Thursday, 26 March 2009

LTW Readers Q&A | 22

Joost Smit send me an Email and wrote: Please find attached animated GIF of a recent protest. I would like to see your opinion on the following case & questions:


  • Observations on K are all made by Tactician (located at transom)
  • M did not hail for Mark-room, did hail "Port-tack" though while still far out of reach of both K and the zone.
  • K hailed ‘No overlap to M, Overlap to V
  • K had to bear away to stay clear of M
  • K stayed clear of M
  • V did not keep clear of K and had a slight touch without significant damage
  • K immediately showed red flag (tactician) and hailed protest to M, M didn't take penalty turns
  • K hailed protest to V, V took 2 penalty turns
  • M did not show up at protest hearing, and got DSQ by protest committee
  • M asked for reopening of case a week later
  • Protest committee confirmed reopening the case

At second hearing:

  • M questioned validity of protest, not having heard hail and not having seen red flag
  • M questioned "no overlap"
  • Committee did not reach a verdict in second hearing, got postponed to later time.


Q1: Is any evidence significant enough for reopening a case, even after no-show at first hearing?

Q2: Can validity of a protest be questioned at second hearing, even after now show at first hearing? In this case, would it make any difference whether V confirms having seen/heard the protest against M?

Q3: Even though the protest committee didn't give a new verdict in second hearing, how would you judge (facts found, rules applicable, judgment) the abovementioned situation in general, and in case:

  • V declared having seen no overlap between K and M at moment of entering the zone
  • V declared not being able to judge whether or not an overlap had been established.

Q4: Who are allowed "tactical" rounding's and who "seamanlike" rounding's in this case?

Looking forward to your reaction.

Kind regards, Joost Smit


Well Joost, I will try to answer your queries:

A1: Yes, there might be evidence significant enough to reopen. But first I would want to know why the party didn’t attend. If there’s no valid reason for his absence, his ‘new’ evidence would have to be something that was not available at the first meeting, if he had attended.

A2: For example, your second question about validity. I would not go into that, if there was no compelling reason why the party did not attend. He could have raised that issue at the original hearing. The rulebook states that once the protest is found valid the PC shouldn’t go back to that issue, unless there’s truly new evidence in that regard. Regardless if V had or had not heard the hail and seen the flag. Once the decision has been reached, don’t go back there.

If the party has significant new evidence I would also question him about his delay. Why after a week? A request for reopening should be within 24 hours after the decision has been published…..

All in all, the party needs to bring a couple of very compelling, heavy arguments before I would decide to reopen.

A3: From the picture is perhaps possible to precisely determine if there was an overlap at the zone between M and K. On the water it is not. As a PC I would have wanted to know the positions of the boats before they reached position 1.

There is sufficient doubt on whether or not overlap was established to use 18.2(d). If the overlap was long established and just before position 1 has been broken, rule 18.2(d) says that the PC (and the sailors) must assume that it was not broken. In that case M had an inside overlap and right of way. K failed to keep clear and give mark-room.

If there was no overlap the whole time before position 1, then rule 18.2(d) states that there isn’t an overlap at position 1. Then M is not entitled to Mark-room and shall be DSQ-ed. K is exonerated for breaking rule 10 while sailing her proper course at the mark.

A4: M is allowed a “tactical” rounding if she is entitled to mark-room, because she is also right of way boat.
(NB: You write she hailed “Port-tack” but she’s actually on Starboard tack. Remember? The rest of the world uses the windward side of the boat to name the ‘tack’.. i.e. ‘Bakboord = Starboard-tack & Stuurboord = Port-tack, and don’t blame me, they don’t know any better)

K is only allowed a ‘seamanlike’ rounding because she needs to keep clear of V. The corridor she has within mark-room is only a boat length or so wide.

Cheers, Jos.


  1. "The rest of the world uses the windward side of the boat to name the tack"

    We have to write the words on the boom to remember which is which :)

  2. Good answer here on the application of the rules.

    I would be much harder on the reopening here.

    To have made a decision on the first case there had to be a decision on validity 63.5.

    As you say evidence that could have been given before, no flag, did not hear, should not be considered.

    On the other matter then we have an interesting little problem. In RRS 66 the 24 hrs seems absolute "after being informed of the decision".

    When was the party informed?

    Is posting on the board notice? or is it physical notification ? I am not aware of a case on this.

    This means you have longer possibly by not being present than you would otherwise.

    The matter of the overlap was a matter you would have heard evidence on at the initial hearing, so I would not consider it new except in exceptional circumstances.

    To me no reopening.

  3. It is your "duty" as a sailor, attending a regatta, to stay informed. If a notice has been posted in time, there's no excuse if you left the venue earlier. You had a chance to be informed. PC and RC have met their obligations.
    That's why you always time-stamp your notices and sign them.

  4. Jos,
    As an aside:
    Do you know when and/or why the Dutch racing world decided to name the tack after the side the sail is on rather than the windward side?

    I tend to shout 'starboard' automatically, even after a year of racing in Holland, in Dutch. It seems to work but could someone object to this and say that I didn't hail correctly as we race under the Dutch RRS?

  5. perhaps it is good that the RRS limit hails to three.

  6. Star light, star bright, starboard is to the right.


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