Monday, 18 October 2010

(pillow)Case of the Week (42) – 71; Redress

(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 71

Sportsmanship and the Rules
Rule 29.1, Recalls: Individual Recall
Rule 62.1(a), Redress
Rule 64.2, Decisions: Decisions on Redress

A hail is not the ‘sound signal’ required when flag X is displayed. Answers to questions arising from requests for redress after a procedural error by the race committee.
Summary of the Facts

Boats A and B were near the port end of the starting line and very close to the line at the starting signal. The race committee, believing that both had been on the course side of the line at their starting signal, displayed flag X and hailed both sail numbers.

Neither A nor B heard the hails or saw flag X but continued racing and their finishing places were recorded. Preliminary results were posted showing A and B scored as OCS.
A promptly requested redress, citing as grounds that the race committee failed to make the required sound signal and that she did not see a flag or have any other reason to believe that she did not start correctly. The protest committee heard A’s request. The committee did not find as fact whether or not A or B was on the course side of the starting line at the starting signal. However, when the committee learned that B was next to A, it gave redress to both boats, stating that they were to be scored in their finishing places and, where appropriate, other boats’ scores were to be adjusted downwards. This done, C, which had finished behind A and B, requested redress in her turn, claiming that the race committee’s omission of the required sound signal had made her score significantly worse by causing two boats which failed to start properly to be scored ahead of her. C’s request was denied and she appealed.
In commenting on the appeal the race committee asked several questions.

Question 1
Did the hail of sail numbers constitute a sound signal?

Answer 1
No. The hail of one or more sail numbers is not the sound signal required when flag X is displayed.

Question 2
Did the protest committee act properly in giving redress to A?

Answer 2
Yes. When a boat reasonably believes that she has started properly and has not been notified to the contrary in the manner required by rule 29.1 and when she is then scored OCS, she is entitled to redress under rule 62.1(a). The claim that A was over the line early was not established as fact. Therefore, scoring A in her finishing place was an appropriate form of redress in this circumstance.

However, if it were determined in a hearing that a boat knew that she had been over the line, she would have been obliged to comply with rule 28.1 and, if it applied, rule 30.1, and she would not be entitled to redress. Had she broken those rules, she would also have broken rule 2 and failed to comply with the Basic Principle, Sportsmanship and the Rules.

Question 3
Did the protest committee act properly in giving redress to B, which had not requested it?

Answer 3
Yes. The protest committee found that B was in the same circumstances as A, and it then acted as required by rule 64.2’s first sentence.

Question 4
Was C entitled to redress?

Answer 4
No. The claim that A and B were over the line early was not established as fact. Therefore, despite the race committee’s failure to make the required sound signal, C’s claim that her score was made significantly worse by that error is not supported by the facts. C is not entitled to redress, and her appeal is denied.

USSA 1988/276


What if it was established as a fact?
What if the two boats were over the line and that was noted in the original protest. They were not aware of it and because of the lack of sound signal entitled to redress – so no change there.

But what of boat C?
Would you her grant redress in that case?


  1. If it was established as a fact that A and B were over early, then, as long as they did not know or realise they were over early, thus earning a rule 2 DNE, instead of having their finish places reinstated, they should be given a score, place or time adjustment.

    See Case 31 Decision:

    "(If the redress given is to adjust the boat’s race score, it should reflect the fact that, generally, when a recalled boat returns to the pre-course side of the line after her starting signal, she usually starts some time after boats that were not recalled. An allowance for that time should be made.)"

    In that case, C still gets no redress, because once an adjustment is applied to put A and B in the places they should have been in, C has not had her score made significantly worse.

  2. A supplementary question - the SIs state that the sail numbers of OCS boats will be given over VHF. The Race Committee misreads a boat's sail number and calls the wrong number. The boat sails on, the RC scores her OCS. Boat requests redress. Is she entitled to redress?


  3. Clever of the Protest Committee not to find wheter or not A and B were over. The Race Committee usually has a good view and they are likely to have been right.

