(This is an instalment 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.)
Case 82Rule 62.1(a), Redress
When a finishing line is laid so nearly in line with the last leg that it cannot be determined which is the correct way to cross it in order to finish according to the definition, a boat may cross the line in either direction and her finish is to be recorded accordingly.Summary of the Facts
At the finish of a race boat A crossed the finishing line in the direction, she believed, of the course from the last mark, leaving mark F to starboard. She recorded the time she crossed the line. The race officer did not record her as having finished and did not make a sound signal. Hearing no sound signal, A sailed the track shown in the diagram and finally crossed the line leaving mark F to port, at which time the race officer recorded her as having finished and made a sound signal. A requested redress, asking that the time she recorded at her first crossing be used as her finishing time
The protest committee found as a fact that the committee boat was swinging back and forth across a line parallel to the last leg, but believed that the race officer was watching closely to determine the correct direction for each boat to cross the line. Redress under rule 62.1(a) was denied and A appealed.
A’s appeal is upheld. Positioning the finishing line marks so that boats cannot easily determine in which direction they should cross the finishing line is an improper action on the part of the race committee. When a boat cannot reasonably ascertain in which direction she should cross the finishing line so as to conform to the definition Finish, she is entitled to finish in either direction. A is therefore entitled to redress under rule 62.1(a). She is to be given her finishing place calculated from the time she herself recorded when she crossed the line for the first time.
This case always has me wondering if this finish was a ‘normal finish’ or if the committee vessel was there to shorten the race.
Not that it changes the decision, in both instances the position of the RC-vessel could not have been worse, but then the sailors at least would have a reasonable change of determining how to cross the line equally. They would just sail the course and go to whatever side mark F should be rounded.