Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

Queries on "Finish" and DNF

Julian Summers
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
I've started looking at our NOR and SIs ready to incorporate changes to match RRS 2021-2024, which has reminded me of a couple of points I have had trouble understanding.

1 In the definition of "Finish", it says a boat does not finish if she continues to sail the course.  Is this to cover the case where the course requires a boat to sail through the finish line on the way to the next mark, i.e. you need to cross the finish line more than once to sail the course? Are there any other scenarios where this part of the definition is required?
2 Previously the only scenario I could think of in which you'd score a boat "DNF" was if they didn't sail the correct course. Now that there is "NSC" in RRS 2021-2024, that scenario doesn't apply any more.  When would you score a boat DNF under RRS 2021-2024?

Thanks
Julian Summers

Created: 20-Sep-14 09:25

Comments

Robin Gray
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • International Race Officer
  • National Race Officer
0
1. Yes this is still the case.  A race could have a number of rounds where a boat must go through the finish line to finish one round or lap and start another.
2. Under 2017-2020 you could not score a boat DNF if they didn't sail the correct course - the only option was to finish them and protest them for not sailing the correct course.  The new scoring option NSC now allows the race committee to score them NSC without a hearing.  I would suggest that this should only be used if the information came from a reliable and informed source. Otherwise the RC should protest the boat.  Under 2021-2024 DNF has not changed - it is for a boat that starts, but for whatever reason which could be equipment failure or any other reason, does not complete the course.  Hence Did Not finish.
Created: 20-Sep-14 09:55
Gordon Davies
Nationality: Ireland
Certifications:
  • International Judge
1
I would suggest that NSC should be reserved for cases in which a boat passes the finishing line correctly but the RC believes did not comply with RRS 28 elsewhere on the course.
A boat may request redress if she believes that she has been scored NSC in error. 
Gordon
Created: 20-Sep-14 10:09
Thomas Armstrong
Nationality: Chile
Certifications:
  • Club Judge
0
DNF is to be used whenever the reason for not finishing is not known to the RC. One example is when a boat retires and its captain never contactes the RC to notify it is retiring. This may happen in casual racing when "hey, it is getting late, let's drop the race and go home for the birthday party"... and this crew never again shows up (seen this happen several times...)

Another situation I've come accross is when the captain just forgets to notify the RC he is retiring, and then after the race he want to request redress. The RC should look at finishing sheet notes, and will notice this boat is listed as DNF. Because there is no RET code listed, the RC should respond "you have not notified retirement on time, so your request for redress is denied". 
Created: 20-Sep-14 12:55
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Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
“ The new scoring option NSC now allows the race committee to score them NSC without a hearing.  I would suggest that this should only be used if the information came from a reliable and informed source. ”

I’d suggest that NSC should only be scored when a member of the on-the-water RC witnesses it and is willing to attest to their observation.  

I do not think RC’s should be accepting evidence from outside the RC for this call, no matter how “reliable and informed” the RC believes the source is. 
Created: 20-Sep-14 14:14
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Kim Kymlicka
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Umpire
0
Ang,
The 'new' 63.6.a allows for hearsay (and other) evidence to be considered. This is somewhat tempered by 63.6.d. Nonetheless, the 'reliable and informed' has lost some of its armor.
Kim
Created: 20-Sep-14 16:06
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Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Kim re: “The 'new' 63.6.a allows for hearsay (and other) evidence to be considered”

Yes, but that is what a PC can do, not the RC. 

We are talking about the RC assigning NRC without a hearing.  IMO, the RC should only do this based on the criteria I posted .... a member of OTW RC witnessed first-hand and willing to attest or RC’s directly collected info like a video recording that they took themselves. 

The RC can protest a boat within the limits of 60.2(a) otherwise. 

Ang
Created: 20-Sep-14 17:11
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Kim Kymlicka
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Umpire
0
Well, that is all well and good, but ....
There is nothing that says that the evidence about a boat not sailing the course must come from another RC (duty assigned) boat having a first hand knowledge. What would prevent the RC scoring NSC a boat that another boat reported as "not sailing the course"? If the RC chose to not to score a boat NSC from the report of another boat, the RC effectively says: 'that the boat reporting is not as reliable source as another RC boat'. I understand the 'interested party bit here, but this is not a protest. What if the reporting boat is not sailing in the same fleet and not for the same award, or if the reporting boat has obtained the information via hearsay? Hmm... Interesting waters we are sailing into here.
I can see clear cut instances where the RC will have a solid footing for NSC, but there is a barn door for other. I would not be surprised that the PC gets a hold of those.
 Kim
Created: 20-Sep-14 17:54
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Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Kim, I think (IMO) an RC would be stepping out of bounds by what would effectively be taking (“hearing”) testimony and evidence from outside sources to assign a score of NSC.  

