a written account is kept of the proceedings. The hearing must be held in accordance with rules 63.2, 63.3, 63.4, and 63.6.  

The protest committee should consider making an electronic recording of the hearing.  Such a recording is often very useful if there is a dispute later as to what happened at the hearing or what evidence was given.  This is particularly so where there might be further proceedings by World Sailing or an MNA under Regulation 35 or proceedings before CAS. 

If a recording is to be made, consent to the recording must be obtained from the competitor, boat owner or support person and any witnesses prior to commencement of the hearing. In addition, it is also necessary to inform about the duration of the recording and the institutions, to which it is to be distributed, in advance. If one of these persons does not agree, a record of her or his statement shall not be made. If only the consent of the parties has been given, but not that of a witness, the hearing but not the testimony of the witness can be recorded. In some nations a recording made without a person's consent is a criminal offence and the power to do so is generally reserved exclusively for law enforcement agencies (prosecutors and police). A protest committee is not a law enforcement agency. The protest committee has only the possibility of verbal or analogous written record of the statement, if the personal consent to the electronic record is not given.  

A party is entitled to a copy of the recording if required for an appeal or further proceedings. In that case, the party must first agree that the recording will only be used for that purpose, and that its confidentiality will be respected. After expiration of the duration of the recording, and in particular if no appeal or further proceedings have taken place, all persons recorded are entitled to a cancellation of the recording. Upon written request, the entitled person must be informed about the institutions to which the record was distributed. An alternative to providing the recording is to order a transcript of the recording via a commercial provider. 

An act of misconduct may be a breach of a rule, good manners or sportsmanship, or conduct that brings the sport into disrepute.  Rule 69.2(g) requires that the protest committee find to its “comfortable satisfaction” bearing in mind the seriousness of the alleged conduct, whether or not the competitor has broken rule 69.1(a). The following explanation of this standard of proof is based on World Sailing Case 122. Two standards of proof are defined and used in hearings as follows: 

  • Balance of probabilities is also known as ‘preponderance of the evidence’.  With this standard of proof, the evidence must be assessed on the basis of whether a particular fact is more likely to have happened than not.  There can be some evidence that supports the allegation and other evidence that is conflicting.  The decision is based on the majority of the evidence.  This is the standard protest committees work to when considering protests or requests for redress. 

  • Comfortable Satisfaction is greater than the ‘balance of probabilities’. In a rule 69 hearing, the protest committee must answer ‘Yes’ to both of the following questions before it warns or penalizes a competitor or boat under rule 69.2(h) or69.2(i): 

Is the committee comfortably satisfied that the facts found establish that the alleged conduct occurred? 

Is the committee comfortably satisfied that the conduct that occurred was misconduct? 

The requirement that the protest committee must be comfortably satisfied does not mean that all of them needs to be so satisfied.  It is sufficient if a majority of them are so satisfied. 

The standard of proof may have been varied by a National Prescription with the consent of World Sailing. 

Comfortable satisfaction is a standard used by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), as well as in doping cases. 
Mitigating and Aggravating Circumstances
Once the protest committee decides that the person has committed an act of misconduct, they will consider whether to give a penalty. In doing so, the protest committee should also consider whether there are any mitigating circumstances that may lead to reducing the penalty, and aggravating circumstances that may lead to a more severe penalty than is typical for similar misconduct. 

Consider whether any remorse is for the misconduct, rather than for the penalty that might be given. Take into consideration any sincere and unprompted apology in relation to an incident that seems to be impulsive or spontaneous. 
In the past, competitors have made threats against protest committees, such as threatening to sue the committee members for libel or defamation. The dictionary definition of libel is, 'the publication of defamatory matter in permanent form, as by a written or permanent statement, picture, etc.' 

It is the personal responsibility of a race official to ensure that appropriate insurance policies are in place to cover their work (whether this is through the organizing authority, MNA, etc.).  World Sailing does not provide insurance for World Sailing Race Officials. 

It might be appropriate in some countries for protest committee members to be insured against costs arising out of civil court proceedings. Although action brought by a competitor might fail, the costs of defense might be considerable. 

