(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.)
Rule 19.2(b), Room to Pass an Obstruction: Giving Room at an Obstruction
Rule 63.3, Hearings: Right to be Present
Rule 64.1(c), Decisions: Penalties and Exoneration
When two protests arise from the same incident, or from very closely connected incidents, they should be heard together in the presence of representatives of all the boats involved.
Summary of the Facts
In a moderate to rough sea and a fresh breeze, S, close-hauled on starboard tack on her proper course, converged with PW and PL, overlapped and broad reaching on port tack on a different leg of the course. The rigging of PW and S touched, in spite of S luffing sharply in an attempt to avoid a collision, but there was no damage or injury.
Two protests arose from this one incident and were heard separately. In the first protest, S v PW, the latter was disqualified under rule 10. The facts found in that hearing did not mention PL. During the hearing of the second protest, PW v PL, PL stated that she knew that S was converging with PW and PL, that PW would be likely to need room from PL to avoid a possibly serious collision, and that the situation was developing rapidly. PL was disqualified under rule 19.2(b) for not giving PW room between her and S, an obstruction. PW appealed the decision of the protest committee disqualifying her for breaking rule 10.
In cases of this kind, the two protests should be heard together in the presence of representatives of all the boats involved. This ensures that all of them hear all of the testimony given to the protest committee about the incident, as required by rule 63.3. Had this procedure been followed, the protest committee would have learned that the collision between PW and S arose from the inability of PW to bear away because PL did not give her room to do so, and, as provided in rule 64.1(c), PW would have been exonerated from her breach of rule 10. PW’s appeal is upheld, and she is to be exonerated from her breach of rule 10 and reinstated. The protest committee’s decision to disqualify PL for breaking rule 19.2(b) was correct.
There are ways to ensure that cases like this are heard together. But it does mean that the person receiving the protest forms – or the one planning the hearings – at least has a basic understanding of the process.
He/She must run trough the following checklist:
- Have any of the boats on the forms the same numbers?
- If so, are they the same class?
- if so, did the incident occur during the same race?
- if so, compare the incidents described on the forms and look for similarities – if in doubt ask one of the panel members to help.
- If still in doubt, call the parties involved to come at the same time and ask them.
It is easier to separate if the protest is not about the same incident, than to join, if they are.