Thursday, 1 October 2009

Continues in the Race - or - Racing?

In my last FTBD-post I asked a question about taking a penalty while a crew member had fallen overboard. (Flog the Blog Day 22)

In the comments different answers were given, but I've since come to the conclusion that it might be even more complicated. Let us recap:

This was the original case:

In a race - bigger boats - a crew member falls overboard while the boat is sailing clear to take a penalty. The boat does one turn including a gybe and a tack, picks up the crew member and does it's second turn (with a gybe and a tack) straight after. There is hardly any time lost with picking up the crew member out of the water... The turns are done almost immediately after each other. The boat continues and subsequently wins the race. There's a valid protest on rule 47.2 by another boat. What is your decision?

In the comments different decisions were given:

  • One decided on DSQ for breaking rule 47.2
  • Three thought the penalty was incorrect ;
  • One was undecided, the penalty might be correct;
  • One wanted to dismiss the protest because the boat does not "make progress in the race";
  • And even one who himself fell overboard, while expecting the boat to do it's turns. It is the boat being protested, so why not!

For certain, no consensus by a long way.

Precisely because of protests like this, an International Jury is made up from five different persons, who all can discuss the issue and convince each other. And finally vote to reach a decision.

In light of this, I want to set up a POLL again - the last one was already a long time ago - and let all LTW-readers form the "jury panel"

Before I give you the options, there's one other issue I want to raise. If the penalty was incorrect - because you think all crew-members have to be on board to make it valid - the boat has not exonerated itself. That in itself breaks no rule! You cannot be disqualified for not doing two turns - or for doing them incorrectly. You can only be disqualified for the original rule infringement the boat took the penalty for.

If a protest is handed in - like in this case, for breaking rule 47.2 - you need to go back to the original incident to find facts to determine if a boat indeed broke a rule. And since that is NOT what the protest was about, my own opinion is that you cannot do that. It is not part of the incident on the protest form.

But you might think differently, so I will include that option in the poll.

Everybody still with me?

You can vote for the following choices:

Option 1:

Penalty was correct, but the boat broke rule 47.2 by continuing in the race without all crew members on board. DSQ.

If while taking a two turn penalty you don't keep clear of another boat (on its proper course), you still have exonerated yourself for the original rule infringement. But you have broken rule 21.2, something you can be protested for anew. If you want to exonerate yourself for that, you need to do another two turns penalty. Unfortunately in our case, you cannot take a two turns penalty for breaking rule 47.2 - it's not in Part 2.

Option 2:

Penalty was correct, no progress in the race, so the boat did not break 47.2. Protest dismissed.

Option 3:

Penalty was incorrect, the boat did not exonerate itself. But protest is dismissed because original incident was not mentioned, and no DSQ

Option 4:

Penalty was incorrect, the boat did not exonerate itself. Panel will investigate and find facts about original infringement. Depending on the outcome the boat will be DSQ'd or the protest dismissed.

Even if the incident is not mentioned or described on the protest form, you are of the opinion that incorrectly taking a penalty in itself is grounds for going back to the original rule infringement. It is part of the same "incident".

Option 5: I'm deciding something else and tell about my arguments and decision in a comment on this blogpost.

I'll let the poll run for a fortnight, say until middle of this month, October 18th. You can convince others by giving your arguments in the comments.

Ooh, you are allowed to change your vote!

Added 16/12/2009:

Results of the Poll

Option 1: DSQ for Breaking RRS 47.2
Option 2: Penalty correct; P. dismissed
Option 3: Penalty incorrect; P. dismissed
Option 4: Penalty incorrect; Find Facts and decide
Option 5: Other, see comments
total votes: 28 100,00%


  1. Can we assume that a boat that makes two turns has accepted that he has broken a rule of Part 2?
    I see that the wording of 44.1 is 'may have broken a rule of Part 2'.
    {Option 1 has my vote]

  2. The penalty we have to assume is being taken as the facts say so.
    There is a case to say that you can take a penalty by accident (as at a mark)as here so the penalty can be taken in this way.
    Taking a penalty is part of moving yourself through a race so if a boat purports to take a penalty with a man overboard she breaks 47. Hence a vote for 1.
    The boat should have picked up the man overboard, not taking a penalty, as she was not "continuing in the race" and then done two fresh turns to exonerate.

    Mike B

  3. We have a valid protest mentioning 47.2. By continuing to complete a cirle, she has in fact broken 47.2 and like any other rule in part 4, if you break it you are DSQ.

    If she had done two circles after the pickup, it would have been ok.

    Vote for 1

  4. The definition says: "A boat is racing (...) until she finishes ..." In my view it does not matter what you do while racing: sailing a leg, rounding a mark, taking a penalty or whatever. So, the boat broke rule 47.2 by comtiniuing in the race without all crew members on board. DSQ.
    Or can you pick up a swimming crew member the next time you sail the leg in which he left the boat?

  5. I vote for Option 3.

    The boat did one turn to retrieve the swimmer. During the time it was getting the person aboard it is neither continuing to race, nor is it doing it's turns under rule 44.1.

