Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

can a skipper decide for themselves that they are exonerated from breaking a rule?

Rob Goddard
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Can a skipper of a boat decide for themselves that they are exonerated under rule 43, and take no penalty, and then not protest the vessel that caused them to break a rule

Boat 1 at a mark enters the zone on stb, then tacks onto port, before tacking back onto stb to round a port handed mark, and as such loses entitlement to mark room (d) Rules 18.2(b) and (c) cease to apply if the boat entitled to mark-room passes head to wind or leaves the zone

Boat 2 enters the zone on stb, and having better speed than boat 1, boat 2 overlaps boat 1 to leeward, and is entitled to mark room.

At the mark there is no room for boat 2, who hits boat 1 and the mark together.

Boat 2 continues to sail the course without taking a penalty or protesting boat 1. Claiming that they are exonerated under rule 43.1 (b) When a boat is sailing within the room or mark-room to which she is entitled and, as a consequence of an incident with a boat required to give her that room or mark-room, she breaks a rule of Section A of Part 2, rule 15, 16, or 31, she is exonerated for her breach.

Boat 1 does not take a penalty, and continues to sail the course, and there is no protest between the 2 boats. 



Created: 21-Oct-18 11:56

Comments

Gordon Davies
Nationality: Ireland
Certifications:
  • International Judge
0
Yes. rule 43.1 repeats in a), b) and c) the words ''is exonerated'.

However, if a another boat, or the jury, protests boat 2 for touching the mark, she might have to explain why she  is claiming exoneration when she has failed to enforce the rules as required by rule 2, Fair Sailing.
Created: 21-Oct-18 12:25
Charles Darley
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • Regional Umpire
0
I hesitate to disagree with so eminent an authority as Gordon. I do not think a failure to protest necessarily constitutes a breach of rule 2. 

I do think boat 2 might be on a sticky wicket if this went to a protest. Firstly, was 2 forced to hit the mark and boat 1 as a result of not being given room. Could she have passed the wrong side of the mark and protested?  And then rounded correctly.   Secondly if 2 obtained her new overlap from clear astern, was 1 able to give room from the moment the overlap was established?

Of course it msy be the overlap was established when 1 tacked and as she bore away 2 was unable to avoid the contacts. 
Created: 21-Oct-18 12:39
Charles Darley
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • Regional Umpire
0
I should know better than to be a smart Alec where Gordon is concerned. My second question is not valid.
Created: 21-Oct-18 12:45
Craig Evans
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • Regional Umpire
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
As there has been contact between the boats, then one or other boat needs to take a penalty or protest.
Created: 21-Oct-18 13:03
John Ball
Nationality: Canada
0
How does the skipper know for sure? It is only his opinion.
He wants to apply a rule to himself (to exonerate) but not apply the other rules that relate to the incident. That is unsporting.
John
Created: 21-Oct-18 14:51
Chris Agace
Nationality: Australia
0
If there was a Boat 3, injured by Boat 2 during the Boat2/Boat1 incident - should they protest Boat 2 or Boat 1. And if they protest only Boat 2, because - for example - they didn't see Boat 1's actions, will they receive any redress?

Created: 21-Oct-18 15:17
Gordon Davies
Nationality: Ireland
Certifications:
  • International Judge
0
Charles,
My mistake - I should have said that Boat 2 has not met the expectation that is contained in the basic principle, Sportsmanship and the Rules.
She has followed the rule that exonerates her, burt she has not enforced the rule by protesting Boat 1.
If she is later protested by another boat or th PC for hitting a mark the PC may question why she did not protest Boat 1 herself. This may influence the PC's reading of the incident. Not protesting in the hope of gaining an advantage might be a breach of rule 2.

John. The basic principle is quite clear, if a boat breaks a rule and is not exonerated  then she will promptly take a penalty. There is no requirement to take a penalty if she has good reason to believe that she is exonerated.
Please note that being exonerated does not mean that you have not broken the rule. It means that you have broken the rule but there is no penalty.
Created: 21-Oct-18 15:48
Rob Goddard
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
0
As the saying goes, the law is an ass, and I think it is here, a contestant, hitting a mark and doesn't take a penalty claiming they were exonerated by a third party's actions and doesn't protest the 3rd party. 
The 3rd party may be unaware that the contestant hit the mark, and may dispute that they caused the incident, yet only the contestant  is the arbitrator, so the contestant who hit the mark makes that decision and doesn't protest the 3rd  
so there is a foul, an exoneration, yet no penalty
I believe that only a protest jury should be allowed to exonerate, or if the contestant wish to continue sailing without taking a penalty they must bring a valid protest against the third party for exoneration to count. 
World sailing need to reconsider exoneration
Created: 21-Oct-18 16:24
Rob Overton
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • International Umpire
0
For what it's worth, the change of wording in the exoneration rule (now RRS 43) to say "is exonerated" was intentional.  Boats are exonerated by the circumstances, not by protest committees -- unless of course there is a protest and they must make a decision as to whether the boat was exonerated.  So, Rob, I'm afraid that boat has sailed.  

For those who claim that failure to protest when another boat has broken a rule is a breach of rule 2, I should point out that any boat can protest, even if she was not involved in the incident, so if you're right,  just about all of us have broken rule 2 many times. 

