Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

Scoring Boats NSC

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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
There has been quite extensive discussion about the requirements of race committees for scoring boats NSC in accordance with RRS 2021-24 rules A5.1 and A5.2 in thread Queries on "Finish" and DNF.

I have prepared a paper attempting to pull together the various views (obviously with a preference for my particular views).  I propose to post the various sections of the paper separately, a few days apart, to facilitate discussion.

Shown below is the first part:  Introduction.

Comments are invited.


Introduction


Introduction of NSC
The Racing Rules of Sailing 2021 – 24 introduces a new category of scoring, ‘NSC’, to be applied by the race committee without a hearing to boats that do not sail the course, by inserting ‘did not sail the course’ into the lists of categories to be scored by the race committee without a hearing in rules A5.1 and A5.2.

These changes were made according to Proposal 4 of Submission 139-18 considered at the 2018 and World Sailing Annual Conference which included 4 parts:

·         Part 1:  Insert a definition of ‘sail the course’ based on the string part of rule 28.2.
·         Part 2:  Delete the ‘string part’ of rule 28.2, and base rule 28.1 on the newly defined term ‘sail the course’
·         Part 3:  Insert a requirement that a boat must ‘sail the course’ into the definition of finish.
·         Part 4:  Amend rules A4.2 and A5 (new rules A5.1 and A5.2) to include a requirement to score a boat that did not sail the course [N]SC without a hearing.

The insertion, by Part 3, of ‘sail the course’ into the definition of finish was reversed by Submission 129-19.

Parts 1, 2 and 4 were implemented in the published version of the new rules.


Purpose and reasons
The purposes and reasons for Proposal 4 stated in Submission 139-18 were relevantly to Part 4 as shown below:

·         Purposes:
-       to clarify and simplify all rules that refer to a boat ‘sailing the course’
-       [to] reduce … the number of hearings that the protest committee must conduct.
·         Reasons
-       Under the current rules, if the race committee believes from its observations that a boat has made an error in sailing the course, it is required to score the boat in her finishing position and then protest her for breaking rule 28. If Proposal 4 is accepted, the committee will be permitted to score such a boat ‘[N]SC, thereby penalizing her without a hearing.
-       However, the rights of the boat are protected because she may request redress if she believes she did sail the course correctly. Because the facts in most such cases will be clear and not contested, there should be a net reduction in the number of hearings. 

Practical issues
The introduction of NSC raises some practical issues which are discussed below.

·         What are and are not the new obligations of race committees with respect to NSC,
·         How the race committee should perform its new obligations, and 
·         Protest committee considerations.




Created: 20-Oct-06 20:33

Comments

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John Porter
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Club Race Officer
0
It is my personal opinion that it would be good practice for the RC to post all NSC actions on the notice board upon their return to shore. This clearly isn't required by the rules, but would potentially make life easier on the Jury. You could easily write a rule in the NOR/SI that says that you have 30 minutes after protest time limit to request redress for RC actions posted within the protest time limit. You don't need to wait for the scorer, which could be a significant time savings. 
Created: 20-Oct-06 20:58
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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
I don't think we need more rules.

There aren't many problems with other scores applied without a hearing, OCS, BFD, DNF etc etc, and I don't see why NSC should cause significantly more problems as long as race committees don't get a craze for using it.
Created: 20-Oct-06 21:46
Aslan Ozcakir
Nationality: Turkey
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Race Officer
0

At first it looks like it will increase the burden on RC, but RC normally follows the boats along the course and if spots a boat that did not sail the course protests it.  

If a boat sees another boat not sailing the course properly she can protest it.  Now with the new rule, I bet the boats will come to RC telling that boat X did not sail the course properly and should be scored as NSC by the RC instead of protesting boat X. Why? because lodging a protest is a process and it takes time and effort and etc...

I agree to John Porter to display the NSCs after the race before the scorer publishes the provisional results. It would save time to the PC for planning and conducting the hearings. 

Aslan Ozcakir 

Created: 20-Oct-07 03:46
Ed Vincent
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Race Officer
1
To Aslan, It would be a brave RC that NSC'ed a boat on hearsay from another competitor. A key to the NSC is the that the RC should decide based on its own observations.
If a competitor sees another boat not sailing the course, while the RC missed that, then it is still up to that competitor to protest.
Created: 20-Oct-07 04:01
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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
One of the reasons I started this project was that people seem to be suggesting that it is necessary to make up new rules, about 'direct observation', and 'notices to competitors'.

My view is that the Racing Rules Submission 139-18 considered the risks and did NOT propose any such rules.

Here is my further proposed Section dealing with this.  Comments and developing reasoning are welcome.


How the race committee should perform its new obligations


Direct Observation
The reasons for the introduction of NSC in Submission 139-18 indicate that the primary intention was to expedite the scoring of boats that the race committee directly observed to have not sailed the course.  The race committee may, however, score boats NSC in any other circumstance where it has evidence that proves the matter.


Care and caution
Race committees should score a boat NSC only when there is clear evidence that proves that a boat has not sailed the course.

Race committees should beware of mistakes, and desirably obtain more than one source of evidence, for example, mark-rounding lists, significantly inconsistent finishing time or place, or incidental observations on the water by the race committee or judges, before scoring a boat NSC.

Race committees should not score a boat NSC on weak or speculative grounds and cast an onus on the boat to retrieve her position by requesting redress.


Standard of proof, evidence and weighing evidence
The standard of proof the race committee is required to apply is on the balance of probabilities, or preponderance of evidence.

There is no reason why race committees should not consider evidence in any form, provided that they consider the merits of the evidence, and the well known reservations about some forms of evidence.

Forms of evidence that may be considered include:

·         Observations and records of the race committee itself;
·         Reports from other race officials;
·         Reports from outside observers;
·         Reports by competitors, within the limitations of evidence given by interested parties;  and
·         Video or photographic evidence, within its limitations.


Notice to boats to be scored NSC and ‘hearings’ by the race committee
Race committees are not obliged to give any notice to or have any discussions with a competitor before scoring them NSC.  As discussed in Submission 139-18, any lack of procedural fairness or due process arising from not informing the competitor can be cured by the boat requesting redress, with the full formality of a redress hearing.

Race committees may communicate with competitors who they are considering scoring NSC so if they wish.  In any discussions with competitors, care must be taken:

·         That the burden of proof is not placed on the competitor to prove that they did sail the course:  the race committee is seeking evidence that they did not sail the course;
·         There is no appearance of threats or bargaining, for example ‘if you do not do X you will be scored NSC’.

Race committees should not conduct ‘hearings’, they have no power to do so, and race committee members who are not also judges may lack the experience and expertise to do so.  If it is necessary to weigh conflicting evidence, race committees may choose to refer the matter to a protest committee by protesting the boat concerned.

Responding to complaints and enquiries from competitors
Sometimes race committees receive complaints or enquiries from competitors about boats not sailing the course.

Under the old rules, a proper response to such enquiries would have been to advise the enquirer that if they thought that a boat had broken a rule and should be penalised they should protest the boat.

Now that the race committee has the responsibility to score boats NSC, the race committee should respond more positively.  It should review its records and observations to identify any evidence, such as highly inconsistent or impossible performance, if that evidence proves that a boat has not sailed the course score her NSC accordingly.  Where the race committee cannot be satisfied that a boat has not sailed the course, it may protest the boat, or advise a complaining boat to do so, if they wish to do so.

A similar process should be applied to credible complaints and enquiries from persons who are not competitors.



Created: 20-Oct-07 11:07
Sue Reilly
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Umpire
  • Regional Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
1
Unfortunately, and I hope I am wrong, I can see this leading to competitors not protesting a boat for sailing the wrong course citing that it is now the RC's job to police that.  IMO sailing should stick to being a self policing sport.  Besides, depending on where and with who a Race Officer works, this could become a big challenge.  Sometimes it's hard enough to get the mark boat folks to record roundings, and get them all, and with the mark bot craze these days.  Again - I will state I hope I am wrong.  

Edit to add:  And with the current state of the world and Covid, most YCs are trying to minimize the amount of people on RC.  
Created: 20-Oct-07 14:30
Tim Hohmann
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
1
Sue, I definitely agree with you. If a boat (or her support person) believes a competitor failed to properly sail the course she should protest on rule 28, and if a PC finds that a boat did not sail the course her score would be DSQ, not NSC. I don't see any reason that a RC would score a boat NSC based on a competitor's report since there's a better route for that - RC's response to such a report should be to advise the boat to file a protest.

I think NSC should mainly be reserved for errors that are directly observed by the RC. RC should probably consider reports from uninterested third parties but I like the standards laid out by John Allan.

Created: 20-Oct-07 15:48
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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Sue,

I can see this leading to competitors not protesting a boat for sailing the wrong course citing that it is now the RC's job to police that.