When you look at the language of 90.3(c) below ... seems to me that the lane RC’s are to make scoring determinations is from their own records and observations.  Start introducing 3rd party testimony and that needs to be done fairly, openly in a hearing by a PC IMO, not privately gathered by the RC. 

“When the race committee determines from its own records or observations that it has scored a boat incorrectly, it shall correct the error and make the corrected scores available to competitors.” 


Created: 20-Sep-15 02:01
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
Julian, other possibilities for your Q 1 is when the boat goes back to correct her "string" or if she fouled the finish line or another boat before clearing the line, and then comes back and re-finishes.
Created: 20-Sep-15 02:07
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Kim Kymlicka
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Umpire
0
Ang,
This invites a whole other discussion about scoring and when/how can RC correct (from their own records...) the score of a boat that was scored NSC. Are you suggesting that if the RC did not extract the information from their own records/observations, it did not happen? (Oh BTW, someone saw it and it was reported to the RC). I will be interested seeing how this introduction of hearsay will play out. 
Kim
Created: 20-Sep-15 02:27
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Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Kim, what I’m suggesting (I think) is that an RC-assigned NSC score (without a hearing) needs to be based on the RC’s observations and records, not unlike like scoring OCS without a hearing. 

For instance let’s say an RC calls a boat OCS, but sees on video from the media that they were in error.  I do not believe they can make that change even if they feel the video is trustworthy as it’s not from their observations or records. They would R4R on behalf of the boat and put it to a PC. 

Take the same media-video but apply it for NSC, assuming the media-source is not conflicted, the RC can protest the boat the old-fashioned way. 
Created: 20-Sep-15 02:56
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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Angelo and Kym,

Protest committees have never been prohibited from admitting and relying on hearsay evidence.

As Paul has often said, a protest hearing is an administrative hearing:  it is not bound by the rules of evidence, although, of course, it should treat poor evidence on its merits, and possibly with caution.

Clearly a race committee should exercise caution in scoring a boat NSC, bearing in mind that, unlike, for example, OCS and DNF decisions, there is no particular duty express or implied in the rules that the race committee should carefully observe boats with respect to marks other than starting and finishing marks, and further, that a race committee is neither empowered nor experienced in taking and weighing evidence from competitors.

However, it is unwise to bind race committees hand and foot by inventing rules that are not in the RRS.

While , up to the 2021 RRS, the Rule A5 Scores Determined by the race committee have been all based on matters within the duty of race committee for direct observation, nothing in the RRS requires a race committee to confine it's decisions to those based on it's own observations.  Rule 90.1(c) creates an obligation on a race committee to act on its own records or observations:  it does not imply the converse that a race committee may not act except on its own records or observations.

Race committees frequently rely on evidence of competitors:  for example the Scoring Review Request system allows the race officer to consider the evidence of competitors, balanced against his or her own records and to correct a scoring decision if warranted.

As to video evidence, I think the trend is to much more permissive in accepting video evidence, particularly about starts and finishes (and why not mark-roundings).  This is to prevent the ridiculous and embarrassing situation where there is clear video evidence, in the public domain that the race committee made a wrong call, and the race committee says it can do nothing to remedy their mistake.
Created: 20-Sep-15 06:05
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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Philip Hubbell
said Created: Today 02:07

Julian, other possibilities for your Q 1 is when the boat goes back to correct her "string"

No, a boat can't correct an error in sailing the course after she crosses "the finishing line to finish" (RRS 2021 rule 28.2)

This may cause some interesting discussions where a boat, having missed a mark, and crossed the finishing line and sails back, then claims that she did not intend to 'finish' at all.


Created: 20-Sep-15 06:27
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Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
John and Kim ... I agree that the rules do not forbid an RC from using outside information to apply an NSC score to a boat.  I'm making the case that they shouldn't.

