Forum: Rules 2 and 69

Question: Encouraging a Protest

Mark Clayton
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
Hi, New to the forum so if I am asking in the wrong place please let me know.

Involved in a basic water at the mark dispute today (dinghies in still conditions so the discussion was easy)- the usual we both thought we were correct. However, a 3 boat was also present with a clear view who then refused to give a view but was encouraging us to protest each other and they would then give evidence at the protest! Would this be considered unsporting?
Created: 18-Aug-19 19:16

Comments

P
Michael Butterfield
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • International Judge
  • International Umpire
  • International Race Officer
2
no, I do not think so, unusual perhaps.
when on a jury I have seen incidents and been called as a witness, but I have not discussed my testimony. I said yes I saw it call me if you wish.
Created: 18-Aug-19 19:36
Mark Clayton
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
-1
If they have the opportunity to resolve the issue immediately and don't, what is to stop their later testimony being made to suit the best outcome for themselves?
Created: 18-Aug-19 19:51
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
1

refused to give a view but was encouraging us to protest each other and they would then give evidence at the protest! Would this be considered unsporting?

On the contrary Mark, I think this a very nice example of good sportsmanship as defined in the RRS. They are basically encouraging you both to enforce and follow the rules and offering to take time out of their day to help that happen.

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.

- Ang

Created: 18-Aug-19 20:39
Forest Light
Nationality: United States of America
0
Well, do you really want a 3rd (and possibly interested and/or possibly ignorant) party influencing the outcome of the protest before the hearing?
Strikes me as sportsmanlike of a witness to agree to be a witness...but to NOT to voice a view in advance of a proper hearing by a duly constituted protest committee.
Created: 18-Aug-19 20:42
Roger Harris
Nationality: Canada
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Club Race Officer
3
It’s unclear to me how encouraging two boats to resolve a dispute through the formal process provided in the RRS can possibly be considered unsportsmanlike.
Created: 18-Aug-19 21:14
P
Paul Zupan
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Umpire
  • International Judge
  • National Judge
2
I don't think a witness is unsportsmanlike to withhold his observations prior to a hearing. I can think of a number of reasons why they might do so; few of them nefarious. Mostly I would think it an effort to avoid arguing over it and it avoids coaching the party against whom the testimony will hurt. And also I think it's important to realize that the witness will come into the hearing after the parties have given their version of what happened. The witness will not have had a chance to hear the parties' story (other than what was heard in the bar). Altering their testimony to fit personal needs runs a big risk of being either completely ignored by the protest committee for lack of creditability, or worse, being challenged by the PC for intentionally manufacturing a story. But I think most competitors are honest about what they saw and I think it overly sensitive to jump to conclusions about the reason the testimony was withheld prior to a hearing.

However, the more curious question, and variation on one that has been argued over extensively here, is: Is it unsportsmanlike for a third party boat to not file a protest against a boat that broke a rule. In other words, is it unsportsmanlike for your witness to not file a protest if the two parties decide they will not (assuming she thinks a rule was broken).
Created: 18-Aug-19 21:54
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
Perhaps unsportsmanlike for 3rd boat to urge the protest, then not show up as witness.
High likelihood of one of two boats ahead being DSQ: advantage 3rd boat.
More sportsmanlike to gain just on the one boat ahead who will do 2 turns.
Question: What level of competition was this?
Created: 18-Aug-19 22:16
Paul Hanly
Nationality: Australia
0
Perhaps it is unsporting to see a breach of a rule, encourage a protest, and then, if neither boat involved protests and neither boat takes a penalty, fail to protest both boats or at least the one that you believe breached the rules in the incident you saw, or if protest has become unavailable because of eg failure to hail in time, to report the incident to the protest committee and race committee. (I know this latter is virtually never done except in the case of blatant repeated breaches over a period of time and even then a boat is more likely to be dealt with by other means like a chat from the commodore or class captain, hunting and protesting, or a number of other boats using the rules as a sword rather than a shield in relation to that infringing boat.)
Under 60.1 the boat seeing the incident may protest.
The fundamentals of the sport regarding Sportsmanship and the Rules makes it clear that competitors are expected to enforce the rules.
If you breach a fundamental principle of the sport, surely that is unsporting.
So then turn to 69 for process and requirements.
At least one of the boats in the incident is almost sure to have engaged in a breach of good sportsmanship in failing to obey the rules and in failing to take a penalty. The other boat involved may also be guilty of a breach of good sportsmanship in failing to enforce the rules.

The idea that a breach of a fundamental principle is not a breach of good sportsmanship would be as surreal as Catch 22.
Created: 18-Aug-20 00:19
P
Grant Baldwin
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • International Judge
  • National Umpire
0
As I agree with that there seems little here in the way of a sportsmanship infraction, I thought that I would make a few strategic points.

First, in such cases (especially with contact), competitors have surrendered control of their race result to a Jury or PC. One may improve their circumstances by taking a penalty on the water, then going to the room with the incident.

Secondly, it has been my experience that witness testimony is damaging to the calling party as often as it is helpful. As a party, I would only call a witness if I felt that there was a gap in the testimony that could only be closed by my witness’ testimony.