Boats already do this.  Just last night I had three boats try it on at the finishing line.  The answer is Case 39.

Case 39

Sportsmanship and the RulesRule 60.2(a), Right to Protest; Right to Request Redress or Rule 69 Action
A race committee is not required to protest a boat. The primary responsibility for enforcing the rules lies with the competitors.

IMO sailing should stick to being a self policing sport. 

I couldn't agree more.

But, as discussed in my draft above, I think that when they receive a complaint or enquiry from a boat, the race committee should, under the 2021 RRS, 'take it to first base', that is, examine the information they already have.

If the race committee has, i its hands, proof that a boat has not sailed the course, they must score it NSC.

If the race committee is not in possession of the necessary proof, or sufficient evidence to justify the race committee in protesting, then its absolutely up to the boat to validly protest.
Created: 20-Oct-07 21:20
Sue Reilly
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Umpire
  • Regional Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
My first reaction is if I receive a complaint or inquiry from a boat I ask why they didn't protest them.  As a PRO my burden of proof is from my MR umpire side which is if I didn't see it it didn't happen.  So I like the fall back of being able to take it to the room and at least get to hear both sides of the story.  If it gets that far there is more than just myself making the decision which I would hope that if the facts are clear cut the boat that is the offender would retire from the race.   



EDIT-ADDED
Any know off the top of their head why this was changed in the new rules?  I'll go look to see if I can find an answer
Created: 20-Oct-07 22:06
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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Sue

These changes were made according to Proposal 4 of Submission 139-18 considered at the 2018 and World Sailing Annual Conference which included 4 parts:

·         Part 1:  Insert a definition of ‘sail the course’ based on the string part of rule 28.2.
·         Part 2:  Delete the ‘string part’ of rule 28.2, and base rule 28.1 on the newly defined term ‘sail the course’
·         Part 3:  Insert a requirement that a boat must ‘sail the course’ into the definition of finish.
·         Part 4:  Amend rules A4.2 and A5 (new rules A5.1 and A5.2) to include a requirement to score a boat that did not sail the course [N]SC without a hearing.

The insertion, by Part 3, of ‘sail the course’ into the definition of finish was reversed by Submission 129-19.

Parts 1, 2 and 4 were implemented in the published version of the new rules.
Created: 20-Oct-07 22:31
Sue Reilly
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Umpire
  • Regional Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
1
I guess I don't have to like it, I just have to live with it.  Just wondering if there are that many protests for boats not sailing the course properly.  I have been doing RC since '85 and can count on 1 hand the amount of protests I have seen for this that have been originated by the RC, and the offending boats retired from the race.  Only once has it gone to the room.   
Created: 20-Oct-07 22:46
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Peter van Muyden
Nationality: Canada
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • International Race Officer
1
Unlike for OCS, BFD, UFD penalties there is nothing in the 2021-2024 RRS that the RC must score a boat NSC for not sailing the course.   Our sport is a self policing sport, and the boats should protest NSC infractions.  In the past and in some cases, I have protested boats for not sailing the course.  Now and in similar circumstances I will score these boats NSC 

I would never accept the information from a competitor that a boat did not sail the course.   The competitor should have protested the boat if it had time to talk to me.

Created: 20-Oct-07 22:49
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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Peter,

I beg to differ.

New Rule A5.1 states

A boat that did not ,,, sail the course  ... shall be scored accordingly by the race committee without a hearing.

This RRS absolutely says that the race committee must score a boat NSC if it has not sailed the course.
Created: 20-Oct-07 23:14
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Peter van Muyden
Nationality: Canada
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
  • International Race Officer
0
Hi John,

I stand corrected.  There will be more unhappy parents. ;-) 

Peter
Created: 20-Oct-07 23:40
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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Thanks everybody for feedback so far on the Section How the race committee should perform its new obligations.

That was the second main section, which I posted out of order because people seemed to want to discuss those issues.

Here now is the first Section Obligations of the Race Committee.

Please let us all know what you think of the ideas.


New obligations of the race committee


Obligation to score boats NSC
New rules A5.1 and A5.2 create a new duty for race committees to score boats that do not sail the course NSC, without a hearing.

This duty will come into play when the race committee comes into possession of evidence that proves that a boat has not sailed the course.


No obligation to monitor
It has been suggested that NSC puts an onus on the race committee to monitor each boat to check if it sails the course.

These words in italics are quoted from Submission 129-19.  These words do not refer to the introduction of NSC by means of the amendments to rules A5.1 and A5.2 as finally approved.

Rather they refer to the previous amendment of the definition of finish, proposed by Part 3 of Submission 139-18, which added a requirement to have ‘sailed the course’ into the definition of Finish.  That is what would have created the unachievable onus on the race committee to monitor boats sailing the course.
 
Submission 129-19 removed the requirement that boats must sail the course to comply with the definition of finish.  This removed the ‘unachievable’ onus to monitor all boats and all marks.
 
There is no new onus or obligation on race committees to monitor boats or marks arising from the introduction of NSC and changes to rules 5.1 and 5.2.

Obligation to consider records and observations
I suggest that where the race committee has already accepted responsibility to monitor boats or marks, by, for example observing and recording mark roundings, it is then obliged to pay attention to those observations and records to identify boats that have not sailed the course and score them NSC.

Likewise, where the race committee’s finishing records show that a boat could not possibly have sailed the course in the time recorded the race committee should score her NSC.

Created: 20-Oct-09 21:47
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John Mooney
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Umpire
  • Regional Race Officer
0
I’d respectfully suggest a slight reworking of the language around the RC’s “accepted responsibility” to record mark roundings, only because I don’t know that RCs often formally do that. Maybe better to refer to circumstances in which reliable rounding records exist and note the obligation of RCs to consider them where they do? I say “reliable” because without taking issue with your basic premise that a new duty is created for the RC, I’m a little worried that a flawed rounding list in a big fleet could, by itself, be the cause of an NSC finish.
Created: 20-Oct-10 11:04
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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
John Mooney
said Created: Yesterday 11:04
Maybe better to refer to circumstances in which reliable rounding records exist and note the obligation of RCs to consider them where they do? I say “reliable” because without taking issue with your basic premise that a new duty is created for the RC, I’m a little worried that a flawed rounding list in a big fleet could, by itself, be the cause of an NSC finish.

I had thought about that, and I tried to cover it in the paragraph under Care and Caution in the previously posted section How Race Committees Should Perform ...

Race committees should beware of mistakes, and desirably obtain more than one source of evidence, for example, mark-rounding lists, significantly inconsistent finishing time or place, or incidental observations on the water by the race committee or judges, before scoring a boat NSC.

Do you think this needs improvement?
Created: 20-Oct-11 04:21
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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
John Mooney
said Created: Yesterday 11:04
I’d respectfully suggest a slight reworking of the language around the RC’s “accepted responsibility” to record mark roundings, only because I don’t know that RCs often formally do that. Maybe better to refer to circumstances in which reliable rounding records exist and note the obligation of RCs to consider them where they do?.

John, Thanks for the feedback.

While I quite like 'accepted responsibility' notion, I'm not wedded to it, and your alternative suggestions are useful.

What did you mean by 'that' in  'I don’t know that RCs often formally do that'?
  • That race committees don't often formally station mark-boats and record mark-roundings?  or
  • That they don't understand that by doing so they are accepting a responsibility?

Created: 20-Oct-11 04:26
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Kim Kymlicka
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Umpire
0
2021-2024 Rules A 5.1.,  A 5.2

Since the new (2021 – 2024) rules A5.1 and A 5.2 allow the RC to score a boat NSC without a hearing, it would be prudent to ask under what conditions will the RC score a boat NSC?

We know from the new definition of Sail the Course the requirements that a boat has to satisfy the definition in order not to be scored NSC. “A boat sails the course provided that a string………

(a) passes each mark of the course for the race on the required side and in
the correct order,
(b) touches each mark designated in the sailing instructions to be a rounding
mark, and
(c) passes between the marks of a gate from the direction of the course from
the previous mark.

For RC to score a boat NSC, it has to have information/evidence that contradicts any one of the above requirements. How it collects such information/evidence is the domain of the RC and must be clearly demonstrable to a boat scored NSC contesting the NSC score.

After all, the Submission 139-18 tells us that:

…..Because the facts in most such cases will be clear and not contested, there should be a net reduction in the number of hearings

This requires the RC to produce such clear and uncontested facts. Anything short of that, it will be contested. Will that lead to increase in the number of hearings, the opposite to the desired outcome? There is a chance that it may.

Kim 

Created: 20-Oct-11 06:35
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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Kim,

You asked

 it would be prudent to ask under what conditions will the RC score a boat NSC?

I'm not sure what you are driving at, but do these answers advance the discussion?

