Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

Third party protest

Greg Koman
Nationality: United States of America
Let's say Boat X clearly fouls Boat Y. Boat Y immediately protests correctly (hails sail #, red flag, as necessary, etc), but Boat X doesn't take penalty turns. Boat Z witnesses the entire incident, including boat X choosing to not take penalty turns. After the race, Boat Y decides to not follow through with the protest. Having witnessed the incident, Boat Z decides to protest Boat X since Boat Y isn't going to follow through. Boat Z informs the race committee and Boat X, and completes the protest form in time. Is this considered a valid protest even though Boat Z never protested Boat X initially on the race course?
Created: 18-Apr-26 17:21

Comments

Matt Bounds
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Race Officer
0
61.1(a) states, "When her protest will concern an incident in the racing area that she was involved in or saw, she shall hail 'Protest' and conspicuously display a red flag at the first reasonable opportunity for each. She shall display the flag until she is no longer racing." (emphasis mine)

That would seem to exclude this from being a valid protest - until the "howevers":

61.1(a)1, "if the other boat is beyond hailing distance, the protesting boat need not hail but she shall inform the other boat at the first reasonable opportunity;"

That does not relieve her of flying a flag, though.

See RYA Appeal 1981/7 which seems to address this directly:
"When a third boat witnesses an incident in which she herself is not involved, and wishes to protest, she must comply with rule 61.1(a) by hailing ‘Protest’ and when the rules require it, by displaying her flag, at the first reasonable opportunity."

Protest is invalid.
Created: 18-Apr-26 18:57
Matt Bounds
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Race Officer
0
Seems a pretty reasonable assumption that Z didn't fly a flag, since they wouldn't have known that Y wasn't going to protest until after the race. The facts of the RYA appeal are nearly identical.
Created: 18-Apr-26 19:17
Stephen Ouellette
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
I am in agreement with Matt that in order to maintain a valid protest the protesting boat must at least fly a flag and hail protest.
I generally assume that all pertinent facts have been provided-in this case the originally fouled vessel hailed and displayed a flag-the lack of reference to either action by the observing boat leads to the conclusion it did not similarly do so.
Created: 18-Apr-26 19:19
Greg Koman
Nationality: United States of America
0
In the last sentence I say "Z never protested Boat X initially on the race course" to clarify that no hail was made and no flag was flown by boat Z during the incident. Boat Z didn't feel it was necessary to hail or fly a flag since Boat Y already did. But it is sounding like Boat Z should've, even if they thought it was redundant.
Created: 18-Apr-26 19:55
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Matt Bounds
said

61.1(a) states, "When her protest will concern an incident in the racing area that she was involved in or saw, she shall hail 'Protest' and conspicuously display a red flag at the first reasonable opportunity for each. She shall display the flag until she is no longer racing." (emphasis mine)

That would seem to exclude this from being a valid protest - until the "howevers":

61.1(a)1, "if the other boat is beyond hailing distance, the protesting boat need not hail but she shall inform the other boat at the first reasonable opportunity;"

That does not relieve her of flying a flag, though.

I wold add that if a protesting boat displays her red flag but does not hail because protestee is beyond hailing distance, she absolutely MUST inform the protestee at the first reasonable opportunity (rule (61.1( a )(1) second clause): so there are still two actions: verbally inform, and red flag.
Created: 18-Apr-26 21:28
John Ball
Nationality: Canada
0
RYA Appeal 1981/7 is quite different. In that case the third boat was protesting that the penalty turns were started but were incomplete. In that case, she should have protested at the time of the incident, but did not.
In this situation, one boat, Y signaled her intention to protest at the time of the incident, but failed to follow through on the protest,either by not notifying the RC at the finish, or by not filing a protest (we don't know which). X decided not to take a penalty and we may assume was prepared to go to a hearing.

After the finish, Z finds that Y did not follow through on the protest, and now protests X.

My opinion is that the protest by Z should be valid, and there is no need to fly a flag nor hail protest as the boats have already finished - they may even be back at the clubhouse before Z learned that a protest was not filed. There is no need for Z to hail/fly protest flag at the time of the incident as Y did that. The only reasonable action for Z is to notify the RC and the other parties of intent to protest under R 61 as she saw the incident.
Z should have protested both X and Y - it is not Z's job to determine who is at fault. However as both X and Y will have to be parties to the hearing if the protest is upheld, either or both may be penalized.

John



Created: 18-Apr-26 21:29
Matt Bounds
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Race Officer
0

RYA Appeal 1981/7 is quite different. In that case the third boat was protesting that the penalty turns were started but were incomplete.

But that's not what she protested - from the facts of the appeal: "C lodged a protest against A for breaking a rule of Section A with respect to B."
From the decision: "C was correct to base her protest on a breach of a right-of-way rule, and not on failure to comply with rule 44.2, since the latter is relevant only once the former has been upheld."

Despite the desire to "see justice done" in this case, I'd still call it an invalid protest.
Created: 18-Apr-26 21:43
Catalan Benaros
Nationality: Argentina
0
If the protest is invalid, what about "To follow and enforce ( the racing rules ) " ??
Created: 18-Apr-26 21:59
John Ball
Nationality: Canada
0
I think the issue here is what constitutes 'first reasonable opportunity' for Z to comply with R 61.
Given that Y protested X properly at the time of the incident, it would only become evident to Z that the process was incomplete after the finish, when Y failed to follow through. While on the course and racing, and given the protest of Y. it would be unreasonable and unnecessary for Z to protest, So the first 'reasonable' opportunity for Z is after the finish. and as it is after the finish, there is no requirement to fly a protest flag - just to 'notify'.

John.
Created: 18-Apr-27 15:43
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
It appears from these comments that any boat having witnessed any infraction, and being called as a witness to a valid protest, should also have flown a flag and hailed protest at the time.
I have to disagree.
Created: 18-Apr-28 01:21
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Fleet Measurer
1
Catalan wrote:

what about "To follow and enforse ( the racing rules ) " ??

Ruh-roh Raggie!

via GIPHY



Created: 18-Apr-30 16:23
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
You and a pal witness a crime.
Your pal calls the police.
Must you call the police, too, to enforce the law?
Has your knowledge that the police have already been called fulfill your obligation to call immediately?
You later learn that the pal's call did not result in arrival of the police.
You make another call yourself.
Is your later call tardy?
Does its timing place you in jeopardy for your negligence?
Created: 18-Apr-30 16:57
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