Section D
Judges and Junior Sailors
Junior sailors comprise a major group of participants in our sport. This section helps judges understand their role in the context of the development of young sailors. The underlying principle is that all junior sailors receive the greatest possible value from their participation in the sport and are encouraged to remain in sailing over a long period of time. This section discusses issues arising in youth events ranging from local club racing to international events posing unique cross-cultural challenges and opportunities.

Junior sailors have varying needs and interests. They will be at very different levels of competence, experience and knowledge of the rules.

Race officials, coaches and parents at an event are in positions of leadership and trust and therefore have a responsibility to present the sport to the sailors in a way that maximizes their participation, enjoyment, security and satisfaction. Coaches have multiple roles, not only the support of their sailors ashore or on the water, but also in communication, race management, rescue and protest proceedings.

When a young sailor is exposed to harm, injury, harassment, bullying or a similar negative experience, the enjoyment of sailing is compromised, with the potential for the sailor dropping out of the sport. Young sailors must also learn how to take responsibility for their own safety and the safety of others.

Officials at events with junior sailors should be aware of ethical issues in sport. Of particular concern are doping, child abuse, spectator violence, sexual assault and misconduct, lack of respect for race officials and other competitors, and undue parental pressure on young children.

Judges should be aware of any policies that a class may have with regard to protest procedures.
Definition of Junior Sailors
The racing rules do not prescribe any age breakdown of sailors. However, certain class associations prescribe age groups for racing and protest procedures, based on the traditions and policies of their class.

For the purpose of this section, it is considered that junior sailors are generally aged from about 9 to 18 years old, though some classes include competitors aged 19.

Judges need to adapt their communication styles to the individual behavior of junior sailors. Since chronological age may be a poor indicator of maturity, an age-dependent approach may not be good developmental practice. A more appropriate approach is to consider maturity in terms of readiness. Readiness assumes that certain conditions and/or experiences have been accumulated that allow the young person to learn new skills and take in new information. A child or young person’s readiness will depend on his/her:
  • physical readiness, e.g., mastery of fundamental movement skill, growth;
  • social readiness, e.g., sense of self, support and encouragement from parents and friends;
  • motivational readiness, e.g., expressing a desire to participate and/or learn and;
  • cognitive readiness, e.g., ability to understand instruction, rules or tactics, in a relevant language.
Judges’ Role at Junior Regattas
Judges have a significant role to play in ensuring the fairness of the competition and maintaining the confidence of the sailors, coaches and support teams.

Judges should take steps to not only administer the rules but also to assist the sailors and their coaches by interpreting the rules. This approach could contribute to the participants' enjoyment of the sport.

There is need for sensitivity in setting the behavioural expectations for a junior regatta. It is important that sailors of all ages should be respected as individuals, and not patronized.

Decisions and actions by judges can reinforce good behavior on and off the water, and the need to take a penalty after knowingly infringing a rule

Judges can also have a major impact on the future conduct of a sailor. Under no circumstances should sailors be allowed to believe that minor breaches of the rules will be accepted because of their age. Strict and fair instruction at the start of a sailor’s career can have an important educational effect.

During regattas, there may be opportunities to give rules workshops. There can also be opportunities to clarify rule issues with coaches. Such periods might include when sailing is postponed or abandoned and sailors are ashore.
At all regattas judges should focus on making themselves visible, approachable and accessible by the sailors and their support teams, but even more so at junior regattas, where this may be the sailor’s first contact with a protest committee or international jury. It is helpful if the judges are introduced at the sailors’ briefing so that sailors and their coaches can recognize them as the regatta progresses.

When judges are ashore, and are not required for official duties, they should make themselves available to the sailors. This may involve visiting the boat park in pairs, and being available for conversations with sailors, coaches or parents. It is recommended that more than one judge participates in discussions with sailors to avoid any perception of bias, conflict of interest, misunderstanding and other reasons.
Communication with Sailors and Their Coaches
When speaking with sailors, use the sailor’s name, even if you have to ask for his or her name. When explaining rules or interpretations with sailors, where possible, use the vocabulary used in the rules. Do not change the language of the rules because the sailor is young. It is preferable to include the sailor's coach or parent in the conversation, and when available, to ensure that another judge is with you. Have interpreters available at international events, as appropriate.
A significant area where a judge will interface with junior sailors is in the protest room. All sailors, but especially junior sailors, should expect a consistent and fair process, using language they can understand.

The protest hearing should be formal, and the judges should be firm, respectful, and helpful to all participants.