A race committee will score a boat NSC when:
  • The race committee has sufficient evidence to prove that the boat has not sailed the course.
  • The race committee lacks sufficient evidence and is on a crusade to punish 'rule-breakers'.
  • The race committee lacks sufficient evidence and succumbs to pressure (from OA, competitors, elsewhere).
  • The race committee makes a mistake about the nature or quality, or interpretation of the evidence that it has.


You also said

For RC to score a boat NSC, it has to have information/evidence that contradicts any one of the above requirements. How it collects such information/evidence is the domain of the RC and must be clearly demonstrable to a boat scored NSC contesting the NSC score.

Firstly, I strongly agree with you that whether and how a race committee collects evidence about boats sailing the course is a matter for them.

Secondly, I would agree that the evidence and conclusion of NSC needs to be demonstrable, otherwise the race committee is riding for a fall.

But while it is no doubt good race management practice to show competitors evidence of NSC (and other race committee scoring decisions, DNS, OCS, ZFP, DNF), if the race committee is approached by the competitor, I can't see any obligation in the rules to do so, 

You went on to say

This requires the RC to produce such clear and uncontested facts. Anything short of that, it will be contested.

Firstly, as I said above, there is no obligation under the rules on the race committee to 'produce' anything, until it comes before a protest committee.

Secondly, there  is no requirement for each fact to be 'uncontested'.  The race committee, like an eventual protest committee, may rely on the balance of probabilities.

A competitor may, in a Scoring Review Request discussion convince the race committee that it was mistaken, in which case it can correct the score, otherwise, the competiror's remedy is to request redress.

And lastly you said

 Will that lead to increase in the number of hearings, the opposite to the desired outcome? There is a chance that it may.

While we hear various stories, and see various rules discussions in forums about NSC situations, I suggest that these are not the 'tip of the icebert', they represent the whole of the iceberg:  I don't think NSC situations are all that problematic.

In my experience, as a judge, I reckon I see or hear of about one rule 28 protest a season, most of which result in a boat being penalised.  As a race officer, I can think of a couple of occasions in the last five years when I have taken action (by discussing with competitors) about rule 28:  in one of these, the competitor promptly retired, in the other, I had it wrong.

If race committees use the power prudently, mainly in accordance with conditions foreseen in the submission, I see no reason why the aim of the submission to reduce hearings won't be achieved.

As long as the rules compliance crusaders don't start to talk up the use of NSC, I see no reason why it's use should cause more hearings, rather than less.


Created: 20-Oct-11 07:53
P
John Mooney
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Umpire
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Hi John -

I think your Care & Caution lines in the RC performance section are fine. At the same time, I think there's value in reiterating that not all such information is necessarily reliable (partly for reasons expressed below). I freely admit that this may be an overabundance of caution.

What did you mean by 'that' in  'I don’t know that RCs often formally do that'?
  • That race committees don't often formally station mark-boats and record mark-roundings?  or
  • That they don't understand that by doing so they are accepting a responsibility?

I meant both, really. In most of the racing I've served, either as a judge or a race officer, it has been common (where the personnel are available) to ask mark boats to take rounding information, and I certainly recognize it as best practice for a host of reasons, but I've always understood that request to be on a "best efforts" basis, and I think I've rarely if ever seen it be formalized, or be considered as a responsibility or obligation of the RC. I suspect the reason is that mark boats are sometimes otherwise engaged, and in some fleets, particularly at earlier marks, the boats round at such a pace that missing one or two isn't all that uncommon.

Is it your view that I've missed an RC obligation, and if so, why?
Created: 20-Oct-11 11:07
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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
John,

What I'm trying to get across is that (in my opinion, that I'd like to persuade people to accept), between the Obligation to Consider and the Care and Caution about Mistakes, if a race committee collects information about mark-roundings, they now must consider that information, with due consideration to its reliability, to determine whether to score any boats NSC:  they can't just file it for reference.

If a race committee has in its possession (that is, in the possession of any person forming part of the race committee (See Definitions that Aren't Definitions, RRS, Introduction, Terminology, Race  Committee) that proves that a boat has not sailed the course and does not score the boat NSC, that is an improper omission of the race committee.

Maybe put it this way (although I wouldn't like to put it thus 'oppositionally' in the paper):  they have no obligation to collect, but once they collect they have an obligation to use.

This may be a new obligation, arising from the obligation to score boats NSC.
Created: 20-Oct-11 13:00
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John Mooney
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Umpire
  • Regional Race Officer
0
John, I fully agree with your reading of the RC’s newly conferred duty to score a boat they become convinced hasn’t sailed the course as NSC. I remain somewhat cautious about how RCs will come by such a conviction, and I want RCs to share that sense of caution. I suppose I’m still engaged with you about this because I’m still anxious that your document doesn’t promote that caution enough, and that the frustration and ill will that would flow from competitors’ having to go through a redress request for a mistaken NSC score would be destructive, whether that request was successful or not (obviously worse if not). Also, many OAs struggle with finding enough people to run an event now, so I’m reticent about promulgating guidance that’s not strictly in the rules that implies RCs have new obligations that may require more people to meet. So;

  • Some instances will be easy (eg., a race officer watched a boat cut a corner, round a wrong mark, inadvertently unwind the string around a mark, etc., and fail to correct their error).
  • I share with Sue and others, though, the belief that a report from a competitor (or even more than one) is more appropriately the subject of a protest (with witnesses) if it’s not well supported by other evidence already in the RC’s possession. I submit that it’s good not to require a hearing for something the RC is sure of, but it’s not good to persuade the fleet that it can ignore whether or not everyone has sailed the course because that enforcement is exclusively the RC’s problem. Appendix P is frequently necessary, but it dilutes the competitor enforcement that I value in sailing, so one Appendix P - style requirement is enough, in my view.
  • It seems to me that unless the confidence of those taking rounding information is absolute that their information is accurate (and we should be very mindful of our ability to make clerical mistakes), a boat’s absence from a rounding list shouldn’t be enough to “prove” an NSC breach on its own. Cause to begin a further investigation? Certainly - verifying unexplained changes in position or timing (if timing is recorded) after the mark in question, asking the competitors who rounded other marks near the missing boat if they remember that boat at the mark in question, etc., but I’d want more proof than just a gap in a rounding list in many circumstances.

Again, I understand that your guidelines recognize much of this, and I may be being unreasonably picky, but it’s a matter of emphasis to me. Thanks for indulging my anxiety. 😬😄
Created: 20-Oct-11 15:57
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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
John,

Thanks for your ongoing feedback.

I, and I think just about everybody else, on first seeing the NSC provision, thought:  we know there are stories and cases about race committees getting rule 28 decisions wrong, and this looks like an opportunity for them to make more mistakes and make them more formally.

Looking at the Submission, and thinking carefully about it, I think that the anecdotes and cases are not the 'tip of the iceberg', they represent the whole of the iceberg:  I don't think NSC situations are all that problematic or frequent.

Misuse of the NSC provisions will only become a problem if some ‘boosters’ or crusaders start telling race officers to over-use NSC.

I agree that race committees should be cautious about using the NSC power.  That’s why I included a section on Care and Caution, and a specific reference to mistakes in the paper.

I really don’t see the need to go any further than that.

I think that emphasising caution any more runs the risk of making race committees hyper-cautious, which will defeat the purpose of the NSC provisions.

The proof of the pudding will emerge if we start to see well-founded requests for redress against bad race committee decisions. 
Created: 20-Oct-11 21:51
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John Allan
Nationality: Australia
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Thanks John and Kym for the feedback on the Obligations section.

Further comments on the Obligations or the How the Race Committee should Perform sections are still welcome.

Below, for comments, is the last section of the paper.


Responding to complaints and enquiries from competitors
Sometimes race committees receive complaints or enquiries from competitors about boats not sailing the course.

Under the old rules, a proper response to such enquiries would have been to advise the enquirer that if they thought that a boat had broken a rule and should be penalised they should protest the boat.

Now that the race committee has the responsibility to score boats NSC, the race committee should respond more positively.  It should review its records and observations to identify any evidence, such as highly inconsistent or impossible performance, if that evidence proves that a boat has not sailed the course score her NSC accordingly.  Where the race committee cannot be satisfied that a boat has not sailed the course, it may protest the boat, or advise a complaining boat to do so, if they wish to do so.

A similar process should be applied to credible complaints and enquires from persons who are not competitors.

Protest committee considerations


Boat can be penalised by being scored NSC without a valid protest
NSC is now a penalty that can be imposed on a boat without a hearing under rule A5.1, and is specifically exempted from the requirements of rule 63.1 for a valid protest hearing.

A protest committee may decide that a boat is to be scored NSC in a redress hearing.


Natural justice – boat needs to be represented in hearing
The usual way a NSC scoring issue will come before a protest committee is as a result of a request for redress by a boat that has been scored NSC by the race committee.  Otherwise some other boat may request redress for an improper action or omission of the race committee in not scoring a boat NSC.