    The boat then did only one additional turn as part of its penalty under rule 44.1, attempting to exonerate itself from the Part 2 violation which is not described here or in the protest. By failing to complete two turns under rule 44.1 the boat has failed to exonerate itself.

    The Protest Committee, having a valid protest in hand should find that there was NOT a violation of Rule 47.2, it should then examine the original incident to see if the Part 2 violation was correct and penalize the boat in whatever way appropriate, as she did not take a penalty under rule 44.1

    The Race Committee has the right to examine the original incident under rule 64.1(a) "A penalty shall be imposed weather or not the applicable rule was mentioned in the protest."


  6. Jos,

    I mis-typed my earlier comment. I intended to make Option 4 my selection for the reasons stated.


  7. Beau,

    According to the information the boat did not do one turn to retriev the swimmer, the boat did one turn and picked up the crew member. It is a matter of intention. And the intention was to do a penalty. When you forget the intention and just look at the manoeuvre of the boat, you are right. No rule broken but no exonaration.

  8. "continues in the race" implies "she is suspended from the race" at the time the crew left the boat. Rule 47.2

    (there's a MOB. Any other alterior objective (taking a penalty turn) then "rescueing" the MOB conflicts with basic principles)

    - She can't break a racingrule while not racing.
    - She could be penalised for gross missconduct for breaking RFPCAS or government rules (RRS 2)
    - She must sail the course.. (string drawn tought etc.)
    ( i presume the crew not moving so the string will be intact)
    - She also could not have exonerated herself for breaking a rule while racing.

    DSQ on RRS 2, safety, etc. if there is reasonable doubt the boat suspended racing and went into MOB mode.

    If it is found beyond reasonable doubt that the boat did suspend racing and rescued it's crew, then she did not exonerated herself from breaking a rule. If she did break a rule she must be penalised accordingly.

  9. A boat is not required by RRS to make ANY turns to pick up crew overboard.
    A boat can and may make progress in the race while taking 2 turns penalty.
    A boat recovering crew overboard CANNOT make progress.
    CONTINUES IN THE RACE is not in the RRS Definitions, so Webster's Dictionary governs.
    If, in picking up crew, she makes at least 2 turns in the same direction, she is good.
    Otherwise, by Adriaan's standard, no boat could recover a crew overboard at any time without DSQ.

  10. Adriaan,

    I have always had great difficulty figuring out the "intent" of a boat. As a result, I have always limited myself to what the boat actually did, rather than what people later say they intended to do. Also, I don't think there is anyplace in the rules where the intent of the crew/boat is discussed, other than perhaps some interpretations of Rule 69.

    So, I would respectfully disagree. I think that the boat's intention isn't relevant. They were not doing a penalty turn when they were fetching their crew, they were fetching their crew. Then, after that, they didn't do two turns they only did one.

    I suppose this all hinges on the state the boat is in while fetching a MOB, I am assuming that they are not executing a penalty.



  11. Beau,

    I can join you, but the information "... a protest on rule 47.2" and the other information (from the tetimony of the protestee?) leads in another directon. "While the boat is sailing to take a penalty", indicates his intention, and "The boat does one turn including a gybe and a tack", gives me the conviction that he was carrying out his intention. He completed one penalty turn. To pick up an overboard crewmember one tack or one gybe can be sufficient, dependent of wind and water conditions. Moreover, his turn afterwards convince me again he was taking a penalty. If not, what was the reason for the second turn?
    As I said in earlyer comments, in my view there are two possibilites a penalty turn or a man overboard manoeuvre, it depends on what the protestee said he was doing. Still I should ask for an explantion for the second turn.
    Question Beau: when the protestee declares I was taking a penalty (it is evidence), would you say, oh no, you were just picking up the swimmer?

    Besides all this, reading the arguments and starting new thinking, I choose for option 5. Jos tried to steer the discussion in the wrong directon with his suggestions. Protest dismissed, nu rule broken. The protestor took the wrong approach. Not rule 47.2 but the original incident should have been the item for his protest.

  12. I vote Option 1.
    Because the protestee took Two-Turns Penalty under rule 44.2 and did not break rule 47.2.
    sen yamaoka

  13. Sorry!
    I made a mistake in my opinion dated Oct 18.
    Option 1 ---> Option 2
    sen yamaoka

  14. The way I was taught to pick up a man overboard was to gibe below the man, sail to below him and then go into irons as you come up on him to pick him up, much like picking up a bouy. To opt to fall off on to an appropriate tack to complete one part of a two turn circle would be just good seamanship. If this man-overboard leg is a period of "not racing" forcing the boat to make two more loops to satisfy the penalty as well as rule 47.2, then the following case would be a rule violation:
    A bowman falls over. A man in the stern throws a line/ring and reels the bowman in. To not violate 47.2 is is being considered in the question, the boat in this hypothetical case would have to circle back to some estimated position where the bowman touched the water. I don't think that is the intent of the rule.

    My vote option 2.
    (Could figure out how to get my name on this:
    John Hobbie)

  15. Say you have a crew go overboard a couple lengths from the windward mark. Can you go ahead and round and then scoop the crew out after a gybe/set?

    It is the same situation with regard to the validity of the 720.


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