In rule RRS 61.2 the Protest Contents are described. Any PC or Jury has the obligation to make a judgement if these criteria are met. They have been listed under (a) trough (d):
61.2 Protest Contents
A protest shall be in writing and identify
- (a) the protestor and protestee;
- (b) the incident, including where and when it occurred;
- (c) any rule the protestor believes was broken; and
- (d) the name of the protestor’s representative.
If the rule ended there, the PC/Jury would have an easy job. Just tick the boxes if a, b, c and d are described and Bob's your uncle. But the rule ends with some provisions:
However, if requirement (b) is met, requirement (a) may be met at any time before the hearing, and requirements (c) and (d) may be met before or during the hearing.So we are left with one solid requirement which MUST be met, before end of protest time. Once the form has been handed in, there's no going back again. The incident, including where and when it occurred, must be on the form. If not, it is an invalid protest!
I'll give you the following example and let you decide:
There's an incident description of a situation five boat lengths from the windward mark on the form. Port - Starboard. The starboard tack boat has to bear away to avoid a port tack boat, crossing in front. With a drawing and the correct rule number (10). Protestor identified and protestee also.
Everything as it should be.
Just after the protest has been published on the board and after the protest time limit has expired, the protestor comes to the desk and states that he made a mistake in the race number. It wasn't race 7 like he described on the form. No, it was in race 8.
The jury secretary tells him that he should bring this up in the hearing and does not give him the form to correct his mistake. The hearing is started, both parties are present and very soon it is established that the incident did not happen in race 7 but it happened in race 8. So, the "when" in (b) was not correct.
The protestee declares to the members that therefore requirement (b) in rule 61.2 has not been met and that the protest should be declared invalid. The protestor declares that he made an honest mistake and that he tried to correct it before the hearing started, but was refused by the secretary.....
How would you decide? Valid or not?
Is there a fair solution that is permissible under the rules?
One thing I can already tell any sailor who has to fill in a protest form: Put the time of the incident on the form.
If there is a time, a mistake like the race number can easily be corrected, if there is no time, the 'when' has to be derived in another way.....
I'll await your comments.