Where a protest committee considers a request for redress not initiated by the boat alleged not to have sailed the course, natural justice or due process demands that, unless the redress is promptly denied, the boat alleged not to have sailed the course must be afforded the rights of a party to hear all evidence, question witnesses and make submissions to the protest committee.  If the protest committee is concerned about this it may use the mechanism of calling a hearing under rule 60.3(b) to consider redress for that boat, and combining that hearing into the hearing of other request.

Created: 20-Oct-12 09:42
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John Mooney
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I have two thoughts about this section. First, FWIW, it will be changed in the USA by US Sailing’s prescriptions to RRS 63.2, which set extra notice requirements for redress hearings and provide that any other competitor who makes a written request to do so must be made a party to any redress hearing.

Second, this may strike you as a discussion of the number of angels that fit on a pinhead, but while I understand the rationale for your observation that a redress request may be brought by a competitor who thinks the RC should have scored another boat NSC, I submit that such a request would torture the intent of the rule, and that as soon as the RC in question says they weren’t sufficiently convinced by whatever evidence they have in hand, the PC should deny redress. Failing to score a boat NSC when the RC is convinced she breached 28.1 (“Yes, we knew they didn’t sail the course, but scored her as having done so anyway.”) would be an improper omission of the RC, but failing to be convinced would not.

I say that because it seems to me that the rule is written to make the RC’s duty to score someone NSC flow from their conviction that the boat has failed to sail the course. If a competitor believes the RC should have been convinced but weren’t, that competitor’s proper remedy is to protest the boat they think has broken RRS 28.1 under that rule, not request redress because the RC hasn’t scored her NSC without a hearing. If they think the RC will have light to shed on the matter, they are certainly free to call its members as witnesses.
Created: 20-Oct-12 12:26
Sue Reilly
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My opinion is that is I 'think' someone didn't sail the course versus if if I 'know' they didn't sail the course.  The only way I 'know' something is if I have witnessed it myself. In the future I might in a number of circumstances tell my mark boat folks NOT to take roundings.  Roundings I have always regarded as something a mark boat does if they have nothing else to do.  The most frustrating thing is when you start to get some unusual shifts at the bottom of the course and are told to wait on a wind check from the top mark boat because they are taking roundings.  Roundings to me are always the lowest priority and personally I leave it up to them to decide if they want to record them or no.   I wouldn't take them as irrefutable proof of someone sailing the course.     

With that being said I am not including high level events, i.e. Nationals, Regional or World Championships.  
Created: 20-Oct-12 15:51
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Kim Kymlicka
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The short(er) version:
 John,
When I said: … it would be prudent to ask under what conditions will the RC score a boat NSC?

You asked: I'm not sure what you are driving at, but do these answers advance the discussion?
A race committee will score a boat NSC when:
  • The race committee has sufficient evidence to prove that the boat has not sailed the course. 
  • The race committee lacks sufficient evidence and is on a crusade to punish 'rule-breakers'.
  • The race committee lacks sufficient evidence and succumbs to pressure (from OA, competitors, elsewhere).
  • The race committee makes a mistake about the nature or quality, or interpretation of the evidence that it has.
The new rules (2021-2024) give a Definition when a boat sails the course. The Definition does not list the ‘conditions’ just as you suggested. (That is not to say they are not good points).

If a boat satisfies the Definition that boat cannot be scored NSC.  

Conversely, it tells us that any absence of compliance with any one of those listed in the Definition, the RC could/should score a boat NSC. 

With the new NSC score that permits the RC to score a boat without a hearing, one would expect the RC to have clear and not contested evidence available. 

Q; What will such evidence consist of?
A: Violation of the Definition including:
(a) passes each mark of the course for the race on the required side and in the correct order,
(b) touches each mark designated in the sailing instructions to be a rounding mark, and
(c) passes between the marks of a gate from the direction of the course from the previous mark.

How will the RC collect these facts? There may be a challenge here, but we are assured by the Proposal 4 that:

…..Because the facts in most such cases will be clear and not contested, there should be a net reduction in the number of hearings.

Can we start a list of facts that will be clear and not contested and how does the RC go about obtaining them? All in the stated goal of reducing the number of hearings.

See you in the room.

Kim
____________________________________
The Long(er) version:

 John,

When I said: … it would be prudent to ask under what conditions will the RC score a boat NSC?

You asked: I'm not sure what you are driving at, but do these answers advance the discussion?
A race committee will score a boat NSC when:
  • The race committee has sufficient evidence to prove that the boat has not sailed the course. 
  • The race committee lacks sufficient evidence and is on a crusade to punish 'rule-breakers'.
  • The race committee lacks sufficient evidence and succumbs to pressure (from OA, competitors, elsewhere).
  • The race committee makes a mistake about the nature or quality, or interpretation of the evidence that it has.
The new rules (2021-2024) give a Definition when a boat sails the course. The Definition does not list the ‘conditions’ just as you suggested. (That is not to say they are not good points).

If a boat satisfies the Definition that boat cannot be scored NSC.  

Conversely, it tells us that any absence of compliance with any one of those listed in the Definition, the RC could/should score a boat NSC. 

Under the current rules, if the race committee believes from its observations that a boat has made an error in sailing the course, it is required to score the boat in her finishing position and then protest her for breaking rule 28.

In the ‘Reasons’ in support of the submission from the Chairman of the Racing Rules Committee we are reminded in Proposal 4 that the Proposal 4 does makes two changes in current race committee practice:… the committee will be permitted to score such a boat ‘ESC’, thereby penalizing her without a hearing. ESC got changed to NSC. 

The next sentence is a reassurance of the obvious: However, the rights of the boat are protected because she may request redress if she believes she did sail the course correctly.

Here, the RC must produce evidence, just like in the OCS, ZFP, DNS, DNF, that a boat failed the condition(s) in the Definition. 

As we know from our own experiences, most of today’s requests for redress are the contested scores by the RC (OCS, ZFP, DNS, DNF). OCS ranks on the top of the list.

There is nothing inherently wrong with any of OCS, ZFP, DNS, DNF scores and we know how the RC collects evidence that it can present at a hearing.  All are collected principally by RC boat that is or has been stationary in one position (starting or finishing line) and by personal on that RC boat utilizing various means of recording the evidence.

With the new NSC score that permits the RC to score a boat without a hearing, one would expect the RC to have clear and not contested evidence available. 

Q; What will such evidence consist of?
A: Violation of the Definition including:
(a) passes each mark of the course for the race on the required side and in the correct order,
(b) touches each mark designated in the sailing instructions to be a rounding mark, and
(c) passes between the marks of a gate from the direction of the course from the previous mark.

How will the RC collect these facts? There may be a challenge here, but we are assured by the Proposal 4 that:

…..Because the facts in most such cases will be clear and not contested, there should be a net reduction in the number of hearings.

Can we start a list of facts that will be clear and not contested and how does the RC go about obtaining them? All in the stated goal of reducing the number of hearings.  

Kim

Created: 20-Oct-13 07:00
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John Allan
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Sue, John B, and Kim,

John,

Thanks for your ongoing feedback.

I, and I think just about everybody else, on first seeing the NSC provision, thought:  we know there are stories and cases about race committees getting rule 28 decisions wrong, and this looks like an opportunity for them to make more mistakes and make them more formally.

Looking at the Submission, and thinking carefully about it, I think that the anecdotes and cases are not the 'tip of the iceberg', they represent the whole of the iceberg:  I don't think NSC situations are all that problematic or frequent.

Misuse of the NSC provisions will only become a problem if some ‘boosters’ or crusaders start telling race officers to over-use NSC.

I agree that race committees should be cautious about using the NSC power.  That’s why I included a section on Care and Caution, and a specific reference to mistakes in the paper.

I really don’t see the need to go any further than that.

I think that emphasising caution any more runs the risk of making race committees hyper-cautious, which will defeat the purpose of the NSC provisions.

The proof of the pudding will emerge if we start to see well-founded requests for redress against bad race committee decisions.

but I think all the issues you are raising are covered in the paper and I’m reluctant to change the tone and emphasis of the paper to encourage timidity by race committees in using NSC.
Created: 20-Oct-20 03:59
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John Allan
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Here now is the completed paper.
Scoring Boats NSC

Introduction


Introduction of NSC
The Racing Rules of Sailing 2021 – 24 introduces a new category of scoring, ‘NSC’, to be applied by the race committee without a hearing to boats that do not sail the course, by inserting ‘did not sail the course’ into the lists of categories to be scored by the race committee without a hearing in rules A5.1 and A5.2.

