Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

Notice of Protest

Paul Zupan
Nationality: United States of America
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In a distance race, the sailing instructions indicate an area that is to be considered an obstruction and boats in the race are prohibited from entering that area. Boat A believes Boat B passed through that area. The race continues for several hours after passing the prohibited area. Boat A is not within hailing distance of Boat B at the time Boat B allegedly entered the prohibited area nor at any time subsequent in the race. Boat A does not raise a red flag nor try to hail Boat B in any fashion, including on the radio. Subsequent to finishing, Boat A informs Boat B of the protest at the first reasonable opportunity.

Did Boat A comply with RRS 61.1(a)?

Created: 18-Feb-12 04:57

Comments

John Culter
Nationality: Canada
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Sure. The purpose of the notice provision is to allow an offending boat to correct his mistake, by doing turns, for example. Or retiring. This doesn’t apply very well in a distance race setting. The absence of a red flag is problematic, however.
Created: 18-Feb-12 06:06
Paul Hanly
Nationality: Australia
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The sailing instructions may or may not have an impact on the situation by amending the standard RRS provisions.
You do not indicate why Boat A has her "belief". I assume from the use of belief that Boat A did not see Boat B enter the area.
61.1 a 2. applies in this case.
" if the incident was an error by the other boat in sailing the course, she need not hail or display a red flag but she shall inform the other boat either before or at the first reasonable opportunity after the other boat finishes; "
It seems clear cut that the protest is valid.
What did I miss?
Created: 18-Feb-12 07:01
John Standley
Nationality: Australia
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I think it depends on the obstruction. If it can only be passed on one side then it becomes a mark by definition. If this is the case boat B would not have sailed the course so 61.1(a)(3) would apply and a red flag would not be needed.
If it could be passed on either side it is not then a mark and a red flag would be required.
I agree with Paul that if A did not see the incident then a red flag is not required but she has an obligation to inform at the first reasonable opportunity which would presumably be when another competitor told her.
Created: 18-Feb-12 08:52
Marco Sarcoli
Nationality: Italy
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I guess that the protest is not valid. 61.1(a) says ....... an incident in the racing area that she was involved in or saw ....
A believes that B passed through the proibited area; she did saw B doing it and the consequences of that alleged action did not involved A directly.these two conditions do not satisfy 61.1(a)
Created: 18-Feb-12 09:37
Ron Kallen
Nationality: United States of America
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No. Boat A did not comply since she was required to display a red flag by 61.1(a). One might quibble whether or not the "prohibited" area is considered part of the "racing area" mentioned in the rule. If it is not, then the rule does not apply, although this would seem illogical. If the incident was an "error" by boat B, as in 61.1 (a) (3), then the answer is Yes, since this part of the rule relieves boat A of the obligation to display a red flag.
Created: 18-Feb-12 11:27
Clark Chapin
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I think that the question hinges on whether "sailing the course" in rule 61.1(a)(3) includes sailing through an area that was listed as an obstruction.
Let me play the activist role and say that it does, i.e. "sailing the course" not only includes passing all of the marks on the required side etc., but also not sailing through any areas that are defined in the sailing instructions as obstructions.
Because A was beyond hailing distance, she does not need to fly a protest flag under rule 61.1(a)(1) and the protest is valid.
Created: 18-Feb-12 12:41
Kirsteen Donaldson
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Without commenting on the rights or wrongs of the 'protest', in distance races (certainly locally to me) traffic separation schemes are frequently defined as obstructions in SIs. These have no required side but as obstructions rather than a mark of the course, unwinding isn't possible. Other boats are 'seen' using AIS and/or trackers. If a Boat B's AIS or tracker signal is seen within the TSS, then that can be used as evidence that Boat B has entered the scheme. However, if the straight line connecting two dots on Boat B's AIS or tracker just crosses the corner of the scheme, it may not be possible for Boat A to be certain whether or not Boat B entered the scheme or tacked/gybed around the corner, which may account for the 'belief'. This is more of an issue with trackers, as the dots on the publically available version are separated by a meaningful period of time. Often the race organisers can get a higher resolution version that answers the question definitively.
Created: 18-Feb-12 14:11
Angelo Guarino
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I'm glad Paul tossed in the "over the radio" in there because .. well if he didn't I was going to :-)

#1) Many here have focused on whether or not Boat A was in a position to prove Boat B crossed the obstruction. That is not the issue at hand in the validity of the protest. The RRS's clearly state that a boat that is out of hail need not fly the flag or hail, only do their best to notify the other boat ASAP. The protest hearing will attempt to find fact. As Paul gives the facts, Boat A believes she has witnesses Boat B not sailing the course and based on Paul's description, notified at the first opportunity. We all file protests on our "belief", this is nothing new.