Junior sailors may not have had previous experience in a protest hearing. Ask at the start of the hearing, if this is their first hearing. If it is, the chairman should inform the parties and their coaches and witnesses of the process that will be followed, both initially and as the hearing proceeds.

Judges should use the vocabulary of the rules throughout the hearing and when communicating the facts found, conclusion and decisions. This will avoid misunderstanding.

A younger sailor may not have a full understanding of the terminology, rules and procedures. For example, it may be appropriate to ask questions that using defined terms and giving their meaning as well. “Was your spinnaker ahead of the other boat’s rudder?” may be a better question than, “Were you overlapped?”

Anticipate and arrange for interpreters prior to hearings between sailors with no common language. Where possible, have a judge who speaks the same language as the competitor(s) act as an interpreter. Otherwise, qualified coaches and other team supporters may be used as interpreters.
Observers at hearings should be encouraged, especially at junior regattas. Besides coaches and parents, it is may also be beneficial for other sailors to observe the process; but exclude any person who will be a witness in the hearing. The chairman and organizing authority must arrange to have a room available that will accommodate the number of observers allowed. When the protest committee secretary is scheduling the hearing, the parties should be made aware that observers are welcome.

The normal rules for observers found in Section WSJM - K7 will apply. Make the observers aware of these rules prior to the hearing starting.
Use of the Protest Flag
The racing rules do not require a protest flag for some classes of boats that junior sailors sail. Be aware of the class rules regarding protest flags and any special procedures that a class might have.
Reporting to the Race Committee at the Finish
Some class associations require that the sailing instructions contain the additional requirement that immediately after finishing the boat informs the race committee of her intention to protest and identify the boat protested. This is simple for a race recorder to do, and it avoids the risk of a coach or parent prompting protests after the sailors return to shore.
Some class associations use arbitration with RRS Appendix T at junior events. For a simple boat on boat protest, arbitration provides a process for the parties to resolve protests in a simpler manner and in less time. Provide interpreters, who could be the arbitration judge, as necessary to ensure due process. Observers may be allowed, especially in cross-cultural settings, unless they will be witnesses in any subsequent hearing of the protest.

Rule 42 and Appendix P

The use of judges on the water to monitor compliance with rule 42 should be encouraged at junior regattas. This helps the sailors to understand the mechanics of rule 42 and encourages compliance with other rules.

At some junior regattas, the Two-Turns Penalty is used for all Appendix P penalties. This assists the sailors in understanding what actions are prohibited by rule 42 and allows them to learn from their mistakes. Although the penalties of Appendix P may be relaxed at regattas by a change in the sailing instructions, the standard of rule 42 compliance should not be relaxed and should be judged at a consistently high standard.

Judges must insist that the Two-Turns Penalty or retirement, if required, be completed in compliance with rule 44. When a boat does not complete her penalty, judges should take the appropriate action in Appendix P.

Prior to racing, the jury boats should be on the course and visible. The jury boat(s) should be close to the starting line so that all sailors can see that the judges are on the water and identify the jury boats should they wish to communicate with the judges.

Judges should make themselves available so that the sailors can discuss their actions that led to a penalty. On days with multiple races, the judges should, when practicable, position their boats near the finishing line so that competitors can find them. On single race days, or after the last race of the day, the judges may be approached ashore. Judges should be able to explain the actions of the sailor and why the penalty was given. The judges should refer to the rule that was broken and refer the sailor to the World Sailing Rule 42 Interpretation, if relevant. When the discussion is held ashore it is best practice that two judges discuss the penalty with the sailor and his or her coach or parent, if available. At least one of the judges should have been part of the team that gave the penalty. World Sailing policy is that one judge explains the penalty while the other judge monitors the conversation. Especially with younger sailors, it is important to avoid the perception of the discussion being two judges against one sailor.
Regatta Briefings
At the competitor’s briefing the jury chairman should consider the following, as applicable to the event:
  • Introduce and identify the judges;
  • State that the Protest Committee is here to serve the competitors, and that its prime role is to ensure fairness of the competition;
  • Indicate the Protest Committee’s intention to be afloat observing compliance with rule 42, and advise competitors when and how they can speak with judges or the protest committee;
  • Remind sailors of the location of the official notice board and the location of protest hearing room;
  • Invite observers to protest hearings, as permitted in the rules;
  • Advise sailors that foul or abusive language will not be tolerated;
  • Remind that support persons are subject to the rules as per RRS 3.1(b)
  • Advise sailors that they can approach the members of the Protest Committee at any time on the water, except when racing, or ashore; and
  • Remind sailors that sailing is a self-policing sport, and remind sailors of their obligations under “Sportsmanship and the Rules”;
  • Remind young sailors of the behavior standard that is expected of them in relation to the racing rules, and their relationships with other sailors.
  • If arbitration will be used, briefly explain the process;