IMO the appropriate avenue for an RC, upon obtaining outside evidence/testimony that a boat did not sail the course, is to protest that boat if the info comes from an unconflicted source.  If the information comes from a source with a conflict of interest like a competitor, then the RC should leave it to the competitor.

Taking the same logic, is there anything in the rules to prevent the RC from relying upon a statement of a competitor to score a boat OSC, ZFP, or BFD?  3 boats side-by-side at a crowded line 1,2,3 .. the RC can see that boats 1 and 3 are OCS, but can not  quite make-out boat 2.  Boats 1 and 3 report to the RC that boat 2 was over too.  What in the rules prevents the RC from using that information as the basis of scoring Boat 2 OCS?

So the RC could hear from a competitor that Boat A did not sail the course, and using that information score Boat A NSC without  a hearing, where that same information could not be used as the basis of a protest of Boat A by the RC?

Like Kim points out... this reading potentially creates an end-around the important limits imposed by RRS 60.2(a).

Created: 20-Sep-15 15:08
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
John, the Cases do not support your stance
that a boat cannot continue to sail to correct her string.

Case 112 specifies a boat that did not continue:
"...leave[s] the first mark on the wrong side...[crosses the finish line]
and then returns to the harbour."   
Question 1
Does A finish when she crosses the finishing line?
Answer 1
Because A did not continue to sail the course after crossing the finishing line,
she finished in accordance with the definition at the time she crossed the line


Case 128

"[passes mark on wrong side] and did not correct that error, 
and therefore she broke rule 28.2."
Created: 20-Sep-15 16:22
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Kim Kymlicka
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Umpire
0

Ang,
You are on target.

M 3.2 of the WS Judges Manual that will need update in light of 63.6.a:
 Try to prevent leading questions or hearsay evidence, but if that is impossible discount the evidence so obtained. 
I know that is all about PC, but I think that a bunch of the NSC will end up there.

I trust WS will use the Q&A service to give further guidelines about NSC.
Kim

Created: 20-Sep-16 03:31
Julian Summers
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
0
Thanks to all for the helpful clarification.

I find it interesting that there are different and often conflicting views in the responses. It seems to me that, despite the best efforts of the rule makers, there is still a lot of subjective interpretation required.  It makes me feel a little better about my poor win / loss ratio in the protest room!

Regards
Julian

Created: 20-Sep-16 06:42
Mark Townsend
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • International Umpire
  • International Judge
  • International Race Officer
0
1. In the definition of "Finish", it says a boat does not finish if she continues to sail the course.  Is this to cover the case where the course requires a boat to sail through the finish line on the way to the next mark, i.e. you need to cross the finish line more than once to sail the course? Are there any other scenarios where this part of the definition is required?
 
In the current definition of finish clause (c) “continues to sail the course” was introduced in 2013 to permit the use of multiple-lap courses that require boats to cross the finishing line as they begin to sail each new lap. Without clause (c), under the previous rules, a boat crossing the finishing line at the end of the first lap had ‘finished’ the race.
 
2. Previously the only scenario I could think of in which you'd score a boat "DNF" was if they didn't sail the correct course. Now that there is "NSC" in RRS 2021-2024, that scenario doesn't apply any more.  When would you score a boat DNF under RRS 2021-2024?
 
Rule A11’s scoring abbreviation of DNF (Did not Finish) is used when a boat comes to the starting area, starts, then stops racing and does not finish . Many people refer to a boat that has stopped racing as having retired. However, the rules use the term “retire” in several rules to indicate when a boat or competitor has broken a rule and the penalty was to retire. Reference “Sportsmanship and the Rules” and rule 44.1(b). I try to use the scoring abbreviation RET for boats who have broken a rule and are acknowledging that breach by retiring from the race.

Under the 2017-2020 rules, if the race committee believes from its observations that a boat has made an error in sailing the course, they are required to score the boat in her finishing position and then protest her for breaking rule 28. In the 2021-2024 rules the race committee is permitted to score such a boat NSC, thereby penalizing her without a hearing. The thinking is that the rights of the boat will be protected because she may request redress if she believes she did sail the course correctly. The facts in most such NSC cases should be clear and not contested, therefore there should be a net reduction in the number of hearings.

