In the NYYC Judges Round Table there was a discussion about the definition of "serious damage" in the Racing Rules of Sailing.
From the report:
" In the open session, Rule 44.1 brought the most conversation. Many were interested in discussion on "serious damage". We never reached a consensus but agreed that the term might apply differently to events of different types, where one might consider intrinsic value, and a different event might rely on the ability to continue sailing, or safety issues. Something that needs to be discussed with the OA for guidance prior to an event perhaps."
This is what the IJ Manual says about damage:
11. Damage and Injury
These important words are used in conjunction with four rules and despite their importance; there is very little case law to guide a jury as to their
Rule 14(b), penalize a boat for contact that causes damage
• Serious damage
Rule 44.1, taking a penalty for a part 2 infringement
• Physical damage
Rule 62.1(b), granting redress
• Serious damage or serious injury
Rule 60.3, protest brought by a protest committee
There is no definition of exactly what constitutes damage; however ISAF Case 19 makes some suggestions:
• was the market value diminished?
• was an item or equipment made less functional?
• was a crew member injured?
11.2 Serious Damage
This is not possible to define but a protest committee should ask:
• was the performance of the boat or crew seriously impaired?
• was the market value of the boat significantly diminished?
• was a crew member seriously injured?
11.3 Physical Damage
An example of physical damage is:
• real damage to either boat or crew
Examples of what is not physical damage are:
• capsize with no damage, causing a loss of places
• rigs or lifelines entangled
11.4 Serious Injury
An example of serious injury might be an injury that required medical attention beyond minor aid but not necessarily hospitalization.
Remember that a PC is free to ask as many questions as they think are needed, but that a conclusion on "damage" always will be subjective. And that's fine, three or five reasonably headed people should be able to come up with a fair assessment.
How about this one?
"Damage to a boat is something a prudent boat owner would address immediately after a race, either by repairing or preventing further deterioration".
Do you have a (serious) damage criteria?