Thursday, 29 April 2010

Score or Place: Threshold Test for Redress

A guest post by Brass

For those of you that have noticed the Farrah Hall v Nancy Rios dispute in the USA (*), here's a twist.  Even if Farrah Hall had had a request for redress against the grant of redress to Nancy Rios heard, it is likely she would have not been given redress because her score, rather than her placing, was not made worse.

In 2001-2004 rules the stem of rule 62.1 read:

A request for redress or a protest committee’s decision to consider redress shall be based on a claim or possibility that a boat’s finishing place in a race or series has, through no fault of her own, been made significantly worse (emphasis added).

In the 2002-2005 rules this was changed by replacing 'finishing place' with 'score, so that the rule read, as it does in the 2009 rules

A request for redress or a protest committee’s decision to consider redress shall be based on a claim or possibility that a boat’s score in a race or series has, through no fault of her own, been made significantly worse (emphasis added).

The effect of this change is highlighted in the 2008 ISAF Judges Manual Chap s9.30, page 90, which states:

For redress to apply it is a boats score in a race or series that must have been made significantly worse. The worsening of the position of a boat in a race or series is not grounds for redress.

EXAMPLE: A boats position in a series may be made worse if a race is abandoned in accordance with the rules, however, it would not be entitled to redress because its score has not been made worse by the abandonment as its score remains the same as it was before the race was abandoned.

Using the ISAF document search utility, I am unable to locate any submission, minute or other document that explains why this rule change was made, but perhaps it was made to 'head off' the problem described in the Judges Manual example.

I believe, however, that the change in the rule has had a serious and unfair consequence.  There can be cases where a boat's place in a series can be made worse without her score being made worse:

  • Grant of redress to another boat that gives her a higher score
  • Penalisation of a boat so that a third boat gains a higher score in a particular race that enables the third boat to beat the disadvantaged boat on points in the series.

__________________________________________________________________(*) The Farrah Hall and Nancy Rios Olympic windsurfing selection trials case in the United States provides an example of how this could happen.  Farrah Hall initially had the better score.  Nancy Rios was given redress that made her score better.  Although Farrah Hall failed to meet the requirements for a valid request for redress, had she done so, under the above interpretation, she would not have been entitled to  redress, because her score, rather than her placing, was not made worse.


In light of Brass’ post I was wondering if the readers of LTW already have had dealings with this particular issue? If you have, please leave a comment.


  1. Very interesting and not something I had considered.

    I am not sure that Farrah Hall failed to meet the requirements for redress. I believe that despite the protest committee prompting her to do so she did not apply, so the position was not resolved, until now (and unsatisfactorrily in my consideration).

    Mike B

  2. Two thoughts:

    1. Could one argue that whilst the absolute score may remain unchanged by a redress decision the relative score may be affected?
    2. Rule 64.2 states that when considering redress the PC shall make as fair an arrangement as possible. Would deciding an Olympic selection process on a redress decision be considered "as fair an arrangement as possible"?


  3. Mike B,

    You are quite right. Hall did not meet the requirements because, despite the PC chair's frantic telegraphing, she did not submit a request for redress at all. Instead she submitted a 'Request for an extension of time in which to submit a request for redress', which the protest committee declined to uphold.

    Hall eventually requested redress in response to the reopening of the hearing of Rios' request for redress some five months later. This request was heard and redress was not granted. I understand that Hall then took that decision to Commercial Arbitration under the USA Act of Congress, and the decision not to grant redress was upheld. Hall then lodged a complaint about the rules and procedures (as distinct from the results) with the USOC, and the rest is history.

    Hall failed to request redress in time when she had the chance. At the time she was some 25 years of age: she was not an inexperienced junior sailor. She doesn't get my sympathy vote.

  4. Gordon,

    1. I don't think that such an argument would be valid, especially when looked at in the light the amendment from 'place' to 'score', which is evidence of a clear intent, however misguided.

    2. I agree that yours is an example of unfairness, and one can think of many others. The point is the no matter how unfair the situation, unless there is an effect on the requesting boat's score, then the rule says redress may not be granted.

    I think the best course is to pretent you have never seen this discussion or the JM paragraph.

  5. What is the difference between score and position? Last night I got the gun within the time limit and much later heard the the race had been abandoned after we left to put the boat away. Wouldn't this be grounds for redress? Our SI's state A boat failing to finish within the time limit will be scored DNF even if one or more boats of the same class have
    finished within the time limit. This changes Rule 35.

  6. A boat's score in a _race_ will only be the same as its position in the race if the Low Point System is used. If the Bonus Point System or High Point System is used, score will not be the same as position, although, for the rule 62.1 criteria, worsening position will invariably result in worsening score.

    A boat's score in a _series_ with more than one race will always be different from its position in the series: even a boat that wins every race, will have a series score of 2, 3, 4, for a 2, 3, or 4 race series.

    AS for your race being abandoned, rule 32.1 allows the race committee to abandon a race after one boat has sailed the course and finished, for reasons affecting the safety or fairness of the competition as long as the race committee first considers the consequences for all boats in th race or series. So abandoning would only be an improper action giving rise to redress if you could show that the race committee:
    * abandoned the race for a reason other than safety or fairness; or
    * did not conside the consequences for all boats.

    Abandonment of a race will override the effect of any scoring rule written in the SI, but the effecct of an abandonment depriving boats that competed of the pointscore advantage they would have gained over boats that did not compete:
    * would be a consequence of abandonment that should have been considered by the race committee, and
    * may affect whether a decision to abandon by a protest committee was as fair an arrangement as possible for all boats affected as requried by rule 64.2.

  7. Thank you for the clarification of score and position. I will find out tomorrow how the request for redress goes. At what point in time does the R/C stop having the ability to abandom the race?

  8. The race committee is appointed by the Organising Authority (rule 89.2(b)) to conduct races (rule 91.1). Once all the races in the regatta or series are over and the results announced, the race committee's job is done and it may not take any further action.

    But up until the regatta/series results are announced and the prizes presented, the RC can, technically, abandon a race as long as it is for reasons directly affecting the safety or fairness of the competition,and the race committee considers the consequences for all boats in the race or series.

    The longer after the finish of a race, the more cautious the race committee should be about exercising this power.

    There were submissions made the the ISAF Racing Rules Committee in either the 2009, or 2010 rules update rounds to limit this power, but they were not adopted.

    What improper action of the race committee are you basing your request for redress on?

  9. What are the time limits on a RC 'correcting' results?

    See ISAF Q&A 2009-031[7406].pdf


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