This past weekend we tried an alternate protest filing system for team racing at a college regatta in the USA. I interviewed some of the sailors to get their feedback on this simpler procedure. I think your blog might be interested in the discussion.
The first minute gives some background to the event and then it dives into the rules issue. People can skip the first minute if they want to dive directly into the technical aspects.
From a rules point of view, we used a slightly different rule than what’s in Appendix D:
1.2 Rule D2.2(a) is deleted and replaced by the following:
(a) SINGLE-FLAG PROTEST PROCEDURE
When a boat protests under a rule of Part 2 or under rule 31, 42 or 44, she is not entitled to a hearing. Instead, a boat involved in the incident may promptly acknowledge breaking a rule and take the appropriate penalty. If the protested boat takes a penalty, the incident is closed. If not, an umpire shall decide whether any boat has broken a rule and shall signal a decision in compliance with rule D2.2(b).1.3 Rule D2.3(b) shall apply. PR 25(a) shall not apply.
1.4 A competitor protesting under a rule listed in D2.2(a) shall consciously display a raised
open hand at the time of the protest.
1.5 All races shall be umpired unless the race committee indicates otherwise.
This rule preserves many things typical to college sailing in the USA (namely the yellow flag and the the non-use of flags for protesting (FYI: it should be noted that the origins of rule 61.1(a)(2) (the no flag requirements for boats under 6m) came from USA College Racing)). The above sailing instruction also addresses a flaw in the current rule in appendix D (specifically, even if the protested boat takes a penalty, the above rule allows the umpires to penalize the protesting boat if that boat broke a rule).
There is additional video and coverage here:
I asked Bryan a couple of questions and recieved these answers:
Q: What is PR25a?
A: PR 25(a) is a collegiate sailing procedural rule:
Alternative Umpiring – when the sailing instructions state that RRS D2.3(b) (Races with Limited Umpiring) is to be used, RRS D2.2(a) is changed to read as follows:PR 25(a) exists to get rid of the flag requirement in the two flag system. Under the single flag system, we use the SI above
D2.2(a) – When a boat protests under a rule of Part 2 or under Rule 31, 42 or 44, she is not entitled to a hearing. Instead, a boat involved in the incident may promptly acknowledge breaking a rule and take the appropriate penalty. If no boat takes a penalty, the protesting boat may request a decision by conspicuously displaying a raised open hand and hailing the word “Umpire.” An umpire shall decide whether any boat has broken a rule, and shall signal the decision in compliance with Rule D2.2(b).
All the PR's go into effect as sailing instructions (per rule 90.2)
Q: Can you explain the flaw you refer to in your mail:
A: Maybe Richard Thompson can explain the flaw better than me:
"1/ The single flag rule as written in RRS D2.3(a) is badly flawed. Specifically, the words "If no boat takes a penalty" prevent the umpire penalising when both boats have protested, both have broken a rule (eg 11 & 17) but only one has taken a penalty. "
I agree with this completely. In the few Team-race events locally we have already entered into the sailing instructions the provision that boats can wait for an umpire decision - that's a single flag rule although slightly different, in effect also.
The times that I've seen a boat taking a voluntary penalty are countable on one hand. Most times they look for the umpire flag. To loose a protest because of procedural issues while you are sailing in a team race is frustrating and not contributing to a fair 'sailed' outcome, in my opinion.
What do you think?