These changes were made according to Proposal 4 of Submission 139-18 considered at the 2018 and World Sailing Annual Conference which included 4 parts:

·         Part 1:  Insert a definition of ‘sail the course’ based on the string part of rule 28.2.
·         Part 2:  Delete the ‘string part’ of rule 28.2, and base rule 28.1 on the newly defined term ‘sail the course’
·         Part 3:  Insert a requirement that a boat must ‘sail the course’ into the definition of finish.
·         Part 4:  Amend rules A4.2 and A5 (new rules A5.1 and A5.2) to include a requirement to score a boat that did not sail the course [N]SC without a hearing.

The insertion, by Part 3, of ‘sail the course’ into the definition of finish was reversed by Submission 129-19.

Parts 1, 2 and 4 were implemented in the published version of the new rules.


Purpose and reasons
The purposes and reasons for Proposal 4 stated in Submission 139-18 were relevantly to Part 4 as shown below:

·         Purposes:
-       to clarify and simplify all rules that refer to a boat ‘sailing the course’
-       [to] reduce … the number of hearings that the protest committee must conduct.
·         Reasons
-       Under the current rules, if the race committee believes from its observations that a boat has made an error in sailing the course, it is required to score the boat in her finishing position and then protest her for breaking rule 28. If Proposal 4 is accepted, the committee will be permitted to score such a boat ‘[N]SC, thereby penalizing her without a hearing.
-       However, the rights of the boat are protected because she may request redress if she believes she did sail the course correctly. Because the facts in most such cases will be clear and not contested, there should be a net reduction in the number of hearings. 

Practical issues
The introduction of NSC raises some practical issues which are discussed below.

·         What are and are not the new obligations of race committees with respect to NSC;
·         How the race committee should perform its new obligations; and 
·         Protest committee considerations.

New obligations of the race committee


Obligation to score boats NSC
New rules A5.1 and A5.2 create a new duty for race committees to score boats that do not sail the course NSC, without a hearing.

This duty will come into play when the race committee comes into possession of evidence that proves that a boat has not sailed the course.


No obligation to monitor
It has been suggested that NSC puts an onus on the race committee to monitor each boat to check if it sails the course.

These words in italics are quoted from Submission 129-19.  These words do not refer to the introduction of NSC by means of the amendments to rules A5.1 and A5.2 as finally approved.

Rather they refer to the previous amendment of the definition of finish, proposed by Part 3 of Submission 139-18, which added a requirement to have ‘sailed the course’ into the definition of Finish.  That is what would have created the unachievable onus on the race committee to monitor boats sailing the course.
 
Submission 129-19 removed the requirement that boats must sail the course to comply with the definition of finish.  This removed the ‘unachievable’ onus to monitor all boats and all marks.
 
There is no new onus or obligation on race committees to monitor boats or marks arising from the introduction of NSC and changes to rules 5.1 and 5.2.

Obligation to consider records and observations
I suggest that where the race committee is already taking responsibility to monitor boats or marks, by, for example observing and recording mark roundings, it is then obliged to pay attention to those observations and records to identify boats that have not sailed the course and score them NSC.

Likewise, where the race committee’s finishing records show that a boat could not possibly have sailed the course in the time recorded the race committee should score her NSC.

How the race committee should perform its new obligations


Direct Observation
The reasons for the introduction of NSC in Submission 139-18 indicate that the primary intention was to expedite the scoring of boats that the race committee directly observed to have not sailed the course.  The race committee may, however, score boats NSC in any other circumstance where it has evidence that proves the matter.


Care and caution
Race committees should score a boat NSC only when there is clear evidence that proves that a boat has not sailed the course.

Race committees should beware of mistakes, and desirably obtain more than one source of evidence, for example, mark-rounding lists, significantly inconsistent finishing time or place, or incidental observations on the water by the race committee or judges, before scoring a boat NSC.

Race committees should not score a boat NSC on weak or speculative grounds and cast an onus on the boat to retrieve her position by requesting redress.


Standard of proof, evidence and weighing evidence
The standard of proof the race committee is required to apply is on the balance of probabilities, or preponderance of evidence.

There is no reason why race committees should not consider evidence in any form, provided that they consider the merits of the evidence, and the well known reservations about some forms of evidence.

Forms of evidence that may be considered include:

·         Observations and records of the race committee itself;
·         Reports from other race officials;
·         Reports from outside observers;
·         Reports by competitors, within the limitations of evidence given by interested parties;  and
·         Video or photographic evidence, within its limitations.


Notice to boats to be scored NSC and ‘hearings’ by the race committee
Race committees are not obliged to give any notice to or have any discussions with a competitor before scoring them NSC.  As discussed in Submission 139-18, any lack of procedural fairness or due process arising from not informing the competitor can be cured by the boat requesting redress, with the full formality of a redress hearing.

Race committees may communicate with competitors who they are considering scoring NSC so if they wish.  In any discussions with competitors, care must be taken:

·         That the burden of proof is not placed on the competitor to prove that they did sail the course:  the race committee is seeking evidence that they did not sail the course.
·         There is no appearance of threats or bargaining, for example ‘if you do not do X you will be scored NSC’.

Race committees should not conduct ‘hearings’:  they have no power to do so, and race committee members who are not also judges may lack the experience and expertise to do so.  If it is necessary to weigh conflicting evidence, race committees may choose to refer the matter to a protest committee by protesting the boat concerned.


Responding to complaints and enquiries from competitors
Sometimes race committees receive complaints or enquiries from competitors about boats not sailing the course.

Under the old rules, a proper response to such enquiries would have been to advise the enquirer that if they thought that a boat had broken a rule and should be penalised they should protest the boat.

Now that the race committee has the responsibility to score boats NSC, the race committee should respond more positively.  It should review its records and observations to identify any evidence, such as highly inconsistent or impossible performance, and if that evidence proves that a boat has not sailed the course, score her NSC accordingly.  Where the race committee cannot be satisfied that a boat has not sailed the course, it may protest the boat, or advise a complaining boat to protest, if they wish to do so.

A similar process should be applied to credible complaints and enquires from persons who are not competitors.

Protest committee considerations


Boat can be penalised by being scored NSC without a valid protest
NSC is now a penalty that can be imposed on a boat without a hearing under rule A5.1, and is specifically exempted from the requirements of rule 63.1 for a valid protest hearing.

A protest committee may decide that a boat is to be scored NSC in a redress hearing.


Natural justice – boat needs to be represented in hearing
The usual way a NSC scoring issue will come before a protest committee is as a result of a request for redress by a boat that has been scored NSC by the race committee.  Otherwise some other boat may request redress for an improper action or omission of the race committee in not scoring a boat NSC.

Where a protest committee considers a request for redress not initiated by the boat alleged not to have sailed the course, natural justice or due process demands that, unless the redress is promptly denied, the boat alleged not to have sailed the course must be afforded the rights of a party to hear all evidence, question witnesses and make submissions to the protest committee.  If the protest committee is concerned about this it may use the mechanism of calling a hearing under rule 60.3(b) to consider redress for that boat, and combining that hearing into the hearing of other request.

Created: 20-Oct-20 04:12
Philip Hubbell
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TLDR
Created: 20-Oct-20 19:15
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Angelo Guarino
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John, as you know, I disagree with the "outside evidence" approach above.  [added: I'm not saying that you are incorrect in your reading of the rules, but rather that since the rules are silent on it, it comes down to RC guidance, as your document intends.]

For the purpose of discussion, I offer what follows ..

IMO, competitors believe and rely-upon that RC scoring actions occurring within A5.1 and A5.2 are based upon an RC's own records and observations.  As you point out, "Race committees are not obliged to give any notice to or have any discussions with a competitor before scoring them NSC."  Additionally, I would add that the RC is also not obliged to disclose any info to the competitor after either.   Therefore an RC has no obligation to inform a competitor whatsoever that an RC's scoring action is based or reliant-upon outside evidence. 

When RC's come into possession of outside-evidence to score a boat NSC, IMO RC's should be guided to protest the boat and present the outside-evidence to the parties and the PC for consideration.  This gives the competitor notice that the evidence comes from outside of the RC, and gives the competitor an opportunity to refute/challenge the evidence or the appropriateness of its source.  For instance, an RC might not be aware that the information source violates 60.2(a)'s limitations, but in a hearing, those conflicts might be raised by the protested boat/party.

It seems to me that guiding RC's to limit applying A5.1/5.2 scoring actions to those instances which they can substantiate based upon their "own records and observations" is both sensible and fair and the only casualty would be the occasional "inconvenience" of a protest hearing.  

Therefore, since the only downside of the approach I outline is the VERY occasional extra protest hearing, I'd propose that guidance on the reliance on outside-evidence be more conservatively handled.
Created: 20-Oct-27 13:42
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John Allan
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Angelo,

I can only rehearse the arguments I made in the paper:
  • Penalties by the race committee without a hearing have been around for a very long time.  While there are some cases about rule A5 (including cases about not sailing the course), none of these addresses the processes of the race committee.
  • Nothing in the rules requires the limited and prescriptive approach you advocate.
  • The stated intent of the rule change was to reduce the procedural requirements, not to increase them.
  • The drafters and approvers of the rule change considered the risk of wrong decisions, and were satisfied that access to the redress process was a sufficient guard against this risk.
  • Experienced race officers already successfully use the Scoring Review Request process, including statements from other competitors to review rule A5 scores.

