(This is an installment in a series of blogposts about the ISAF Call book 2009-2012 with amendments for 2010. All calls are official interpretations by the ISAF committees on how the Racing Rules of Sailing should be used or interpreted. The calls are copied from the Call book, only the comments are written by me.)
Rule 41, Outside Help
When a boat asks for and receives tactical racing advice she receives outside help, even if she asks for and receives it on a public radio channel.
Summary of the Facts
Three large boats were to round a mark near coastal rocks and then sail into a 6-knot current. The wind was light. Boat A radioed to boat B, whose skipper was more familiar with the area, asking whether it was safe to anchor in the vicinity of the mark. Boat B replied that it was not safe to anchor. Boat C protested both boats under rule 41, for discussing what tactics were to be used for rounding the mark and sailing the next leg. The protest committee dismissed the protest against B and disqualified A for receiving outside help. It noted that she could have sailed or motored away from the mark in perfect safety at any time, and that the only reasons for anchoring at the mark were to overcome the adverse current and to win the race.
Boat A appealed, on the grounds that she did not believe she had received help, that she believed that advice given on a public radio channel was not outside help, and that a national authority should not condone disqualification for receiving safety information.
A’s appeal is dismissed. Boat A asked for help for tactical racing reasons and received it. It is irrelevant that A’s question and the information she received in response were broadcast on a public radio channel. The help A received did not come within the scope of the exceptions to rule 41, especially not rule 41(d) since she solicited the information. Therefore A broke rule 41. Even if she had needed help because she was in danger, the receipt of such help would have been a breach of rule 41.