#2) There is no on-the-water remedy possible. Going through a restricted area as others have pointed out cannot be "unwound".

#3) Radio. I've often wondered this question if radio communication for the purpose of penalty notification is appropriate or even required and when. My thoughts are that it would depend on whether or not the SI's require a specific VHF channel to be continually monitored and if so if the purpose is specifically limited in any way. If the SI's only encourage monitoring a VHF channel for RC courtesy communications, then a protesting boat would be wise to both hail verbally and if conditions limit a voice's carry . maybe also try the radio, but under no obligation to try the radio. On the other hand, if a specific VHF channel monitoring is required by the SI's, then attempting to use the radio to notify could be argued to be the first opportunity.

In this case, once the boat is in the restricted area, it officially can't undo it .. so what is the purpose of the hail? That said, it would be a pretty hard-nosed competitor that would protest a boat if she turned 180 degrees and sailed back out of the area to the point she entered. If it was a missed mark which would be unwound, then the need for the earliest attempt seems to be more crucial.

So, let me underline that part of Paul's question. If monitoring a specific VHF channel is required at all times during a race in the SI's, is a boat out of voice-hail range obligated to attempt a radio hail when she intends to protest another boat for not sailing the course ... fully-knowing the other boat is required by the SI's to be listening?

Ang
Created: 18-Feb-12 21:22
Paul Zupan
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I posted this because I've seen juries cut both ways on the question. That is obviously not the level of consistency we should provide. I think the discussion is important and I believe all the relevant elements have been covered in the above comments. And I have to say, personally, I am of the opinion that it serves no purpose to require either a red flag or immediate notice where the offending boat really can't correct her error. As a competitor, I would probably attempt to hail or radio a boat I see entering a restricted area especially if it is dangerous. But the boat has already broken the rule and cannot correct her error so technically the notice only serves a corinthian purpose. If there is an avenue for hearing the protest, I would work toward that end instead of summarily dismissing on validity a question as to the course the boat sailed (potentially gaining a significant advantage).
Created: 18-Feb-12 21:59
Paul Hanly
Nationality: Australia
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Paul Z. An obligation to use the radio would require an amendment in the sailing instructions to rule 61.1 where it says that the time for notification is "... she shall inform the other boat either before or at the first reasonable opportunity after the other boat finishes; " This means not using the radio even when available is OK even if the SI's require monitoring a particular channel. The RRS allow for use of the radio but also allow waiting till after the offending boat finishes. You might be able to argue that you have to use a monitored radio as soon as the offender finishes, but this means that the protestee might be in a position of not being able to know when the cutoff time is. As it the breach can't be unwound or an alternate penalty taken there is no problem with the current situation.
In Sydney, Australa, and I suspect elsewhere, clubs have to have an authority to use a waterway as a sailing course for races. The Roads & Maritime in NSW issue an Aquatic Licence to clubs which authorises the use of the waterway for the races. The licence has terms and conditions. One of those is typically that the competitors cannot sail among moored boats, or enter certain portions of the harbour, or approach within a specified distance in front or at the side of ferries or large commercial shipping or their escorts. Clubs want these rules observed and they are incorporated into sailing instructions. It is in all racing sailors interest to enforce the rules to preserve the acquatic licence, so even if a person returned the way they came out of an excluded area it is not a matter for a competitor to excuse a breach of the rules. All the other club members even those sailng in other divisions, series or on other days have a very strong interest in the preservation of the aquatic licence and ought protest any clear breach of the excluded areas (which are defined as obstructions in the SI's).
Created: 18-Feb-12 23:25
Angelo Guarino
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Paul Z said ..