I expect that any further guidance that WS considers necessary will be included in the Race Management Manual.

I suggest that until such time as we begin to see protests and appeals about NSC, we should not attempt to add to the procedural requirements of race committees.
Created: 20-Oct-27 21:21
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Angelo Guarino
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I suggest that until such time as we begin to see protests and appeals about NSC, we should not attempt to add to the procedural requirements of race committees.

I don’t see what I’m suggesting adding any procedural requirements. 60.2(a) hasn’t gone away.   Even if RC’s were guided to divert the smalll subset of NSC calls that are based on outside-info into the protest-hearing-process, the addition of NSC will still undoubtedly represent an increase in efficiency in reducing trips to the protest room. 

Also, I would add that when one reads the Submission that lead to the change, a predicate of the need-basis is “... if the race committee believes from its observations...”. 

I agree that limitation did not make it into the rules and again make no argument that your guidance-doc is outside of the rules as written ... it’s actually very fine work John.  - Ang
Created: 20-Oct-27 21:58
Tim Hohmann
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This is where NSC differs in kind, I think, from the other instances where A5 allows the RC to assign a score without a hearing. OCS, UFD, ZFD or BFD take place at the starting line where the RC would always be able to observe a breach. In effect, the RC is an irrefutable witness to those breaches. 

RC would be able to directly observe NSC if it occurred at the start or finish line but may or may not directly observe a breach elsewhere on the course. So I agree that the RC should only assign NSC if they directly witness the breach, otherwise it should be the subject of a protest hearing. 
Created: 20-Oct-29 03:37
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John Allan
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Definitely agree with Tim that NSC is different from other rule A5 scores by race committee in the way he describes.

However, I'm sure that the rules drafters and approvers were aware of this and could easily have included the restrictions he discusses in the rule rewrite.  They didn't.

As I've said before, unless and until we see some protests, appeals and cases about NSC we should not be making up new, restrictive rules that are not in the RRS.
Created: 20-Oct-29 05:28
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Kim Kymlicka
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John,
I enjoyed reading your report. Well done.

From the start of this discussion, ‘my challenge’ is based on the ‘confident prediction’ the rule writers expressed:

…. Because the facts in most such cases will be clear and not contested, there should be a net reduction in the number of hearings.

We will find out how this prediction turns out as soon as we get back to regular racing in the 2021.

Kim

 

Created: 20-Oct-29 05:48
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Angelo Guarino
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John, I think my concern can be best made with the following questions. 

Under the rules, may an RC base a NSC call on outside information that would be otherwise disallowed under 60.2(a)?

If “yes” above, in a redress hearing where the NSC’d boat challenges the acceptability of the evidence and shows that the evidence would be disallowed as the basis of an RC protest under 60.2(a), is there a basis in the rules for a PC to “disallow” that evidence and, lacking any further evidence from the RC’s own observations and records, reverse the call?
Created: 20-Oct-29 12:56
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John Allan
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I think the strict rules answer is Yes, a race committee can score a boat NSC on the basis of evidence provided by a person with a conflict of interest [such as a competitor or a support person] if they consider that evidence proves that the boat has not sailed the course.

The RRS are an open rules set:  that which is not forbidden is permitted.

In a redress hearing about  that NSC decision, there is no question of 'acceptability' of the evidence of persons with conflicts of interests.

This is different from the gateway in rules 60.2, 3 and 4 subparagraph (a) about initiating protests.

Protest committees are not bound by the rules of evidence and should rarely concern themselves with the admissibility of evidence.  Rule 63.6 requires the protest committee to take [all] the evidence of the parties and their witnesses.  It is then required to weigh that evidence on its merits.  The protest committee may well give diminished weight to evidence of a self-interested competitor.

Direct evidence of a competitor about a breach will not be either irrelevant or unduly repetitive and should not be excluded by a protest committee.

Of course, if the race committee, as a party to the redress hearing, doesn't bring in the reporting boat to give evidence and just presents their hearsay of the 'report', then that might get a 'double discount' from the protest committee.
Created: 20-Oct-29 13:41
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Angelo Guarino
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This is different from the gateway in rules 60.2, 3 and 4 subparagraph (a) about initiating protests.

It is this "different gateway", creating a backdoor for information which would be otherwise disallowed as an RC-protest-basis, which is at the heart of my concern.

Thanks John for helping me thrash this out.  I think the points have been well made.

Ang
Created: 20-Oct-29 13:53
Carl Schellbach
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As this thread was linked in this morning's Sailing Scuttlebutt, and I felt compelled to reply as it hit me front and center when I read it and we won't see it there until Sunday night and a link directed to here (and I referred to the said link), I thought this would be a good place to post it today. So......

Just read the above section and some of the commentary on RRS.org about it. What’s fun is I served as PRO for an event last weekend and got a report from the weather mark vessel that one of the competitors rounded the windward mark configuration in error. So I scored the competitor NSC. When we got ashore he asked me what he should do now, as he believed he had indeed made a mistake and that he rectified said mistake, thus remaining in compliance with RRS 28.1. I recommended that he file a Scoring Inquiry (which was, in this case, to say Hey Carl, can we talk about this?). If he convinces me that he had indeed complied with the Definition that used to be 28.2, I would score him in his finishing place. If he didn’t, and still didn’t accept the NSC, he could then file for redress and go thru the entire hearing process. (As it happened, he did convince me, I scored him in place, which set off a good long discussion about the string rule and cases 90 and 106, but that’s another, way too long, story.)
 
Long and short is that yes, the RC shall, with sufficient proper information (and a report from another competitor needs an extra helping of credibility to be considered proper), score a competitor NSC, just like the other 3-letter scores a RC may impose without a hearing. Likewise, if there is pushback, there is an intermediate step before the PC gets involved.

To Tim's point nearby above, ALL 3-letter scores a RC may impose should either be 1,000% certain or not imposed at all. During a Scoring Inquiry discussion, not being convinced includes raising reasonable doubt to the RC. Here, the mark vessel guys and even other competitors actually confirmed the competitor's actions, the long discussion thereafter was a difference of interpretation of the relevant Rules (and an IJ confirmed that the proper decision was made properly). In any event, having redress granted for an uncertain RC action is a bad look all around. It's one thing to be wrong, quite another to be uncertain.
Created: 21-Aug-13 15:08
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John Allan
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Thanks Carl.

Would you like to tell us how the mark boat made the mistake and what the rules confusion was?
Created: 21-Aug-13 23:10
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Angelo Guarino
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  • Fleet Measurer
0
Reading Carl’s description it seemed to me a straightforward application of 90.3(c). 

  1. Mark boat’s (part of RC) initial report leads to an RC determined score of NSC
  2. Scoring inquiry initiates a discussion with mark-boat
  3. Mark boat amends initial report indicating boat corrected her course
  4. RC determines from its own observations that it made a scoring error, and corrects it. 

Great work!
Created: 21-Aug-14 13:32
P
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
From a race management point of view I want to know how the mistake was made in the first place,  so I can avoid it. 
Created: 21-Aug-14 14:04
Carl Schellbach
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Race Officer
0
John-
Well, since you asked. It's not really relevant to the NSC discussion, altho it might be somewhat useful educationally. I certainly learned a thing or two!

And sorry for the delay getting back - it's long and we lost internet in an amazing thunderstorm last night.

First to Angelo - Thanks!
Agree with 1 and 4, not so much with 2 and 3. The PRO has the ultimate responsibility for the RC - especially scoring - so initiating a conversation with the mark crews would be somewhat out of line, as it would be for them to enter into it. It's one thing if they appear as witnesses in a Hearing of any sort, but this whole NSC thing is new, and I venture that Scoring Inquiries (whether official or not) should be the first line of defense for a sailor, much as they are with the rest of the RRS A5.1 issues that we've been dealing with for years now. A Scoring Inquiry would go to the PRO first, and if it involved the mark crew then it is up to the PRO to have a conversation with them. If any doubt enters the PRO's mind, the PRO can either file a protest under RRS 28.1 and hope s/he's got or makes the better case, or (my preference) err on the side of the sailor and pitch the NSC and score them in place. If another competitor objects, they are welcome to file under the exact same Rule.