NSC puts an onus on the race committee to monitor each boat to check if it sails the course. This is achievable in high level events but not with regattas with less staff / volunteers.
 
The 2021-2024 definition of finish, “A boat finishes when, after starting, any part of her hull crosses the finishing line…” still has no requirement that the boat sails the course. The race committee must still record the finish position of all boats crossing the finish line. If the race committee believes from its observations that a boat has made an error in sailing the course, they can now score the boat NSC. In my opinion the race committee should inform the competitor of their intention to score them NSC. If the boat disagrees with the race committee assertion, the race committee should file a protest. I recognize that the race committee could tell the competitor to request redress, but an RC protest would seem a more competitor friendly approach.
 
I would not score a boat NSC based solely upon a report from another boat. The race committee is not be allowed to protest a boat as a result of information arising from a report from a person with a conflict of interest (see rule 60.2(a)). It would therefore seem prudent to not penalize her as a result of information arising from a report from a person with a conflict of interest. You might review the protest decision from Race Committee vs Wild Oats XI in 2018 Sydney Hobart Race.
Created: 20-Sep-16 17:00
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Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Mark, re: " Rule A11’s scoring abbreviation of DNF (Did not Finish) is used when a boat comes to the starting area, starts, but does not finish. Many people refer to a boat that has stopped racing as having retired. However, the rules use the term “retire” in several rules to indicate when a boat or competitor has broken a rule and the penalty was to retire. Reference “Sportsmanship and the Rules” and rule 44.1(b). I try to use the scoring abbreviation RET for boats who have broken a rule and are acknowledging that breach by retiring from the race."

This does come up periodically when the wind dies and a competitor decides to 'exit' the race and go home, having made the calculation that they will never make the finish line before the time limit expires even if a new wind would magically appear.  As you know, the common move is to call the RC and to "retire".  Often, SI's will include language which requires, for safety and accountability reasons, for boats to notify the RC if they 'retire' from racing .. some also using "exit the racing area".

Competitors should be careful to read the SI's though, as sometimes RET will be scored differently than DNF or TLE.  In those instances, I've thought that it would be a benefit if there was some way for a boat to "call-in" a DNF or TLE, thus as you say reserve RET for rule-break acknowledgement.  Getting towed-in or turning on the motor, breaks a rule, so technically you can retire then turn on the motor, or turn on the motor, thus break a rule, then you retire.
Created: 20-Sep-16 17:50
Mark Townsend
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • International Umpire
  • International Judge
  • International Race Officer
0
When a boat's penalty under rule 44.1(b) or other rule is to retire, and she does so (whether because of choice or necessity), she cannot then be disqualified. Whereas a boat that stops sailing and does not finish can be disqualified in a protest. (See WS Case 99, RYA Case RYA1989-07, RYA Case RYA2001-02, RYA Case 2005-05). The scoring abbreviations in  rule A11 (2021-2024 rule A10) is RET for retired and DNF for Did Not Finished.

In the 1993-1996 and 1997-2000 rule books the scoring abbreviation RET was used to record when a boat retired after finishing. In the 2001-2004 rule book they changed scoring abbreviation from RET to RAF. However, the meaning remained as recording the circumstance when a boat retired after finishing.
 
During the 2009-2012 quadrennium, the rule makers realized that there was no scoring abbreviation for a boat that takes a penalty by retiring during a race (rule 44.1(b)) or retires as required by Appendix P2.2 or P2.3. In these circumstances, the race committee had either to score the boat RAF or DNF. RAF was incorrect, since the boat retired before finishing. DNF did not adequately describe the situation.
 
In the 2013-2016 rule book the scoring abbreviation RET was added, replacing RAF, so the race committee can correctly record the circumstance when a boat takes a penalty by retiring during a race.
Created: 20-Sep-17 15:36
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Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Thanks Mark.  So what you are saying is that even though a boat might "call-in" to the RC indicating they have stopped-racing by saying ... "Boat 123 is retiring", the appropriate score is DNF.  A boat retiring due to taking a penalty (before or after racing) would need to make that clear to the RC in some way.
Created: 20-Sep-17 15:44
Mark Townsend
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • International Umpire
  • International Judge
  • International Race Officer
0
Correct. My interpretation of the rules is that the scoring abbreviations RET should be used for recording the circumstances where a boat retires under rule 41.1(b), rule P2.2 or rule P2.3. DNF should be used to record other circumstances where a boat started and then stopped racing before finishing. The World Sailing Judges Manual - J6 Accepting a Penalty in an Incident seems to support that interpretation.