For practical reasons (e.g. limited space, number of languages, class tradition), competitors’ briefings at large junior events may be replaced by briefings for coaches or team leaders. Clear instructions to coaches can facilitate good behavior and rule observance by their sailors. It is appropriate for the jury chairman to attend the regular coaches briefing along with the PRO and comment on rules observance and incidents, answer questions, and promote communication.
Parents, Coaches and Club Support
Parents, coaches and club support are an important part of junior regattas and the development of junior sailing. Their involvement with the sailors should be acknowledged and supported within the bounds of fairness.

Younger competitors wanting to speak with a judge should be invited to bring a coach or a representative to join in the conversation to assist the sailor.
Support Boats
Support boats crewed by the sailor’s support team are an important part of the safety routine at a regatta. Junior sailing would not be as strong as it is without these support structures. The movement and placement of support boats needs to be restricted, but can allow the boats to transit around the course following the limitations included in the sailing instructions and or the coach boat regulations or both. For major events, it is recommended that support boats be required to carry representatives of at least two different sailors or teams.

The protest committee may consider calling the support person to a hearing under rule 60.3(d) for a failure to comply with the rules and regulations of the competition.

Not all young sailors will have support personnel on the water. The judges should ensure that they don’t show favor or bias to any particular boats. Jury boats should not tow boats to the course area before racing, even though there is no wind. However, towing boats ashore after racing is acceptable so long as the judge shows no bias or preference to boats they give assistance, and provided that towing boats ashore is in response to a request from the race committee.
Support Boats
Guidance on child protection issues and the use of rule 69 with minor children is provided in Appendix H of the World Sailing Misconduct Guidance. Judges are strongly advised to study and follow these procedures before beginning any investigation that might involve child abuse, child protection or bullying. Local child protection laws will have specific requirements that must be followed carefully. The Chairman should seek guidance from local authorities, should such a matter arise. The worst-case scenario is that a race official, however well-meaning and despite acting in good faith, will interfere with the course of justice by interviewing a child or investigating a serious complaint in the incorrect manner.
Sailing Instructions
As much as possible, sailing instructions for junior regattas should be consistent across events in matters that are not regatta specific. Regatta specific clauses include start times, description of marks, racing area, location of notice board and signals made ashore location. The sailing instructions should be posted on a website at least one week prior to the event.

It is not in the interest of sailors to receive a multi-page document shortly before racing begins. Young sailors should not be expected to note the subtle changes in sailing instructions while preparing for racing.
Changes to Sailing Instructions (RRS L3)
For junior regattas, it may be appropriate to include the following specific sailing instruction clauses:

When there is a change to the schedule of races it is recommended that the
change be posted before the end of protest time limit on the day before the
change in schedule is to take effect, so that young sailors can leave the
venue at a reasonable time.

The Start
Include the clause (RRS L11.3) to require boats that have not started to avoid boats starting.

Penalty System (RRS L14)
It may be appropriate for fleets with inexperienced competitors to turn off rules.

P2.2 and P2.3 and only require a One-Turn or a Two-Turns penalty for each rule 42 infringement.

Protests and Requests for Redress (RRS L16)
If required by the Class Association or the organizers, require all boats regardless of length, to display a protest flag when protesting. If required by the policies of the Class Association or the organizers, require that a boat intending to protest shall, immediately after finishing, in addition to the requirements of rule 61.1(a), inform the Race Committee boat at the finishing line of her intention to protest and give the identity of the boat(s) being protested. The Race Committee should note such reports on its results log.

Support Boats (RRS L23)
Some regattas will provide a set of regulations for support boats and support persons. Otherwise, except when participating in rescue operations, team leaders, coaches, parents and other support personnel shall be required to stay outside areas where boats are racing from the time of the preparatory signal for the first fleet to start until all boats have finished or retired or the Race Committee signals a postponement or an abandonment of all fleets. The areas where the boats are racing can be defined as the area inside the course and within a distance specified by the RC of any mark, lay line, starting line, finishing line or any area where any boat that is racing is sailing or may sail.
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