Forum: Protest Hearing Procedures

USS Prescription 63.2(b)’s “..reasonable attempt to notify all boats .. of [redress] hearing..”.

Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
The USS 63.2(b) in full context is as follows ...

“US Sailing prescribes that when redress has been requested or is to be considered for one or more boats ..... [t]he protest committee shall make a reasonable attempt to notify all boats of the time and place of the hearing and the reason for the request or for considering redress, and boats shall be allowed reasonable time to prepare for the hearing.”

In reading the recent USS Judge’s Manual (revision 14, 2019, pg 53, bullet #2), when talking about the implementation of this specific prescription it states ...

"...This is ordinarily done by posting such notice on the official notice board.”

Observation: [emphasis added]
Note that the USS prescription requires the PC to  “..make a reasonable attempt ..,” not “... all reasonable attempts.” .. or even “ ... the most reasonable attempt”.

Questions to consider:

  1. "a reasonable attempt” is singular. Does that imply that if the PC does one category of thing, and that thing is reasonable unto itself, that satisfies the requirement? Or does an “attempt” innately encapsulate potentially multiple tries?
  2. How is the “reasonable”-ness of the PC’s “attempt to notify” characterized or valued relative to the tools/information the PC potentially has access to?
  3. If as part of the registration process, the OA collected competitor emails, phone numbers, etc, but that information isn’t collated/available for immediate use by the PC, is it still “a reasonable attempt” to only post the redress hearing notice on the notice board?
  4. What if they are using online regatta mgmt systems like here on RRoS or others where this information is collated/available and thus direct communication to competitors thru text or email might be even easier?
  5. If the data/tools in #3 and #4 above were available, but not utilized for some reason (time/effort, lack of technical ability, staffing, policy/precedent, etc), could that be seen as an improper action or omission if only a notice-board-post was used instead? 
  6. Does the existence of these direct communication tools/info create an obligation to use them?

After considering the Q’s above ...

Does “..posting such [redress hearing] notice on the official notice board.” always satisfy the minimum requirement of  “a reasonable attempt to notify all boats”,  regardless of the other tools/info/expertise available to the PC?

(Link to USSJM rev 14:

Created: 19-Jun-22 13:34


Al Sargent
Nationality: United States of America
If the regatta notice board is used, I'd suggest asking the following:

  1. How long should the notice be posted to be considered reasonable?
  2. Does the regatta notice board need to be accessible to competitors, to be considered a reasonable attempt?
  3. What font size should the notice be in, to be considered a reasonable attempt?
  4. what language(s) should the notice be in, to be considered a reasonable attempt?

If these questions seem random, they all arise from actual regattas, which are:

  1. A couple of years ago, an organizing authority posted a change of course notice to a notice board. The problem was, the notice board was outside, in the rain, since there wasn't any spot sheltered from the weather. The paper notice soon got wet, and blew away before all competitors could see it.
  2. A few years ago, a yacht club was going through a major remodel, and their official notice board was inaccessible to competitors. Not sure if they had anything posted to the notice board, because I couldn't access it.
  3. At master's regattas, you'll often have a bunch of older guys squinting at a notice board, wishing they had brought their reading glasses. What constitutes clear, legible writing for notices?
  4. At numerous European regattas, you'll have competitors from a couple of dozen countries. Often the notices are in English, even if the venue is in Italy, Spain, or Holland, for example. But is it reasonable to expect someone from another country to read notices in English (or Italian, Spanish, or Dutch)? Not a rhetorical question... maybe English-only is fine.

I don't think I'm qualified to answer any of these questions given that I'm not a judge. But as a competitor, hopefully these experiences will help build a clear definition of "reasonable". 

Created: 19-Jun-23 06:42
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
  • Judge In Training
  • Fleet Measurer
Al, those are interesting Q’s that take a diff tack than mine. 

My WAG at your Q’s:

1: How long?  I think once notice of something is posted at least an hour , one can start to expect someone to see it. 
2: Accessible:  Yes, the purpose of the NB is to be read and thus it must be accessible to competitors 
3: Font size should be legible by someone a few feet away assuming 20/20 vision.  OA should be able to expect that competitors are correcting their vision to be able to read. 
4: I think is English as you say, but also there is a Case/Appeal about the word “protest” in different languages.  The underlying idea is common as the purpose of the word “protest” is to be a “notice” (to notify) and to be understood as such.  I’m sure there are a lot of IJ’s who can offer examples of how that is dealt with. 

So, how about giving an opinion on my question?  Does the existence of methods of direct communication with competitors create an obligation to use them for notice and does their possible, but lack of, use make a simple post to the official notice board no longer “reasonable attempt to notify”?
Created: 19-Jun-23 12:55
Al Sargent
Nationality: United States of America
Hi Angelo,

This is just one guy's opinion but I'd say Yes, in 2019, a reasonable attempt includes trying to notify someone by whatever electronic means they've included on their regatta registration. That includes text message, email, or voice call. Just once is enough to be considered reasonable, in my opinion. 
Created: 19-Jun-23 23:15
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