44.2 After getting well clear of other boats as soon after the incident as possible, a boat takes a One-Turn or Two-Turns Penalty by promptly making the required number of turns in the same direction, each turn including one tack and one gybe. When a boat takes the penalty at or near the finishing line, she shall sail completely to the course side of the line before finishing
I couldn't find a case interpreting the "as soon after the incident as possible." Last week a boat started the race and hit the start mark. They sailed on positioned as the most windward boat of the fleet. Another boat hailed "protest" and flew a flag, and did that perhaps as much as a minute later. The offender then sailed on several more minutes and finally did a one turn penalty. The wind was light, although strong enough that boats could maneuver.
So it seems that the boat that protesting boat did not do so quickly enough, but let's set that aside. After the race, the protesting skipper did not file any protest but was criticized for hailing protest. Her skipper was told "Oh, they would have done their turns, they just needed to get some boat speed first." I came to the defense of the skipper, saying that they are supposed to take their turns right away and that they had opportunity to do so.
The question is, can a boat taking a one or two turns penalty wait until conditions are better, or she has more boat speed, even if she is already clear of the fleet and can do so without obstructing another boat? It seems to me "as soon as possible" means that she should start to get clear and start her turns, even if the wind is light. Other people seem to think "as soon as possible" provides more flexibility. I couldn't find a case on it.
Further, if a boat hits a start mark and does not do a turn, and no one protests, it seems like that's a done deal and although good sportsmanship dictates that they do, they can't be penalized.