(This is an instalment in a series of blogposts about the ISAF Casebook 2009-2012 with amendments for 2010. All cases are official interpretations by the ISAF committees on how the Racing Rules of Sailing should be used or interpreted. The cases are copied from the Casebook, only the comments are written by me.)
Rule 46, Person in Charge
Unless otherwise specifically stated in the class rules, notice of race or sailing instructions, the owner or other person in charge of a boat is free to decide who steers her in a race, provided that rule 46 is not broken.
Summary of the Facts
In a series, A was entered by the owner, who steered her in race 1. In races 2 and 3 she was steered by another person from whom no entry had been received. The race committee, without a hearing, considered him to be a non-entrant and a non-starter, changed A’s results, and awarded her a nonstarter’s
points in races 2 and 3.
The relevant class rule 11(e) read: ‘Distribution of duties between helmsman and crew shall be entirely at the discretion of the helmsman, unless otherwise stipulated in the sailing instructions.’
The race committee held that class rule 11(e) did not allow permanent substitution by the crew at the helm for an entire race or races, since the only purpose of that would be to improve a boat’s chances of winning a series.
A’s appeal is upheld. The owner of a boat may appoint another person to steer her. It is the boat that is entered in a race and, unless otherwise specifically provided in the class rules, notice of the race or sailing instructions (which was not so in this case), it is a matter for the owner or other person in charge of her to decide who steers her at any time, provided that rule 46 is not broken. A is to be reinstated in the race results.
Do you remember what rule 46 states?
“A boat shall have on board a person in charge designated by the member or organization that entered the boat. See rule 75.”
That rule also doesn’t say who has to helm nor that it should be the same person in all races in a series. You can even change the helm and crew during a race if that would benefit for instance the weight distribution on board – say, going downwind.
Many regatta’s - in the Netherlands I know for sure any national championships – have rules that the helmsman and crew must sail in all races in the same ‘position’. But if that is not written, you can change – provided the person in charge, designated by the one who entered the boat, is on board.
For a laser or any other one person boat, that wouldn’t be possible.
I’m travelling back home today from Athens. Hopefully with a smooth bag transition in Munich.