Welcome to the inauguration of “Committee Boat Corner”! This first post covers a wide range of topics. They are based upon incidents over the past two or three weeks.
1) Taking a penalty (doing turns)
If you wish to clear yourself of protest, you MUST do your turns as soon as safely possible. You do not have time to consult your rule book. Turns should be done on the same leg, with the exception of nearing the next mark – in which case turns at the mark or shortly after are acceptable.
Which rules apply? Let me quote the US Sailing Appeals Book, Appeal 60:
“Rule 44.1 permits a boat to take a penalty at the time of the incident. Rule 44.2 requires the boat to sail well clear of other boats as soon as possible afer the incident and promptly make two turns as described in the rule. Together, these rules require a boat that decides to take a penalty to do so as soon as possible afer the incident. The rule does not provide for time for a boat to deliberate whether she has broken a rule. If she delays in doing her penalty turns, she is still liable to be disqualified.”
2) What if another boat caused me to break the rules?
If you have rights over another boat, and that boat breaks a rule which in turn causes you to foul a third boat, you should protest!
This happens occasionally: Say you are the Leeward boat (L) on port with Windward boat (W) overlapped above you. Starboard boat (S) is coming at both of you. Despite your hails, W fails to tack and you force S to bear off… S hails PROTEST! You should in turn protest W!
RRS 64.1(a) states that “when as a consequence of breaking a rule a boat has compelled another boat to break a rule, the other boat shall be exonerated.”
Appeal 52 Talks about this in more detail.
3) There was a collision, what now?
First of all, let me state that collisions are NEVER ALLOWED. Ever. A protest should result from EVERY contact between boats. See RRS 14.
But what about RRS 14(b) – the part about exoneration if no damage or injury? What is “Damage”?
The ISAF Case Book talks about “Damage” (Case 19):
“It is not possible to define ‘damage’ comprehensively, but one current English dictionary says ‘harm . . . impairing the value or usefulness of something.’
This definition suggests questions to consider. Examples are:
– Was the current market value of any part of the boat, or of the boat as a whole, diminished?
– Was any item of the boat or her equipment made less functional?”
4) I saw another boat break a rule against another boat, what can I do?
Per RRS 60.1 and 60.1 (a): “A boat may…protest another boat, but not for an alleged breach of a rule of Part 2 or 31 unless she was involved in or saw the incident.”
In simple terms, if you saw it happen, you may protest on behalf of another competitor. This is especially important when the incident involves someone new to the rules! We do NOT want new sailors taken advantage of.
Rule 60.2 also permits the Race Committee to protest, despite the RRS “Basic Principals” which state that competitors are expected to enforce the rules.