Tuesday, 7 July 2009

LTW Readers Q&A | 027 OUTSIDE HELP?

One of the more subtle changes in this latest version of the RRS has been the removal of what was rule 41(a)
"A boat shall not receive help from any outside source, except:
(a) help provided for in rule 1;"

As I understand it this had been interpreted as meaning that a crew falling overboard could be rescued by a RIB or another boat and put back on board without penalty, as long as the boat stood by rather than sailing on. The old 41(a) has now disappeared from the rules. Does anyone know why?

Last weekend I was judging on the water at a windy sportsboat event. Several crew went overboard, usually following a broach on the run. A boat losing a crew would have recover to from the broach (which seemed to take an inordinately long time), take the spinnaker down then sail back to recover the crew.
A crew in the water, especially near the wing mark as spinnakers are hoisted, and even more so at the leeward mark, is very definitely in danger, not from drowning but from being run over by an only just in control competing boat. As a judge I felt it my duty to recover crew.

This happened twice:
  • one crew did not want to be rescued as they did not want to penalise their boat and fellow crew members (until I pointed out that there was little difference between scoring last place or DNF);
  • the other crew were reminded that, under the new rules, they should retire. They did not do so, arguing that they had not been asked if they required assistance.
In discussion with other judges, we envisaged protesting, which would have almost certainly resulted in a penalty for deliberately breaching a rule (rule 2), but decided that it was better to work towards a long term solution.

I feel that rule 41 as it is at present puts judges, marklayers and patrol boat crew in an invidious position. A temporary fix would be to add a specific sailing instruction. A more permanent solution would be to change the rules.

I would be grateful to hear your thoughts on this matter.

There are a couple of options as far as I can see.
The first one is strictly go by the rules and consider picking up a crew member always as a breach of rule 41. The boat has no other choice then to retire. It could sail on and hope that nobody will protest, but like you state, it then also breaks rule 2 by deliberately breaking a rule and not take a penalty. A protest committee should then consider a DNE...

There's a small "loophole":
What if you consider Rule 47.2:
"......A person leaving the boat by accident or to swim shal be back on board before the boat continus to race"

Anybody can fall off by accident. If that person is picked up by it's own boat and that boat then continues to race, no rules have been broken... So only the fact that that same person is picked up by a safety-boat or jury-boat for that matter, would make it illegal?

Also rule 1 states that a boat or competitor SHALL give all possible help to any person or vessel in danger.

So now we have the curious situation that in order to comply with the rules, a competing boat has to pick up another's crew and thereby forcing that boat to break rule 41.

In my opinion there can be an argument made, that - as long as no progress in the race is made - any person in danger should be picked up by any boat available and then can be retrieved by the racing boat. No rules broken, no penalty.
Unless I see a case or Q&A or appeal stating the contrary, that will be my policy in such cases...

Please don't hesitate to comment if you are of the same or different opinion.

On a different note: I must apologies to Brass for not posting his Fact Finding Friday protest last Friday. I must confess to have forgotten all about it in the hassle with the iShares Cup. I promise to post this Friday!


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...