Having said that, I think the boat that was denied mark-room in the given scenario should protest even if she was exonerated.
Created: 21-Oct-18 18:50
John Leech
Nationality: Ireland
Certifications:
  • Fleet Measurer
  • National Race Officer
0
Interesting interpretations, it demonstrates the importance of protesting
Created: 21-Oct-18 20:32
Rob Goddard
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
0
It is disappointing that someone can can exonerate themselves without a protest, unfortunately many competitors bend the circumstances to suit themselves and this rule encourages that. It is time that it was changed, the should be rewritten, and before a learned member of the forum says a third party can protest, we shouldn’t need to, that just causes more bad feeling unnecessarily. And competitors do manipulate the truth, we all know that, if they didn’t then rule 2 and 69 would both be unnecessary.
Created: 21-Oct-18 21:42
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
2
Rob G., re: "It is disappointing that someone can can exonerate themselves without a protest .. "

I think you are misinterpreting what members are telling you the RRS means.  

A competitor does not "exonerate themselves without a protest" for breaking a rule.  Rather, a competitor IS exonerated for breaking a rule in certain circumstances UNDER THE RULES themselves.  

It's not like the competitor just says "I exonerate thee, I exonerate thee, I exonerate thee" when they want to and it's done.  It's a determination that a competitor can make at the time of the incident, but be aware it is a determination that they make at their own risk.

If Boat A is protested for breaking a rule by Boat B, but Boat A did not take a penalty at the time of the incident because Boat A believed she was exonerated under the rules, Boat A runs the risk of being found wrong in her exoneration determination in a protest-hearing, and then Boat A risks being penalized DSQ by the PC.
Created: 21-Nov-01 13:54
Rob Goddard
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
0
Angelo I appreciate that they are exonerated if it was not their fault if they had to break a rule, however in multiple fleets in different nations I have seen competitors break a rule and decide for themselves that it was another competitors fault, but no action is taken, frequently the other competitor was not at fault, the skipper of the rule breaking boat just blames them, and that other skipper not even Realising a rule was broken doesn’t protest.
If all competitors played by the rules, and also properly understood them, protest committees would be a think of the past
Created: 21-Nov-01 15:10
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
1
Rob re: "I have seen competitors break a rule and decide for themselves that it was another competitors fault, but no action is taken, frequently the other competitor was not at fault, the skipper of the rule breaking boat just blames them, and that other skipper not even realizing a rule was broken doesn’t protest."

Rob you have just described how our system is supposed to work.  The RRS is setup such that ROW boats and boats entitled to Room are exonerated for breaking certain rules under certain circumstances. 

The wording of 44.1 is (emphasis added), "A boat may take a Two-Turns Penalty when she may have broken one or more rules of Part 2 in an incident while racing."  If a boat believes they are exonerated under the rules for breaking a rule, they may choose to take a penalty or not.  It is up to the other boats involved in the incident to protest that boat if they have a different opinion. 

RRS Basic Principles: "Competitors in the sport of sailing are governed by a body of rules that they are expected to follow and enforce."

If you are engaged in a fleet that has a culture where nobody does turns, takes penalties and people are ostracized when they protest other boats, then it will take someone with backbone and thick skin to start turning that tide.  Best to start one-on-one .. moving the ball a couple yards at a time .. get some converts to understand the fairness issue at hand and slowly work that through the fleet.

It's like starting a path in the woods .. sometimes you have to hold the blades of grass down at first.
Created: 21-Nov-02 13:13
Rob Goddard
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
0
It’s not one fleets culture, I race in varying fleets, one design and handicap from time to time around the world, and unfortunately rule observance is not very good, this one rule I believe enables self justification of bad practices, and to avoid it I would add the provision that if you break a rule you either take a penalty or protest, no false excuses afterwards
Created: 21-Nov-02 14:25
Mark Townsend
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • International Race Officer
  • International Umpire
  • International Judge
0
Boats break rules and are exonerated all the time when they are sailing within the room or mark-room to which they are entitled. At a leeward mark the inside windward boat is the keep clear boat and the outside leeward boat is the right-of-way boat under rule 11. When the outside boat bears away to give the inside boat mark-room the inside boat breaks rule 11, and is exonerated under rule 43.1(b). We are so used to it happening that we don't think of it that way.

As has been pointed out the problematic rule breaches are those where a boat is claiming they were compelled to break a rule as a consequence of another boat breaking a rule, but nobody takes a penalty, or where contact occurs and there is no damage or injury and both boats claim they are exonerated or simply ignore the rule breach.

The Basic Principles of the rules says the responsibility for enforcing the rules is the competitors. We are all responsible for following and enforcing the rules. I'm just not sure many sailors get that far in the rule book!!

SPORTSMANSHIP AND THE RULES Competitors in the sport of sailing are governed by a body of rules that they are expected to follow and enforce. A fundamental principle of sportsmanship is that when a boat breaks a rule and is not exonerated she will promptly take an appropriate penalty or action, which may be to retire.
Created: 21-Nov-02 16:26
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Mark re: "Basic Principles .. I'm just not sure many sailors get that far in the rule book!!"

Oh dear .. and Basic Principles comes before they get to the parts in the rules that stop them from running into each other!  :-)
Created: 21-Nov-07 12:45
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