As a competitor, I would probably attempt to hail or radio a boat I see entering a restricted area especially if it is dangerous.

OK .. that's an interesting train of thought (always the nudge).

Let's say the area isn't dangerous to life, limb or vessel. Maybe it's just a naval restricted operations area or maybe it's a marine wildlife preservation area or something .. an area to be avoided, detailed as an obstruction in the SI's, but no "danger" to vessel or crew.

You see a boat heading right for the restricted area .. .no doubt in your mind they are heading right for it. The SI's detail a VHF channel for "courtesy RC communications", but do not require all boats to monitor the frequency.

Q1) Is it within the rules for you to hail your competitor on the RC designated VHF channel and tell them them that from where you stand, it appears they are about to enter the restricted area (though you are not confident that all boats will receive the communication)?
Q2) If the answer above is "no", does the answer change if monitoring the VHF channel was required?

Ang

Created: Tue 00:10
Paul Zupan
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Ang. It's an interesting issue because as a competitor I've been known to let a boat know they missed the offset on a W/L course. It probably amounts to outside help under RRS 41, but feel compelled to do it so they can properly complete the course. However, if it were phrased in the form of a protest, it would probably not be considered outside help. And hailing someone on the radio would be the equivalent. I don't think it would make any difference to me whether the SI's required monitoring a specific channel (though I have a vague recollection that ColRegs requires you monitor 16). Though I might wait until I think a boat actually enters the restricted area before hailing now that I've thought about it a bit more.
Created: Tue 00:43
Paul Hanly
Nationality: Australia
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Wouldn't warning a competitor that they were about to enter a restricted area amount to outside assistance?
If it were not for the assistance from another boat the competitor would have rendered themselves disqualified or penalised, so warning them is outside assistance, isn't it?
Created: Tue 02:13
Angelo Guarino
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Paul H. I get your point but I'm torn on it.

When it's a sailing of the course issue, usually one can wait until it's obvious that a competitor is missing a mark and then protest (i.e. warn them) and allow them quickly to rectify it. It's the corinthian and sportsman thing to do.

When you have a 'sailing of the course' issue which is a poison pill, it seems unsportsman-like to wait until it's too late (though I agree that's what is implied in the rules). Call me pollyannic, but I wouldn't want to beat another boat on those terms.

OK .. how about this (as Paul Z suggests) .... Radio/hail " 'protest', boat 508 you are sailing in the restricted area (just prior to them entering)". 508 changes course and actually does not enter and at the protest hearing it's determined that 508 in fact didn't enter. Protest tossed, you made an error in judgement in perspective .. you know .. boats are far away . .hard to tell .. etc ..

I think if the restricted area is there based at all on safety issues in that area .. I think it's on thicker ice that a hail/warning would be allowed and the right thing to do.

Ang
Created: Tue 04:04
Kim Kymlicka
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Can we get back to the original proposition that Paul presented?

As long as the rule in question includes 61.1.a.3., boat B complied.

R 61.1.a.3 allows boat B ..”not to hail or display a red flag but…after the other boat finishes”.

Seems to me that boat B did just that.

Case 112

.. Answer 3

Rule 61.1(a)(3) states that B need not hail ‘Protest’ or display a red flag,

but she must inform A of her intention to protest before A finishes or at the

first reasonable opportunity after A finishes.

Question 1: Where is it in the rules that when boat A breaks the SI, she cannot correct her error?

There was a suggestion that Boat A could not correct her error after sailing into the area defined as obstruction by the SI. I cannot find any Cases or Appeals that support this conclusion.

Unless the penalty for breaking that SI is specifically listed it the SI as not correctable, boat A could correct her error before finishing. See Case 112 again and by implication Case 128.

Interesting discussion could be about how boat A must sail her course to make such correction.

Question 2: Does she has to come out at the same point she went in or not?

Kim

Created: Tue 05:30
John Pratt
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Please read RRS 41 (d) about "Outside Help"
Created: Tue 12:53
Paul Zupan
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Good question John. When is another boat in the same race a "disinterested party?" Are they disinterested when the boat in question is putting itself in danger? Are they when the boat in question is getting a significant advantage by "cutting the corner?" I would think they are not disinterested in the case of the latter.
Created: Tue 15:22
Angelo Guarino
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Kim,

It's a good question. I had contended in a previous post that it would be quite the competitor that would protest a boat that, once realizing they have crossed the boundary of an RA, turned 180 deg, sailed out of the area and then back around to avoid it.