Finally (and perhaps most importantly), neither party will know what this witness is likely to say. If I were a party to this hearing, I would want no part of this witness. Sorry Mark (and all) for going a little off topic with this reply, but most witnesses bring more risk than reward to the presentation of one’s case.
Created: 18-Aug-20 00:27
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
-1
Grant .. I think you make really good points. We are given the OP's scenario to deal with here .. but in my experience (both on the giving and receiving end .. ) when there is contact between boats, a very effective strategy is for the 3rd party boat to yell "Contact!, someone broke a rule!" .. pause for a moment .. and if no protest hailed or turns taken, call and file the protest themselves. - Ang
Created: 18-Aug-20 02:28
Paul Hanly
Nationality: Australia
0
A call of protest after waiting to see if someone takes a penalty will probably be ruled out for failing to hail protest as soon as reasonably possible.
It is the breach that has to be protested, not the failure to take a penalty.
I would expect that the call of "Contact!, someone broke a rule!" would have to be followed very shortly by a hail of "protest".
In fact, if you have time to hail "Contact!, someone broke a rule!" after witnessing a rule breach it would seem that you could have hailed "protest" in that time and so your later hail was not as soon as reasonably possible.

I would like to see any argument as to why a breach of a fundamental principle is not a breach of good sportsmanship.
Created: 18-Aug-20 02:57
Phil Mostyn
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Umpire
  • International Judge
0
I subscribe to the old saying that goes something like::"Never ask a question if you don't know what the witness is going to say".

Years ago in the days before on-water umpiring, I was a 'scribe & runner' in a PC and, after looking all over the club for one of the Parties to a protest, I found the very prominent gentleman in the radio room interviewing a potential witness to discover what the person had seen prior to being called as a witness. Made sense to me then and it still does.

So I support Grant's opinion. We all know that if you have 6 wtness, expect to have 6 different accounts based on their honest recollection of what happened from the 6 different positions from which they saw the incident.

And finally, Now that it's too late to lodge a protest, you could let us all know what you saw and we'll soon give you our 6 different answers.[Well, maybe 2 different answers]

Phil.
Created: 18-Aug-20 06:13
Mark Clayton
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
-1
I am obviously too old fashioned, I just wanted an opinion and I was prepared to do my penalty if I was at fault ! I am that odd bread who does a penalty if I hit a mark and there isn't anyone around. I would have thought given there was only one boat with 2 crew with one viewpoint it was a simple request amongst friends. I now feel I will no longer trust either gentleman again- incidentally they eventually decided to give an opinion that I was at fault, however this seems odd as they didn't give me room to provide sufficient room for the third competitor. They gave the opinion after the other boat retired and I then took a penalty because I felt I should - their gamesmanship didn't achieve anything, they still lost!
Created: 18-Aug-20 08:31
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0

I would expect that the call of "Contact!, someone broke a rule!" would have to be followed very shortly by a hail of "protest".

Agree ... I shouldn't have put in there waiting for turns ... "Bang!" ... "Contact!, someone broke a rule" .. 4,5,6,7 "Protest!" ...

In fact, if you have time to hail "Contact!, someone broke a rule!" after witnessing a rule breach it would seem that you could have hailed "protest" in that time and so your later hail was not as soon as reasonably possible.

Agree 100% .. there is a good chance the above gets tossed as invalid .. it would be up to the PC to determine if 8 sec's is too long given the circumstances. Either way, the boats actually involved in the incident and others around who also hear the contact and the 3rd party protest would see support for the self-policing of the rules .. which has its own benefits IMO. - Ang

Created: 18-Aug-20 13:15
P
John Mooney
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Umpire
  • Regional Race Officer
1
Mark, we don't know enough about the circumstances here, but it seems to me that if the boat which opined that you were at fault owed you room during the incident and didn't provide enough room for you to meet your obligations to another boat under the rules, it's possible that you would be exonerated for your breach and they would have been penalized for not giving you room. Remember that room (and mark-room) includes "...space to comply with (your) obligations under the rules of Part 2 and rule 31, while maneuvering promptly and in a seamanlike way."
Created: 18-Aug-20 15:09
Leo Reise
Nationality: Canada
Certifications:
  • International Judge
1

Might be chiming in a little late but here is my take:

Mark's original scenario was - they were still on the water when the discussion occurred, as was the witness.

Since neither boat hailed "protest" or displayed a protest flag at the first reasonable opportunity, either boat lost the opportunity to launch a valid protest. Also, since they were having a discussion, getting well clear of other boats as soon after the incident as possible (RRS 44.2) was not satisfied either. The witness, who could have protested if they complied with RRS 61.1, did not do so. Not wanting to give an opinion was an option he exercised - but was not unsportsmanlike.

A lesson from this: The game we play has rules and the rules include a method of resolving disagreements arising from the interpretation of the rules. It always amazes me that sailors want boats to obey the rules, while they do not want to follow other parts.

The sad part is, the sailor missed his opportunity to learn by not following all the rules.







Created: 18-Aug-21 20:37
David Chudzicki
Nationality: United States of America
0
Agree with Leo that by the time there was a discussion between whether boats about whether to protest, no protest could be valid. 
Created: 20-Feb-24 15:50
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