In rule 61.1 there's a critical timing in displaying the red flag and hailing protest with the words: "first reasonable opportunity for both".
PC's are asked to give a decision on that timing when the validity of an protest is being investigated. In my opinion there are a couple of criteria that should be considered before deciding this:
- Where there any safety issues that delayed the hailing or displaying the flag?
- What was said first?
- Was the flag available to be displayed immediately?
- What where the circumstances? I.e. waves, wind strength, type of boats, place of the incident, etc, etc.
After rule 61.1 there is another directly linked timing issue in rule 44.1: How much time does a boat get to decide to take a penalty after a protest has been hailed and a flag has been shown?
The wording in rule 44.1 is a lot less specific: "may take a penalty at the time of the incident" The penalty itself in rule 44.2 may have a specific short time: "... as soon after the incident as possible", but that time only starts after you have decided you may have broken a rule. Something that now has been emphasized by the other boat showing a red flag....
"... at the time of the incident" ?
Can we find a couple of criteria that should be considered when faced with this question? For instance: Is the other boat close enough to recognize that the hailing and red flag are about a specific incident? Is there a good reason for delaying in taking a penalty? Could a boat see and react?
A balance between common sense and the rules.
With a group of three judges the probability they will get that right, is about 85%. That increases to 92% with 5 judges (an International Jury) and even to 98% with 10 people (some appeals committees), but decreases to maybe 80% if there's only one (arbitration). And that is only if the members in all these panels are fairly competent....
Please think about this and give me your opinion:
What would you accept as " at the time of the incident "?