Under rule 3, each competitor, boat owner and support person agrees to be governed by the racing rules and to accept the penalties imposed or other action taken, subject to appeal and review procedures. Nonetheless, courts in some countries state that they have a greater authority than the racing rules to decide on decisions from a protest committee under rule 69.  
Party Fails to Attend
Rule 69.2(f) states that, if the competitor provides good reasons for being unable to attend the hearing, the protest committee shall reschedule it.  

Rule 69.2(f) states that, if the competitor does not provide a good reason for being unable to attend the hearing and does not come to it, the protest committee may conduct it without the competitor present. If the committee proceeds without the competitor, and penalizes the competitor, it shall include in its report under rule 69.2(j), the facts found and the decision and the reasons for it. 

Under rule 69.2(k), if the protest committee chooses not to conduct the hearing without the competitor present, or if the hearing cannot be scheduled for a time and place when it would be reasonable for the competitor to attend, the protest committee shall collect all available information and, if the allegation seems justified, make a report to the relevant national authorities. If the protest committee is appointed by the World Sailing under rule 89.2(c), it shall send a copy of the report to the World Sailing. 

Rule 69.2(k) applies when the protest committee has left the event and a report alleging a breach of rule 69.1(a) is received. The race committee or organizing authority may appoint a new protest committee to proceed under this rule.
Case Dismissal
After a hearing, if it is found that the allegation of misconduct is not proven, the protest committee should make this quite clear. The news of a rule 69 hearing will have spread throughout the regatta, and it is important that the competitor’s name is cleared publicly. 
A rule 69 hearing does not have to result in the imposition of a penalty if the allegation of misconduct is proven; a warning may be given. A warning may suffice after, for example, a minor act of misconduct followed by an apology for the misconduct. A warning or a penalty equal or less than one DNE shall not normally be reported to any national authority (see discussion of rule 69.2(j)(3) below).  If a person is excluded from an event or venue it must report the penalty to the national authority. 

The protest committee may exclude a competitor and their boat, when suitable, from further participation in an event or series. The maximum penalty would be to disqualify the competitor from the entire regatta, since the protest committee has no power to penalize outside the event over which it has jurisdiction. 

The protest committee may also take any action within its jurisdiction (provided that this is set out in the rules). 

No publication of the outcome should normally be made, other than the usual hearing result on the official notice board (see the World Sailing Misconduct Guidance for suggested wording). 
Reporting the Details of the Hearing in the World Sailing Regatta Report
The Chairman's Regatta Report Form for an international jury (at should record whether or not a penalty was imposed. Sufficient details should be included for a reader to understand why the decision was made. Names must be excluded.  
Appealing the Decision
The competitor may appeal a decision only if the protest committee was not a properly constituted International Jury or a protest committee from which the right of appeal was denied under rule 70.5.  
Reporting to National Authorities
A person against whom a finding was made is entitled to a copy of the proceedings to prepare an appeal, or his defense before another body (such as his Member National Authority or World Sailing) who might impose a further penalty. 

A warning is not a penalty.  When a penalty less than or equal to one DNE is imposed, no report to any national authority is required. 

When a penalty greater than one DNE is imposed, the case must be reported to the national authority of the person involved, or in specific instances, to World Sailing instead of the national authority. The report should be detailed, since the national authority will rely on it to decide whether to investigate the matter further. It is useful for the protest committee to recommend whether a further penalty is appropriate. Make this report as soon as possible, so important issues are not forgotten and so that the competitor can know whether further sanctions might follow.  It is also important for other persons to see that the matter is dealt with promptly.  Undue delay in reporting such matters brings the administration of discipline in the sport into disrepute.  A copy of the report should be given to the competitor. 

Rule 69.2(j)(3) allows the protest committee to report its decision to a national authority in any other case it considers appropriate.  This could include a case where the protest committee has imposed a penalty of one DNE or less.  However, the protest committee should exercise this power very carefully and explain its reasons to the competitor.  It would be unusual for a protest committee to make a discretionary report where it has not imposed a penalty that is within its powers.  There must be a reason for involving the national authority or World Sailing which cannot be addressed by the protest committee at the event.  In particular, the protest committee should not make a report just because it does not wish to deal with a difficult misconduct issue. 
Action by the National Authority
When the protest committee is required to make a report to the National Authority, provide as much information and evidence as is practically possible while events are fresh in the minds of witnesses, to assist another disciplinary body to come to the best decision at a later time.  This might include recording the evidence as it is given to the protest committee. 
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