That said, there is a huge diff IMO of missing a mark of the course and rectifying it before finishing and entering an RA defined as an obstruction (and likely would qualify as a continuing-obstruction). If the intent was to treat the boundary markers of an RA as marks of the course, then the SI's would simply state that the boundary-marks are to passed on one side or the other.

Consider the following drawing ..




Yellow sails through the region defined by M1-M4, sails back, rounds M1 and satisfies the taught-string requirement. If the intent was to allow that, then the SI's would simply state that boats have a choice to either leave marks 1-4 to port or marks 1-4 to stb. In the above drawing, if stated that way in the SI's ... Yellow would be OK.

Now let's look at it as a Restricted Area in the following 2 drawings. If you allow a string-rule recovery, then the restricted area is no longer an obstruction and a boat venturing into it can gain an advantage.

In the first drawing, Orange respects the boundary as an obstruction and given its size, as a continuing-obstruction and can not gain an inside overlap forcing mark-room on Yellow.


In the next drawing, Green enters the Restricted Area, does not treat it as an obstruction, but treats the corners as marks which it must round. By entering Green gains an inside overlap and gains advantage.



Therefore, when an RA is defined as an obstruction and a boat crosses into it, I would contend that they cannot rectify their course by sailing out of the RA on the same side and rounding the boundary marks.

Ang
Created: Tue 16:52
Angelo Guarino
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When is another boat in the same race a "disinterested party?"

I would really like to see some examples as well. I guess if there are multiple classes in a race, a "disinterested party" could be a boat in another class. Strange though if that was the intent why they would word it as ".. another boat in the same race" .. instead of "another boat who is not a competitor".

Otherwise, USA Appeal US22 states that "A competitor in a race or series has a conflict of interest", but that is in the context of a Protest Hearing. Could one argue that if you have a "conflict of interest", then you must have "an interest" and thus cannot be "disinterested"?

Created: Tue 18:26
John Thorne
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The Rules that apply to this situation seem very clear to me, but I am aware that some competitors and some protest committees don't see it that way. For that reason, I think this discussion has been useful. Yes, an area can be an obstruction (if so designated by the SIs) but a "restricted area" is almost the same thing except that there seems to be no right to call for room, or room to tack, to avoid such an area.

I agree that advising another boat that is about to enter the area falls under Rule 41 so a hail should be given only in the case of imminent danger.
Created: Tue 19:40
Leo Reise
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I might be playing the devil's advocate but here is what I understand:

61.1(a) includes the phrase "When her protest will concern an incident in the racing area that she was involved in or saw ..."
61.1(a)(3) if the incident was an error ....."

I maintain that the boat intending to protest had to see the incident. The use of the word "believes" suggests to me that Boat A did not observe the incident, that is Boat A did not see Boat B sailing into the defined area.

That would make it an invalid protest.

Just my view.
Created: Wed 01:17
Kim Kymlicka
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Ang,
My question was more of this type:
Boat A realizes that she sailed into the RA and decides to correct her error by reversing her sailing track (as close as possible) till she is outside of the RA and at the point of her original entry point.
Has she satisfied the rules or is she OOL?

No other boats, no Mark(s) are involved.
Created: Wed 01:49
Kim Kymlicka
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Apologies, I mistakenly reversed the Boats A and B in my original answer and maybe my second.
Original question: Did Boat A comply with RRS 61.1(a)? ((I had boat B ).
My answer to that question is still "yes".


Created: Wed 02:10
Paul Hanly
Nationality: Australia
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@ Leo Reise
The limitation on protests in 60.1 that requiring seeing or being involved in is only for Part 2 or RRS 31 "60.1 A boat may ... protest another boat, but nor for an alleged breach of a rule of Part 2 or rule 31 unless she was involved in or saw the incident;"
Therefore the limitation doesn't apply. to this protest.Sailing the course is RRS 28 in Part 3.
Created: Wed 02:54
Paul Hanly
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@ Kim Kymilcka
RRS 28.2 allows for unwinding going on the wrong side of a mark, but not for sailing into an obstruction.
RRS 44 allows for taking penalties in certain restricted circumstances, but not including sailing into obstruction or restricted areas.
I can't see where anything but retirement or disqualifiation is available to a boat entering a restricted area or area defined as an obstruction unless the sailing instructions contain something.

