Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

Protest question about exoneration

ASLAN OZCAKIR
Nationality: Turkey
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  • National Judge
There was a recent protest exoneration.

During the race Boat A informs Boat B about a protest.
Boat B knew she has infringed a rule, and did penalty turn (1 or 2 turns not clear).

After the race Boat A lodges a protest against Boat B stating that Boat B just did one 360 turn.
Boat B claims she first did a 360 turn, then she continued racing and then in the next leg did a 720 turn.

Questions:
  1. Since the first incident has not been lodged as a protest is it ok to open a hearing for this exoneration protest?
  2. Should Boat A, lodge a protest for the initial incident and during the hearing Boat B will accept her mistake and then Protest Committee will try to find out whether Boat B did a 360 turn or a 720 turn?
  3. What will you do if Boat A claims Boat B did 360 turn, whereas Boat B insists that she did complete 720 turn, with no witness?

Any comments? ideas?
Created: 17-Sep-18 12:50

Comments

Ken Hardy
Nationality: United States of America
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a.)  A would protest B over the original incident. First B must be found to have broken a rule before questions of any incomplete or improper exoneration could be determined.  Taking a penalty is not an admission of "guilt" in the protest committee’s eyes.

b)  Yes.

c) Dig into finishes places and see if they make sense based on the position of the boats before the alleged 720.  Do the same with mark roundings if they were recorded.  BTW, I had exactly this happen to me once. Another boat fouled me at the start and then ended up at the weather mark in front of everybody and went on to win the race.  The other boat testified that they in fact did do a 720 even though I didn't see it.  The PC found that they did do the 720 because basically I couldn’t prove they didn't.  Not sure if that's what the PC was supposed to do but that's what they did.

Created: 17-Sep-18 14:31
Stephen Ouellette
Nationality: United States of America
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I agree that A would protest B over the initial incident.  If the protest was deemed valid, and required a 720, I suspect that the turns taken would not be sufficient as the penalty is supposed to be taken at the time of the incident, which means pretty much as soon as it can safely be tdone.
Created: 17-Sep-18 14:58
Theodor Beier
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Unless Boat A filed a valid protest for the original incident, there is no basis for extablishing the requirement for Boat B to perform penalty turns.  Without a protest of the original incident, the protest for an improper penalty has no grounds for validity, and the hearing should be terminated immediately.  Also, the original incident cannot be dragged into a hearing about an improper penalty, as such an action would also be invalid under RRS 60.  Boats that hail "protest" must follow through with all of the actions required in RRS 61.
Created: 17-Sep-18 15:27
Bill Handley
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
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a)  If I understand the situation correctly A did lodge a protest when she came ashore but it was for B not taking the correct penalty and not for the original incident. The PC must hear this protest under rule 63.1 even if they think it is invalid . The required contents of a protest are set out in 61.2 and the only one that has to be present at the start of a hearing is the description of the incident 61.2(b), pretty well everything else can be sorted out at the meeting. If the protest describes the incident that led up to the penalty turns there is no problem. The incident has been identified and a hearing can go ahead to find out whether or not B broke a rule that might have required exoneration. The fact that A would be protesting under the wrong rule (rule 44) would be irrelevant as this can be changed by the PC. Of course all the other requirements of a protest will have to be met such as hailing "protest" and displaying a red flag and if these were not done the protest is invalid and should be dismissed.

If the protest does not describe the incident that led up to to penalty turns then the requirements of 61.2(b) have not been met and the protest is invalid. If the protest is decared invalid and the protest time limit is not passed A could lodge a further protest describing the incident which if all other conditions were met would be valid. If the time limit is passed then any further protest lodged would be declared invalid as being out of time.

b) Yes -only a PC can decide that a boat has broken a rule. When they have decided this they will then move on to decide whether or not exoneration was aviailable under rule 44 and if so whether or not a boat took the appropriate penalty.

c) Bear in mind that a PC only has to decide on the balance of probabilities what happened. A PC does not have the luxury of running up the white flag and saying they can't decide. Based on whatever evidence thay can come up with (some of which has been mentioned) they must find as a fact what they think happened and apply the rules to that fact. In the case in question it seems like a pretty easy call. B did not take the penalty "as soon after the incident as possible" as required by 44.2 and therefore did not meet the requirements for exoneration.
 
Created: 17-Sep-18 15:39
Angelo Guarino
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Bill said ..

