(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 30.3, Starting Penalties: Black Flag Rule
When after a general recall a boat learns from seeing her sail number displayed that she has been disqualified by the race committee under the second sentence of rule 30.3 and believes the race committee has made a mistake, her only option is not to start, and then to seek redress. However, if the race committee does not display her sail number and she sails in the restarted race, she should be scored BFD, and not DNE.
The race committee displayed the black flag as the preparatory signal for the start of a class. Boat A was identified in the triangle formed by the ends of the starting line and the first mark during the last minute before her starting signal. After the starting signal, the race committee signalled a general recall. The race committee disqualified Boat A without a hearing for breaking rule 30.3.
If Boat A believes that the race committee made a mistake when it identified her in the triangle during the last minute, do the rules permit her to sail in the race when it is restarted and then request redress?
Rule 30.3 clearly requires boat A not to sail in the restarted race and states that her disqualification will become non-excludable if she does. Her only remedy is to request redress, which, if given in a series, would normally be based on her results in other races.
Additional Assumed Facts
The race committee failed to display A’s sail number before the next warning signal for the race, and A sailed in the race when it was restarted.
Is A entitled to a finishing place?
No. Boat A should be disqualified as required by the second sentence of rule 30.3. However, because the race committee erred by not displaying her sail number between the general recall and the next warning signal for the race, she should be scored BFD (Disqualification under rule 30.3), and not DNE (Disqualification not excludable under rule 90.3(b)). If she requests redress claiming that she is entitled to a finishing place because the race committee erred by not displaying her sail number, her request should be denied.
While not displaying her sail number is an improper omission by the race committee, it is not the omission that deprived her of her finishing place, but the fact that she had been on the course side of the starting line in the minute before her starting signal. However, if she was scored DNE, redress should be granted to the extent of changing her score to BFD.
By not sailing the race after the general recall boat A does not acknowledge she agrees with the BFD. But the rules do not permit her to participate in the next race – if she does, she not only breaks the first part in rule 30.3 but also the second part.
Now, if she successfully can convince the PC that she was not over the line and that the RC made a mistake by identifying her as such, she can get redress.
Because of the rules dictating redress and the second part in rule 30.3 – (she shall not sail in the race) – you can, theoretically, find a ‘dilemma’ :
- In order to get redress the rules state that the score should NOT be made significantly worse through ‘no fault of her own’.
- By not sailing in the race – while she was convinced she was not BFD – it was, at least partly, because of her own decision, that she got no score.
- Rule 30.3 specifically states that she must be identified – she was not.
- Therefore the second part of rule 30.3 is not in effect. She should have raced
- No redress……
The wording in rule 30.3 is to clear enough to decide either way. Therefore I would always give the benefit of the doubt to the sailor in this case and grant redress.