    As for the question, I should consider redress for C and look at the circumstances of the race. There was an error by the race committee, it was through no fault of C, has her score been made significantly worse by it?

    If A and B had gone back would she still have won? If its likely she would, give her first place and make A and B second and third. If its likely she would not, no redress. If somewhere in between, leave A and B first and second and give C a score for first also.


  4. Short answer:
    If P/C finds for redress it must consider what is fair to all competitors. Given either the original or your hypothetical, treating C and all others fairly includes treating A and B just as all the others would want to be treated.
    If indeed A and B are 1 and 2 (see below), then C bumps to 3.

    Longer answer:
    RRS 26 (starting sequence) includes the caveat "the absence of a sound signal shall be disregarded." The reason is the likelihood of malfunction or error, or that sound signals may not carry across the starting line in a blow.
    R/C's and competitors' focus must be on the visual signals, since they are instantaneous and visible to the horizon.
    The same focus (and text) should apply to any other R/C signals, including the recall flags.
    There should not have been redress in the original, nor in the hypothetical. Take your lumps, boats A and B. Cry-babies!
    Nevertheless, if P/C finds for redress it must consider what is fair to all competitors. Given either the original or your hypothetical, treating C and all others fairly includes treating A and B just as all the others would want to be treated.
    If indeed A and B are 1 and 2, then C takes 3.

  5. Gordon has cleverly put his finger in the hole of RRS Appendix L (Sailing Instructions Guide) item 11.5 which states:

    "11.5 If any part of a boat’s hull, crew or equipment is on the course side of the starting line during the two minutes before her starting signal and she is identified, the race committee will attempt to broadcast her sail number on VHF channel _____. Failure to make a broadcast or to time it accurately will not be grounds for a request for redress. This changes rule 62.1(a)."

    This SI addresses when a broadcast is made late or not at all, but NOT when it contains wrong information.

    I think this is deliberate, and quite reasonable.

    * If a boat deduces from the lack of a timely broadcast that she was NOT OCS and fails to, or delays her return, then she gets no redress, because, among other reasons, being OCS in the first place was 'fault of her own'.

    * If, however, a boat that was NOT OCS, has her number called and returns, then she should have redress, because she was not at fault in any way and the RC has made a positive action which misled her.

    The more difficult case is that of a boat that was OCS, and hears a similar but different sail number broadcast (in mistake for her own), and deduces that the RC has broadcast all the numbers of boats OCS, not including her own, and races on, subsequently to be scored OCS.

    If the SI had said 'Failure of the RC to broadcast the sail number of a boat that was OCS will not be grounds for a request for redress." she would have no redress, but that is NOT what the Appendix L provision says, it only refers to a broadcast made not at all or late.

    My view is that if the RC undertakes to broadcast sail numbers, in addition to its obligations to signal recall under the rules, for the benefit of the racers then:

    * a boat that is not OCS, but has her number incorrectly called (and returns) should get redress; but

    * an OCS boat whose number is not called and is scored OCS should not get redress.

    In this case, I think we should give the RC more toleration for their error than we would for an error in making the signals that are expressly required by rule 29.1 because they are doing something extra for the benefit of all racers and we should not discourage the RC from doing that.

  6. Philip,

    You quoted "the absence of a sound signal shall be disregarded" from rule 26, then said "the same focus (and text) should apply to any other R/C signals, including the recall flags"

    This is not correct. Cases 31 and 71 tell us that failure by the RC to give the proper sound signal for an individual recall is an improper action or omission giving grounds for redress.

  7. Someone asked me about this case recently and that made me go back to this post.
    If the PC found as Fact that Boats A an B were over and the RC did not recall them properly they are entitled to redress. Their score should reflect what they had sailed.
    It is an omission/mistake by the RC to not recall OCS boats according to the rules. And also something boat C could do nothing about.
    So the question if she's entitled to redress comes down to the question: Did it significantly effect her score in the regatta or series.


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