The required contents of a protest are set out in 61.2 and the only one that has to be present at the start of a hearing is the description of the incident 61.2(b), pretty well everything else can be sorted out at the meeting. If the protest describes the incident that led up to the penalty turns there is no problem.

I'm with Bill on that.  If the description of the incident, though focused on the lack of 1-turn, describes the reason that they had to do turns .. then the protest hearing can go forward past the validity stage.

Example #1: "Boat A only did one turn ... " .. not going anywhere
Example #2: "Boat A only did one turn after she didn't keep clear ... " .. the incident can be discovered in the hearing.

Bill, aren't we also missing a Rule 2, Basic Principal issue here?  The OP premise is that Boat A acknowledges the foul .. by doing a 360 first and then much later in a separate leg .. doing a 720 (certainly not at the first opportunity).  Given this, it would seem the only action for Boat-A is to retire as she is now aware that she did not do the proper penalty.

PS .. I'm missing how exoneration is entering the pic .. what am I not seeing?  Who is asking to be exonerated?  From what I can tell, Boat A did a 1080 (360+720) and now later is saying that she didn't have to do any?

Created: 17-Sep-18 16:25
Bill Handley
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
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Ang
As I am at my house in Canada at the moment it is nice to be able to have these discussions without the usual 7 hours delay.

You are quite right in saying that we might find ourselves in Rule 2 territory here. Bear in mind that a penalty under rule 2 (Fair Sailing) can only be given If " it is clearly established that these principles have been violated." I have always taken this to mean that there has to be clear evidence of deliberate rule breaking before I consider rule 2. In this case boat B did take a penalty albeit very late and so whilst not meeting the requirements of rule 44  she does not to my mind clearly breach the principles of sportsmanship and fair play. You have to consider that not everyone knows what the rules say.

As far as "exoneration" goes, I am using this to describe what happens when a boat breaks arule but takes the appropriate penalty under rule 44 - she exonerates herself.
Created: 17-Sep-18 17:18
Angelo Guarino
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Bill .. got'cha .. the exoneration discussion was throwing me off as I thought we were considering an RSS 21 discussion.

I think unfortanately, even though they tried, the spinning boat didn't meet her obligations under 44.2.  Now it comes to the protesting boat and how hard-nosed they'd want to be .. but I think a PC being pressed by a protesting boat would have to DSQ the boat.  Hopefully someone would talk with them and let them RAF in an arbutration prior to the protest hearing.

Funny .. I was going to ask you if you drank too much coffee after diner and that's why you were up! ;-)
 
Created: 17-Sep-18 17:38
Rob Overton
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Bill,

I think while you're in Canada you're not allowed to say "whilst".  Back in the UK, it's OK.

"Exoneration" is often used, mistakenly, to describe a boat taking her penalty.  Sailors say, "She exonerated herself by taking a two-turn penalty."  Despite my strenuous efforts, I can't get them to stop.  Exoneration is a very strong word; when a boat is exonerated, it's as if the incident never happened -- she has done nothing wrong.  When a boat takes her penalty, she satisfies an obligation.  She still broke a rule -- she's not exonerated for that -- but she's paid her debt to society, as it were.

Suppose somebody kills somebody else and is tried for murder.  He admits to the killing, but in court he is able to prove that he acted in self-defense.  The jury exonerates him for the killing, and acquits him of the charges. 

Suppose instead that he did not act in self-defense and is convicted of, say, second-degree murder.  He is sentenced to 30 year in prison, and serves his time.  When he gets out of prison, he has taken his penalty, but he is not exonerated.

 
Created: 17-Sep-18 18:20
Ken Hardy
Nationality: United States of America
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""Exoneration" is often used, mistakenly, to describe a boat taking her penalty...."

Good point - I will keep that in mind.  
Created: 17-Sep-18 18:34
Bill Handley
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Rob
Fair point although I tend to use exonerate for two reasons. Firstly everyone understands what you mean. Secondly it's quicker to type "exonerated" than to type "took the appropriate two turns penaltly under rule 44 and is not therefore subject to further penalties" - call it being lazy. 

 
Created: 17-Sep-18 18:34
Angelo Guarino
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.. I tend to use exonerate for two reasons.  Firstly everyone understands what you mean.

I didn't :-P

FWIW ... RRS says "A boat may take a ... #-turn penalty ..." .. so I say "took her turns" when talking about a turns penalty and "took a scoring penalty" when that's appropriate.

Created: 17-Sep-18 18:45
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