OK, to the incident. To recap the above posting: During the race in question, I received a report from the RC vessel at the windward marks that A (to protect the innocent) had rounded in error. OK, said I, and my scribe made a note of it. We noted his finish place, and scored him NSC. Once ashore, he became aware of the NSC score. He said No, I corrected it (I think because somebody told him he blew it), what do I do now?? I say File a Scoring Inquiry. If we go thru that, and you don’t convince me I’m wrong, I stick with the NSC, then you can file for redress. If I am in error (and by that I mean not as certain as I was, a low bar for sure, but I didn’t tell him that), I’ll change your score to where you finished. He asked How do I do that? I said Say Hey Carl, I’d like to chat about this (low-key event, doncha know), and we’ll sit down and chat and draw pictures and such. So he did, we did, he showed me his track (with which everybody involved agreed), it turns out the string rule was met, and I scored him in place. Afterward, of course, the mark boat guys and at least one other competitor were all over the “need to unwind the string”  and Order of Passing things, so I did some further research, found Cases 90 and 106 (which are related), we ran it by an IJ, and lo and behold, the proper decision was made.

The Windward Mark configuration was of a Vertical Offset, the relevant part described thusly:
This language is inserted in the course description:
 The RC will lay Mark 1A approximately 50 meters (7 boat lengths)
(Star boats - LCS) to windward of Mark 1. Boats shall pass in order Marks 1, 1A, and then 1 all to port before proceeding to the next Mark,  ….

With that in mind, the following:
Facts, again with which nobody disagrees and as illustrated in the picture below:
  1. A passes Mark 1 to Starboard (incorrectly)
  2. A passes Mark 1A to Port (correctly)
  3. A passes Mark 1 to port (correctly) heading downwind
  4. A passes Mark 1 to port (correctly) heading upwind
  5. A passes Mark 1A to port (correctly)
  6. A passes Mark 1 to port (correctly) heading downwind

Which looks like (wind direction top to bottom):

I took drawing lessons from a guy named Pablo...

As can be seen, if the string is pulled taut, it would pass (the term used in Definition) Mark 1 three times, once to Starboard (between Positions 1 & 2), and mark 1A twice (both to port). Yes, I have a picture of that too but they come out so big here...

The misunderstanding was that 1) the passing of Mark 1 to starboard had to be unwound, and 2) that having properly passed Mark 1A first the marks were not passed in order. #1 seems to stem from the concept that in order to maintain a taut string, an incorrect rounding of a single mark to be left to port, the starboard pass needed to be unwound or the u-turn made to make the port rounding would slip off the mark totally. #2 is a little trickier.

#1 is solved in the abstract for Case 90, which says "When a boat's string passes a mark on the required side, she does not break rule 28.1 if her string, when drawn taut, also passes that mark on the non-required side." (all emphases mine – LCS)

The solution to #2 is cleverly hidden. Nowhere does it say that you can only pass a mark once, nor does it say you cannot pass it more than once. All it says (Sailing the Course) is that you have to pass the required marks on the required side in the required order, which A does in Facts 4, 5, and 6 above. It took quite some doing to convince at least one guy that anything that happens before (e.g. Facts 1, 2, and 3) or after meeting the requirement of the Definition is irrelevant (the word used in Case 106, cross-referenced with Case 90).

I gave an example, which I think drove the point home. To whit:
Let's look at course(s) TL in Appendix S. Consider the following:
Per the diagram, Marks 1, 2, and 3 are all to be left to port. Except for competitors who bang the left corner on the first beat (I.e. sails upwind from the start line on starboard tack and passes outside Mark 2), each competitor passes (the term in the definition Sailing the Course) Mark 2, leaving it to port (the correct side?) before passing Mark 1. Assuming strings representing their tracks are pulled taut and thus are shown to pass in order Marks 2, 1, 2, 3, etc., is each of them in violation of RRS 28.1 for having passed Mark 2 first? If not, then why is A for having properly passed Marks before correctly passing Marks 1, 1A, then 1 again per the course description? Of course they aren't, or the course wouldn't be in the RRS. And neither is our friend A.

I didn't exactly see blinding lights come on, but it did sink in. Certainly did for me! And after essentially the above conversation in abstentia with a respected IJ who ended up seeing it the same as did I, having the decision blessed as made was validation enough for me!

Fair winds,
-- Carl


Created: 21-Aug-14 15:42
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Carl, when I said the ScorInq initiated a conversation with the mark-boat … I was referring to within the RC, not between the competitor and mark-boat.

That’s the point of your reply, correct, or were you making a finer point?
Created: 21-Aug-14 16:33
P
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Carl,

Thanks for the description.

I think once you know about Case 90, you won't make that mistake.

I haven't come across the 'Vertical Offset'.

I can see that it achieves the following:
  1. separates beating boats from running boats at the mark (as does a Lateral Offset)
  2. deters rule 18.3 tacking in the zone incidents,
  3. deters gybe-sets (which a race committee might think desirable for sym spinnaker boats, but doesn't seem problematical for Stars).
What are the other advantages/disadvantages compared to the conventional Lateral Offset? 
Created: 21-Aug-14 21:48
Carl Schellbach
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Race Officer
0
Angelo-
A thousand pardons… I misunderstood the chain of events and the involved parties entirely. I am allergic to finer points, a 2x4 across the nose is about as fine as I get. Of course I would (and did) talk to the mark guys before I made up my mind. It is, after all, a team sport!

John-
I may not have known about Case 90, but my interpretation of the Rule was pretty much in line with the Case, it's just explained better (and more authoritatively, it says!) in the book. Some people get stuck in a direction and it can be difficult to overcome the inertia. It's one thing to have guys at the corners who have been doing it for eons and have seen pretty much everything, and something else at a 15 boat regatta in the middle of lake country. Fortunately we had good people who were a pleasure to be around and did pretty much everything asked of them. Education is part of the job of any race officer, certified or no.

We are getting WAY off thread here! The VO was shown to me by Peter Reggio about 5 or 6 years ago now, he used it in the RC 44 regattas IIRC and I see it in Etchells racing and some other stuff too here in the States. In any event, yes, it clears up the carnage at the windward mark by putting the confluence of boats out into open water where we don't worry about "in the zone" rules, as 7 boat lengths keeps everyone further away before they actually meet up. To be honest, it doesn't do as good a job keeping the guys headed to leeward all that clear, so for bigger fleets we use a 3 prong (vertical and horizontal off Mark 1A) offset configuration, getting the best of both worlds. Safety is, as always, job one, and this really helps there. Not sure about the desirability of jibe-sets, if I could do tactics I'd be racing!
Created: 21-Aug-14 23:57
P
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Carl,

Many thanks for the explanation
Created: 21-Aug-19 00:05
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
John, I’d like to circle back and offer a couple comments to your white paper. 

Direct Observation
The reasons for the introduction of NSC in Submission 139-18 indicate that the primary intention was to expedite the scoring of boats that the race committee directly observed to have not sailed the course.  The race committee may, however, score boats NSC in any other circumstance where it has evidence that proves the matter.

Agree.  Though not explicitly stated in the final wording, underlining the stated intent is beneficial IMO. 

Care and caution
Race committees should score a boat NSC only when there is clear evidence that proves that a boat has not sailed the course.

Race committees should beware of mistakes, and desirably obtain more than one source of evidence, for example, mark-rounding lists, significantly inconsistent finishing time or place, or incidental observations on the water by the race committee or judges, before scoring a boat NSC.

Again, I think this is good here. Most of what you have listed is consistent with 90.3(c) “RC .. records” such as rounding lists and finishing times. 

Interesting that you have included observations from judges.  If judges are on the water, they will typically have decided what to do if they see an infraction. A boat not sailing the course or hitting a mark, when no other boat is in a position to see the infraction, are two incidents that judges may decide to protest when witnessed. Otherwise, they are out to just “observe” the racing or rule 42. 

I’m not sure how I feel about judges sharing information with the RC so that they can score NSC.  Since the PC can protest a boat, a judge has a more direct avenue and this maintains independence between the PC/RC. 

Maybe it’s nothing and wouldn’t cause issues … it’s just got my Spidey-Senses tingling. 
Created: 21-Aug-19 13:06
P
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
 Angelo Guarino
said Created: 21-Aug-19 13:06

Interesting that you have included observations from judges.  If judges are on the water, they will typically have decided what to do if they see an infraction. A boat not sailing the course or hitting a mark, when no other boat is in a position to see the infraction, are two incidents that judges may decide to protest when witnessed.

Yes, those are what we would have considered to be typical examples in a jury protest policy, and it would have been consistent with Case 80 and  Case 128 as they stood in the 2017 rules.

I think that with the introduction of NSC, a jury should give a bit more careful consideration to their policy about protesting or other action for not sailing the course.

The whole point of introducing NSC was that when failure to sail the course was reliablly observed by race officials, the boat should be promptly penalised without a hearing.  As I have argued above, there is nothing in the RRS that requres direct observation by the race committee to do this.

Otherwise, they are out to just “observe” the racing ... . 

