I would be interested on your (your readers) view on the following question:
"When should a jury protest an incident observed on the water?"
The Jury on the water is not present to enforce Rule 42 but simply observing the races. The Jury boat with two judges and identified with a jury flag was watching the start of the pin end of the line. The boat closed to the mark was not able to pass the mark despite luffing head to wind. The result of the luffing was, that the boat came to a stand still and the genoa got wind from port, which forced the boat to passed head to wind.
As a result, it made contact with the next boat approaching the starting line on Starboard and forcing it to luff in an attempt to avoid contact. The manoeuvre resulted in a "chain reaction" with multiple boats involved and making contact. There was no or only very minor damage. The whole situation was photographed from the jury boat and I have attached one photo from the series to this Email.
There was a lot of "protest" shouting during the incident from different boats, but only one boat (CAN 1034) displayed the protest flag. CAN 1034 however removed the red flag before reaching the windward mark. No boat involved in the incident took a penalty.
The jury agreed that because there was contact, a rule must have been broken.
The jury was, in disagreement if they should protest the incident. The disagreement evolved around the wording in the judges manual:
"Except where empowered by Appendix P or the sailing instructions, the Judges should only initiate a protest when they witness a clear infringement that is not observed by other competitors or when rule 2 (Fair Sailing) is involved."Argument against protesting:
The witnessed infringement was observed by several other competitors and therefore the jury should not protest.
Argument for protesting:
A rule has been broken, as contact has been made. If contact has been made, one or more boat must be penalized by the jury. That no boat took a penalty after making contact nor protested, is not fair sailing (RRS 2) nor acceptance of the rules.
What is your position?
Felix Somm, NJ / Switzerland
Link to the Judges manual: http://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/Judges%20Manual%20Updated%202008-.pdf
Excerpt: "However, our sport continues to be based on the premise that the competitors, not Judges, have the lead responsibility for enforcing the rules on themselves and their fellow competitors. Consequently, the information that Judges who are afloat gather concerning interaction between boats does not generally lead to direct action. Except where empowered by Appendix P or the sailing instructions, the Judges should only initiate a protest when they witness a clear infringement that is not observed by other competitors or when rule 2 (Fair Sailing) is involved."
Sailing should stay "self-policing" as much as possible.