@ Ang. RRS 1.1 Helping Those in Danger A boat or competitor shall give all possible help to any person or vessel in danger. This rule would take precedence over the outside assistance rule in relation to use of a radio to warn a competitor if the circumstances warranted. in Sydney Harbour there is a clearance mark off Bradley's Head which our SI's require to be left on a particular side if heading east. This is from part of our Aquatic Licence. It is a safety issue. Perhaps you could warn a competitor who was going the wrong side on the basis that the correct side is a safety requirement. Query whether you could do that if you could see around the corner and there was no large traffic or shceduled services coming.
Created: Wed 03:30
Angelo Guarino
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Kim,

Paul H hits on it as well. The point of my drawings was 2 fold. IMO, the boat in your drawing can't fix their course.

First, the rules are the rules if you are alone or boats near by. Being alone can't allow you to sail into a restricted area and being in the presence of others, not.

My second point I was trying to make (and forgive me while I struggle to explain) is the difference between 'rounding/passing a mark' and entering a restricted area.

When dealing with 'marks', the requirement for a boat is to pass it on a certain side or round it on a certain side and doing this is a certain mark-order between starting and finishing. Therefore if you pass a mark on the wrong side, or out of order, using the string-rule a boat can go back and pass the marks on the proper side and in the proper order and be deemed to have properly sailed the course.

When dealing with an RA-obstruction, the requirement is for the boat to avoid and never enter the space. Unlike rounding a mark, once a boat enters the space they can't return to the status of have never entering the space.

As I showed in my previous example, an RC has the ability to designate the boundary-marks as passing marks on either side, if they want to allow intrusion into the space but for a boat's string-course to go around one side or another.

Again, this is just IMO and my WAG at it.

Ang
Created: Wed 04:21
Angelo Guarino
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Leo said ..

I might be playing the devil's advocate

Hey! That's my job! :-)

Though to your point.about "believes", I think one could argue (and at the risk of sounding like an Enlightenment philosopher) those things we hold as true, are actually things we believe are true. Since we are all stuck with the limits of our perception, the best any of us can do is believe what we experience is what actually happened.

Thus one could argue that someone who describes what they believe they saw is actually being more honest by acknowledging their own human frailties.

Ang

Created: Wed 04:38
Kirsteen Donaldson
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I'm with Angelo , 'sailing the course' isn't relevant to this. A typical SI is "A boat shall not enter an area designated as an Obstruction. All Traffic Separation Schemes are designated as obstructions." In the case of a TSS, boats can, and do, take any route around it/them - choosing which is one of the tactical challenges of off-shore racing (see below screen shot, those TSSs are up to 20 nm long) - but once a boat has entered the scheme, it can't 'un-enter it' even by sailing in the reverse direction, and has broken the SI. Designating the area as an obstruction (rather than just a restricted area) gives a boat the rights to room in RRS19.2.

Created: Wed 09:40
Angelo Guarino
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Kirsteen .. very cool image. So is this tracking used to DSQ a boat that clearly traverses an RA? - Ang
Created: Wed 16:24
Kirsteen Donaldson
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I'm speaking here as one of the boats in the image, not in any official capacity, so this is my understanding only. In principle, the tracking can be used as evidence in a protest. However, the public version, which this is (http://www.rolexfastnetrace.com/competitors/race-documents/fleet-tracking ) updates at intervals of, I think, 15 mins, so it is possible for a boat's track to appear to cut a corner when the boat actually tacked or gybed in that interval and went round the corner. I believe that a higher resolution (?every 1 min) is available to the race organisers that is more useful in this respect. In this case, the SIs permitted the race committee to apply a standard penalty (minimum 20% time penalty) and 6 boats are listed has being penalised. (The solid red lines that appear to cross two of the TSSs are the course rhumb line, not boat tracks.) Kirsteen
Created: Wed 18:46
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