I am the PRO in charge of a set of SI's at a major regional regatta where there will be 200+ yachts during the course of the event. We have an esteemed group of certified judges and JIT's on hand to handle any of the expected protests in a timely manner. Upon reviewing the draft SI's, the Chief Judge asked me to include in the SI's a requirement for a competitor to report to the RC the intent to protest. Something like:
- A boat intending to protest or request redress based on an incident in the racing area that she is involved in or sees shall, at the first reasonable opportunity after she finished, inform the race committee at the finishing line of her intent to protest or request redress and, when applicable, the identity of the protestee.
There are times when an instruction like this should be used. My opinion is competitors see a notification requirement, when not really required, as simply a technical reason to deny a hearing. Not conducting a hearing for a technical/not valid reason is the biggest complaint competitors have. And so reducing the technical requirements for a hearing are desirable. I agree with this philosophy and am trying to apply it and so likely will not include the requirement in this instance. (The CJ and I work together often, and I would otherwise include most anything he asked.)
In this current rules cycle, US Sailing eliminated the prescription allowing for expedited hearings. The expedited hearing provision also reduced the technical requirements that often lead to a "not valid" ruling and upset competitors in my view. I saw it as a positive step forward. Non professional/expert competitors need provisions like this. I am wondering why it might have been eliminated. I had hoped provisions like expedited hearings might become more widespread. (Ref: RRS 2013-2016 US Sailing Prescription Appendix T, Section C)
What is your opinion of the use of this SI?
What was your opinion of the USSailing expedited hearing prescription?
US Sailing National Judge
US Sailing Regional Race Officer