Friday, 14 May 2010

Umpire case from European Championship 2010

Currently I’m umpiring at the Eurosaf Open&Woman European Match Racing Championships in Hard, Austria. A very small part of the Bodensee has a border with Austria and there the Hard Yacht Club is organising this event.
With a course on the ‘Innenbecken’ and one outside at the lower part of the Bodensee.
We’ve been at it for three day’s in less then ideal circumstances – lots of rain and cold – but luckily almost on schedule. Tomorrow the final day we’ll do the last part ending of course with Finals and Petit Finals.
From today I have a case for you consideration. In the picture below you see two prestart boats about 20 seconds before the start. Blue (clear ahead) gybes and then luffs very hard.
HARD 01b 100514
For the first infringement (not keeping clear while gybing (RRS 13.2)) she gets a red flag penalty. She was not in control, the trailing boat was, but by gybing she gains control. Breaking a rule to do that, earns you a red flag penalty.
After that she luffs so hard that there’s contact. Yellow was not able to keep clear due to Blue’s lack of room to do so. Infringing rule 16 she get’s another penalty.
After the start she takes a penalty, by slowing down a little and then bearing away behind Yellow. My question to you is: Should she take two penalties or only one?
Please give me your reasoning with the answer.


  1. I think she only needs to take one penalty.
    There is nothing special in the rule book about a second penalty. The special requirements in C7.3 are when you have two outstanding penalties. As soon as she has done one she no longer has two outstanding penalties. The requirement for the red flag penalty was to do "it as soon as reasonably possible, but not before starting." Her first penalty turn applies is as soon as reasonably possible and fulfils the requirement of C7.3(d). At that moment she now has only one outstanding penalty and according to C7.3(c) may delay it.

    I do undertand the argument the other way but it is not how I would rule.

  2. There will clearly have to be two penalties one now and one deferred.
    Red requires the first to be taken "as soon as possible" and when we have done this we only have one penalty outstanding.
    In this case it can be deferred as the wording "when two penalties are outstanding no longer applies".
    Mike B

  3. I believe there are two separate incidents and she is required to take two penalties, described in Part C because her breach of rule 16 was not an enivitable result of her breach of 13.2. See US Sailing Appeal 65.


  4. I agree with Andrew and Mike B.

    Putting rule C6.5(b) and C8.3(a) together:

    C8.3(a) allows(requires) umpires to give an additional penalty when a boat has an advantage gained by breaking a rule, after allowing for a penalty. Rule C6.5(b) requires umpirs to use a red flag penalty when a boat has gained a controlling position (an advantage) as a result of breaking a rule, but the umpires are not certain that the [advantage will remain after allowing for a penalty].

    Thus, the red flag penalty allows umpires to 'test out' whether any advantage remains, by requiring the boat to take a penalty immediately, so that the umpires can see whether an advantage remains or not. If the boat remains in control or otherwise has an advantage after taking the red flag penalty, then the umpires can and should impose an additional penalty under rule 8.3(a).


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