Monday, 19 September 2011

(pillow)Case of the Week (38/11) - 44

(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.)

(pillow)Case picture

Case 44

Rule 62.1(a), Redress
Rule 85, Governing Rules

A boat may not protest a race committee for breaking a rule. However, she may request redress, and is entitled to it when she establishes that, through no fault of her own, an improper action or omission of the race committee made her score significantly worse.

Summary of the Facts

Sailing instruction 18 provided for the starting line and first mark to be laid so that the first leg would be sailed to windward. After the race committee did so and had started one class, the wind backed some 55 degrees. The Finn class was next to start, but the first mark could not be moved, since the prior class was still sailing towards it and was well short of it. When the Finns started, none could fetch the first mark on a single tack, but subsequent further backing of the wind permitted some to do so.

Boat A ‘protested the race committee,’ asserting that, under rule 85 and the definition Rule, sailing instruction 18 was a rule and the race committee had broken it.

The protest committee was satisfied that the first leg of the course was not a ‘windward’ leg within the meaning of the sailing instructions. On the other hand, it found no evidence to suggest that, within the terms of rule 62.1(a), the race was unfair or that any boat was entitled to redress. The protest committee ruled that the results of the race were to stand.

A appealed, asserting that her protest had not been based on a claim for redress under rule 62.1(a). It was based simply on the fact that the race committee had failed to comply with sailing instruction 18, a rule, and with rule 85, which bound race committees to be governed by the rules.

The protest committee had based its decision on rule 62.1(a), which was, in her opinion, incorrect. To allow a race to stand when it had not been sailed as required by the rules contravened rule 85 and could not come within the scope of rule 62.1(a).


The racing rules do not permit a race committee to be protested or penalized. However, as stated in rule 60.1(b), a boat may request redress.

The protest committee allowed A’s complaint to be considered by treating it as a request for redress under rule 62.1(a). It correctly found that there was no evidence that A’s score had been made worse by an action or omission of the race committee. Accordingly, A’s appeal is dismissed.

RYA 1978/8



Lesson learned: The RC must comply with rule 85, but if she does not – a boat can only get redress if her score is made (significantly) worse by that action or omission.

And for the X-time, you can’t protest the RC. Because if you could and they were disqualified, who would run the races?



  1. What does penalizing the Race Committee even mean?

    However, protesting the RC is common usage and people really need to think of requesting redress. Firstly because it is correct and secondly because it puts you in the right frame of mind with the right arguments when you go into the room.


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