When a competitor tells you they are retiring, ask them which rule they broke, was another boat involved and was there serious damage or injury. You will likely be met with a blank stare.
Created: 20-Sep-17 17:35
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Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Well .. maybe we come up with a good way of saying it and start using it and it'll catch-on.  Can't use "RC, Boat 123 is abandoning racing" as that will be confusing to others half listening thinking its the RC is abandoning the race for the fleet.

"Discontinue" might work.

"RC, Boat 123 is discontinuing to race and will not finish" .. is pretty distinct and specific.
Created: 20-Sep-17 17:59
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
SPL - split, split the scene
HOM - went home
DRP - dropped out
SKD - skedaddled
CES- ceased
UPS - upped stakes
LFT - left
LVS - Elvissed
Created: 20-Sep-17 21:30
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Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
SKD or LVS has my vote :-).  Too funny. 
Created: 20-Sep-17 23:21
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Kim Kymlicka
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Umpire
0
Phillip,
Very funny, even though perhaps accurate.
Kim
Created: 20-Sep-17 23:50
Peter Clapp
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Race Officer In Training
  • Judge In Training
0
Wasn't there a designation for "withdrew" at some point in time? WTD ?
Created: 20-Sep-18 00:32
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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Not in any versions of Appendix A or its predecessors that I can find.
Created: Sun 10:01
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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Mark T, thanks for the history of RET/RAF/RET.

You said

My interpretation of the rules is that the scoring abbreviations RET should be used for recording the circumstances where a boat retires under rule 41.1(b), rule P2.2 or rule P2.3. DNF should be used to record other circumstances where a boat started and then stopped racing before finishing. The World Sailing Judges Manual - J6 Accepting a Penalty in an Incident seems to support that interpretation.

I beg to differ.

My view is that if a boat tells race officials that she has retired, then she has retired and should be scored RET.

I understand the background intention of the change from RAF to RET that you describe, namely, to provide in the race results distinct evidence of when a boat has retired and thus is excused from further penalisation under rule 64.1(b).

I have never seen or heard any suggestion that a boat's retirement needs to be linked to a specific incident to enliven rule 64.1(b).

The practice I am familiar with is that if a boat has retired, then she shall not be further penalised.

I don't agree that your reference to the Judges Manual assists:  all it does is describe an instance where a boat should be scored RET:  it says nothing about when a boat should NOT be scored RET.


Created: Sun 10:25
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Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
“Racing” - A boat is racing from her preparatory signal until she finishes and clears the finishing line and marks or retires, or until the race committee signals a general recall, postponement or abandonment.

I have to agree with you John, based upon the definition of racing, retiring appears to be the only option for a boat.  There is no other way for a boat to stop-racing and declare their intent to “not finish” to the RC.  A boat could sail-off and keep away from others, but would break a rule as soon as she turns on a motor or gets a tow. Also, some SI’s require boats to inform the RC of such actions.  

Interesting side-thought, I had never noticed that “exceeded her time limit to finish” wasn’t in the list of “until” conditions which turn-off the “racing” status of a boat.
Created: Sun 14:26
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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
I agree that you have picked up an interesting quirk.  Reading it you way, it looks like no boat can ever be scored DNF.

Reason may be that the Race Time Limit mentioned in the RRS is not an absolute cut off time, but a time before which one boat must finish for the race not to be abandoned.  Nowhere does the RRS mention an absolute cut off:  that's an artefact of SI
Created: Tue 09:53
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Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
John, the other artifact of this peculiarity could occur on race courses with mixed-fleets, with each fleet potentially having different TL’s based upon different starting times and/or whether or not a member of that fleet finished within the initial TL, which often triggers in the SI’s extra time for finishers that may follow.

The question is whether Part 2's preamble penalty-limitations apply to a TLE’d boat that breaks a Part 2 rule vs a non-TLE-boat, if there is no clear path in the rules to determine the TLE’d boat is no longer racing.

PS:  I think there is a good argument that an SI cannot clarify this by stating that a boat is no longer racing after her TL, as that arguably changes the definition of racing
Created: Tue 13:08
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