I don't think there's any point in 'observing' if the judge is not prepared to give evidence as a witness, and in the specific case of a boat not sailing the course, I see no reason why a judge should not give that evidence to the race committee which is empowered to award a NSC score.

I’m not sure how I feel about judges sharing information with the RC so that they can score NSC.  Since the PC can protest a boat, a judge has a more direct avenue and this maintains independence between the PC/RC. 

But the whole point of NSC is to avoid protest hearings.  I don't think it's useful to be inventing restrictive rules that neuter the whole purpose of a RRS provision.

Maybe it’s nothing and wouldn’t cause issues … it’s just got my Spidey-Senses tingling. 

I'm aware of the US Sailing prescription to RRS 63.1, which states

1. no person who brings an incident to the attention of the protest committee or who will give evidence regarding an incident shall be a member of the protest committee for a hearing involving that incident;

In my opinion this prescription is unduly risk averse (although it may well be based on US law).  It completely destroys the provision of RRS 63.6(b) which specifically asserts that members of a protest committee can validly give evidence in a hearing.

This may well have a significant effect on jury policies in the USA, but judges outside the USA should not accept this as a principle.
Created: 21-Sep-01 07:45
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Certainly good points John.

Maybe with NSC, juries might rightfully add to their jury-policy discussion whether or not they will volunteer NSC-type observations to the RC unsolicited, and how that dovetails into their protest criteria otherwise, especially when competitors are in a position to see the incident and protest themselves.

To be clear, I did not intend to suggest that there would be any issue if an OTW judge responded if/when asked what they saw by the RC. Rather I was mulling over how providing unsolicited reports of NSC to the RC might fit into the other criteria they might set for themselves as a policy.

Admittedly, after reviewing what I wrote before, that intent wasn’t clear at all. 
Created: 21-Sep-01 12:30
Jerry Thompson
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Umpire In Training
  • Regional Race Officer
0
I am sorry for being so very late to this terrific discussion.  The recent Rule 28.2 - Definition of Finish thread, has brought it to my attention.

/////
No obligation to monitor
It has been suggested that NSC puts an onus on the race committee to monitor each boat to check if it sails the course.

These words in italics are quoted from Submission 129-19.  These words do not refer to the introduction of NSC by means of the amendments to rules A5.1 and A5.2 as finally approved.

Rather they refer to the previous amendment of the definition of finish, proposed by Part 3 of Submission 139-18, which added a requirement to have ‘sailed the course’ into the definition of Finish.  That is what would have created the unachievable onus on the race committee to monitor boats sailing the course.
 
Submission 129-19 removed the requirement that boats must sail the course to comply with the definition of finish.  This removed the ‘unachievable’ onus to monitor all boats and all marks.
 
There is no new onus or obligation on race committees to monitor boats or marks arising from the introduction of NSC and changes to rules 5.1 and 5.2.
/////

John Allan, I agree that the Racing Rules of Sailing do not place an onus on race committees to monitor boats or marks arising from the introduction of NSC.  However, recording mark roundings is a race management best practice:

US Sailing’s Race Management Handbook contains the following on pages 277-278:

"Recording rounding order
For the reasons mentioned above with respect to abandoning a completed race, and any number of other good reasons, recording the rounding order of all boats is not only a good idea in most racing situations, it has come to be expected by both competitors and the protest committee.

It is extremely important if there is any question of redress (whether the request for redress is against another boat or against the race committee). In addition, knowing rounding order is a safety aid, particularly in low visibility or heavy weather conditions. Boats not accounted for at any rounding can be reported to safety boats so a search can be undertaken.
Such a record will also show if any competitors have “cut corners”; compare lists and report to the race officer and protest committee any indication that some boats may not have rounded all marks. The larger or more important the regatta, the more recording roundings becomes critical.

Rounding orders are best taken by a stake boat at each mark, although the mark-set boat can sometimes substitute, if it is not otherwise engaged. Stake boats should also record seeing any flags “B” or “I” displayed by competing boats to indicate protests or acknowledgments of infringements. Use two people, one to spot and one to record. A tape recorder also helps. Availability of boats and personnel often dictate some other arrangements."


The RYA’s Race Management Guide contains the following guidance on page 54:

"Other duties include recording the positions of boats as the race progresses. In many events this duty is carried out at each rounding mark."


World Sailing’s Race Management Manual addresses the subject of recording mark roundings on page H3
:

"While on station, Mark boats record mark roundings, which may be of use to the Race Committee or the Protest Committee afterwards."


I experienced the following at a Flying Scot regatta where I was PRO:

First race windward/leeward, 4 legs, no issues.

Second race same course.  As the lead boat, a top and highly respected Flying Scot skipper, was approaching the windward mark on the last leg, leg 4, she dropped her spinnaker in preparation to round the leeward mark.  The next 2 Flying Scot skippers did the same.  The fourth boat left her spinnaker up and continued sailing towards the finish line.  I had about 300 yards to figure out and verify what was going on before the fourth Flying Scot crossed the finish line.  I called the windward mark vessel and asked how many times the sail numbers of the three Flying Scots headed back up the course had rounded - the response was 2.  I then checked elapsed times against the Race 1.  I verified and felt very confident that the three Flying Scots headed back up the course should have been finishing.  When I gave a line honors sound signal to the fourth Flying Scot, now the first, the three that had headed back up the course immediately turned around and came to finish.  As they crossed the finish line they shared that race committee must have screwed up.  I told them that we would discuss it ashore.  And so we did, I laid out the mark rounding sheets and the elapsed time data.  They all agreed that the first boat, with the best skipper, had made an error and the second and third boats followed thinking he must be correct since he is a top competitor.  I was very happy to have mark rounding and elapsed time data.  

Another situation in which I have first hand experience was at an Opti regatta.  A sailor broke a rule just above the gate.  This sailor took penalty turns and headed up to the finish failing, I believed,  to pass through the gate.  I was working Appendix P so I was not focused on sailing the course issues.  I told my partner that I didn't think Opti Sail # passed the gate.  We recorded the sail number and checked with the gate vessel who were recording sail numbers as the competitors passed through the gate. RC did not have that sail number as passing the gate.  RC scored the boat NSC after gate vessel alerted the PRO who reviewed the mark rounding data.  No scoring inquiry or redress was requested by the sailor.  I don't believe it was a Rule 2 issue.

I agree that taking mark rounding data is secondary to safety issues, standing by a capsized boat for example, or other race management tasks such as deploying a change mark or monitoring wind direction and speed.  But when they have the ability, I believe mark and signal vessel crews should record mark roundings as a best practice.  

There is an argument that race committees at "less formal events" do not have the resources to take mark roundings.  I have run many races with two race committee vessels, mark vessel and signal vessel, with two folks on the mark vessel and three on the signal vessel and have always managed to take make rounding data on both.  Taking roundings was suspended when safety or other course tasks required, but the majority of the time crews were able to take mark roundings.  And what is a "less formal event"?  All series have a Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions governed by the RRS.  I believe that race management at the club level should be the same level of race management as at the regional and national levels.  The major difference being the skill of the competitors, not the competence of race committees.  Indeed, we could teach sailors bad habits at "less formal" series that they may bring with them to higher levels of competition.

I understand that the several race management handbooks are not rules.  Race committees routinely practice best practices that are not rules.  Determining the lenght of the starting line and scoring inquiries are a couple of examples. 


 
Created: 22-Jan-15 16:11
P
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Hi Jerry,

Welcome to the thread.  Never too late.

I think that pretty much everybody here agrees that accurate rounding lists from mark-boats are best practice, and we didn't need all that convincing.

But I think that at other than elite level events it sometimes doesn't happen.

John Mooney and I had a discussion about what this actually means in practice in some posts around the 10 and 11 Oct 2020 area in the thread above.
Created: 22-Jan-15 21:32
Jerry Thompson
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Umpire In Training
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Thanks John,

I agree that race officers didn’t need all the convincing in my last post.  I was trying to support my position that even small venue race committees should and can follow best practices.  

I reread the conversation between you and John Mooney.  I appreciate the cautious approach discussed in scoring a boat NSC.  Before NSC, race committees would need to protest a boat that did not sail the course.  The PRO would be prepared with evidence to present to the jury.  I think the same applies to NSC, if you score a boat NSC, be prepared to defend the score with evidence at a redress hearing.  And John Mooney made a great point that a missing mark rounding alone is not enough.  It is enough, as he stated, to warrant further investigation.

I expect that in the not too distant future boats will race with a GPS device attached to their bows.  This device will send data to a cloud based program that will make OCS calls, determine if a boat sailed the course, and when it finished or didn’t.  As economies of scale takes hold, even smaller venues will be able to employ this technology.  Of course this will bring new issues.  For example, what happens when a device fails while racing?

Jerry


Created: 22-Jan-16 14:30
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