Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

Exoneration and "sportmanship and the rules"

David Chudzicki
Nationality: United States of America
The rules allow for "exoneration" under a number of circumstances, and it's quite sensible that rule 64.1 indicates that a protest committee should disqualify a boat only if it's not exonerated:

Rule 64.1: "When the protest committee decides that a boat that is a party to a protest hearing has broken a rule and is not exonerated, it shall disqualify her unless ..."

However, under "sportmanship and the rules" we just have:

"A fundamental principle of sportsmanship is that when competitors break a rule they will promptly take a penalty, which may be to retire."

It doesn't seem like sportsmanship requires boats to take a penalty in any of the circumstances where the rules allow for exoneration. It seems like everywhere else we should read "break a rule" literally as just "break a rule (even if exonerated)", whereas here we should read "break a rule" as something like "break a rule without being exonerated".

Am I wrong? If not, is there any support for my interpretation (in the rules themselves, not just common sense)? Any reason for this omission?
Created: 19-Jun-09 18:52

Comments

Paul Zupan
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • International Judge
  • National Judge
  • Regional Umpire
2
[I've been asked to post the following]

The inconsistency in the rules noted in the above post has been noted at World Sailing and will be corrected in the 2021-2024 edition of the RRS. Based on World Sailing's actions to date, you can expect that the Basic Principle, Sportsmanship and the Rules will be changed to read as follows:

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 a penalty, which may be to retire. 


Created: 19-Jun-09 21:04
James Urban
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
0
This is a common situation and the obvious conflict needs clarification.  Example.  Three boats on starboard gybe and overlapped. A to leeward luffs B and C who established their overlap from clear astern.  B starts to keep clear and hails C to come up in order to keep clear but C does not respond.  A protest B, and B protest C.  Typically, the finding would be that B broke rule 11 but is exonerated.  Where does that leave B relative to the preamble of Part 2 particularly if she testifies that she did not (could not) keep clear of A?
Created: 19-Jun-09 21:13
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
Is any boat exonerated before the PC declares her exonerated?
Perhaps the new rule should be "...breaks a rule and does not expect to be exonerated, she will promptly take a penalty..."
Created: 19-Jun-09 22:29
Luis Faria
Nationality: Portugal
Certifications:
  • International Judge
  • National Race Officer
0
Philip, a boat may be exonerated, without PC action, under RRS 21.
Created: 19-Jun-09 23:23
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Phil,

You may recall we've had this discussion before in this forum.

I think the intended change that Paul has quoted now answers the question.

It would not be possible for a boat to apply the test of whether she was exonerated, in deciding whether to take a penalty, if she was not exonerated by the rules at the time of the incident.  The new wording will not work if it is necessary to await a protest decision before a boat is exonerated.
Created: 19-Jun-09 23:33
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
The remaining conflict I see is that Cases and the proposed rule say "is [or is not] exonerated," while 21 says "shall be exonerated."
I know "shall" denotes mandatory action, but it necessarily includes the concept of future or subsequent action.
So perhaps 21 should read "...she is exonerated, if..." 
Just trying to use the English language to fit the intent.
Created: 19-Jun-10 00:10
David Chudzicki
Nationality: United States of America
0
Thanks Paul! (And also to whoever from World Sailing asked you to post the reply.)

I think I agree with Philip that "is exonerated" would be better than "shall be exonerated." (Although "shall be" isn't fatal. Rule 21 doesn't say the exoneration has to wait, so interpreting the "shall be" as immediate is perfectly plausible.)
Created: 19-Jun-10 01:51
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
"Shall be" to be interpreted as instantaneous, rather than subsequent, is what is known as idiomatic English (perhaps regal) and creates a problem for foreign translations.
Where foreign translations disagree, the rules fall back to the English. So the original should be precise, technical, and not subject to an interpretation we have historically given it.
Created: 19-Jun-10 02:01
Grant Baldwin
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • International Judge
  • National Umpire
0
Most English nerds would refer to the use of shall with the bare infinitive (be) as a “future progressive” construction. RRS 14.2, 21 & 64.1 should also be reviewed and corrected as necessary.
Created: 19-Jun-10 12:10
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
1
Grant re: “.. bare infinitive (be) as a “future progressive” construction.”

I bet that felt great to type, didn't it? :-)
Created: 19-Jun-10 12:51
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
0
I think that everyone seems on the same page as WS’s updated language. 

The idea being that all  “exonerations” are a “state of being” which exist in the moment of the action in question and on the water. 

I would include even 64.1(a) exonerations to the 14 and 21’s. If a competitor is confident in their understanding of the RRS that they know they were compelled to break a Part 2 rule, they can sail on without turns. 

One way to think about it is that PC’s (when called upon to do so) only serve to confirm or deny the existence of the exoneration which was born on the water.. just the same as we do for on the water fouls. 
Created: 19-Jun-10 13:17
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
Question:
Does this "is exonerated" change need to be formally proposed to the Rules Committee, or is a Member monitoring this discussion?
>>> 
>...Cases ...say "is [or is not] exonerated," while 21 says "shall be exonerated."
>"Shall" denotes mandatory action, but it necessarily includes the concept of future or subsequent action.
>So, to use the English language to fit the intent, perhaps 21 should read "...she is exonerated, if..." 
>(This affects required action under RRS 2.) 
>"Shall be" to be interpreted as instantaneous, rather than subsequent, is idiomatic English (perhaps regal) and creates a problem for foreign translations.
>Where foreign translations disagree, the rules fall back to the English. So the original should be precise, technical, and not subject to an interpretation we have historically given it.
Created: 19-Jul-07 16:10
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