Monday, 20 February 2012

(pillow)Case of the week (08/12) – 22

(This is an instalment in a series of blogposts about the ISAF Case book 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.)

(pillow)Case picture


Rule 61.2(c), Protest Requirements: Protest Contents
Rule 63.5, Hearings: Validity of the Protest or Request for Redress
Rule 64.1(a), Decisions: Penalties and Exoneration

It is irrelevant for deciding on the validity of a protest that the protest committee thinks the rule cited in the protest as having been broken will very likely not be the applicable rule.

Summary of the Facts

After a collision near a mark, S protested P, citing rule 18 on her protest form as required by rule 61.2(c). The protest committee declared the protest invalid and refused to proceed with the hearing, because it said the protest should have cited rule 10 rather than rule 18. Had the hearing gone ahead and the parties been questioned, the protest committee said, the protest might have been upheld. S appealed.


Rule 61.2(c) requires the protest to identify any rule the protestor believes was broken. There is no requirement that the rule or rules identified must be the rule or rules that are later determined to have been broken, and it is irrelevant for deciding on the validity of the protest that the protestor cited a rule that will very likely not be the applicable rule.

It is the protest committee, after finding the facts, that determines the applicable rule. Rule 64.1(a) states that a disqualification or other penalty shall be imposed whether or not the applicable rule was mentioned in the protest. It is unimportant that the protestor made a mistake in citing the rule.

The appeal is upheld to the extent that the protest committee is instructed to hold a new hearing.

FIV 1967/4 촀⩚늂


Everybody gets a ‘freebie’ as far as citing the correct rule is concerned. This practice probably came about after some protests were thrown out because of using the wrong rule. And to be denied justice, because one forgot that port-starboard was rule 10 and not 11, was most likely perceived as very unfair. Can’t argue with that, can you?

In practise this means however, that whatever the protestee puts in the box gets ignored. And the general side effect is that sailors don’t even look-up the correct rule anymore.

”I am right and the other one is wrong and the PC can sort it out…..

In my opinion this ‘freebie’ has contributed to the general decline in rules knowledge. Let alone skill in the room. The phrase “He hasn’t won on the water” comes to mind. Wining a protest is somehow a little ‘dirty’.

As long as there are no referees on the water – judging every incident and acting independently – our sailing sport will be a self-policing sport. Competitors are expected not only to follow but to enforce the rules.

And that starts with knowing the rules. Including which rule number!
They are on your bloody phone as an APP, are they not?
It takes five seconds to look it up….

Get rid of the ‘freebies’, bring knowledge back!

Get Up, Stand Up, Fight for your Rights!


  1. What is a fair alternative? Consider that the protest committee hears the opponent and may settle on a different version of the facts than the boat which filed the protest. Sometimes this can change the rule which is violated.

    1. I have no problem with the PC changing the rule number in the hearing. But let at least have the protestee state a rule number fitting with accusation. She's telling the PC the other boat broke a rule > can we at least hear which one?

  2. Surely the purpose of asking the protestor to specify a rule is to help the protestee understand what the protestor thinks he has done wrong.
    I agree that there will be occasions where it may be obvious to the PC that the rule given is inappropriate, but equally a PC may have to spend considerable time deciding exactly which rule applies. It would be very hard to decide where between these two extremes a protestee could be determined to be sufficiently negligent in rule selection that he should be penalised (either directly or by some lesser penalty on the losing protestee).

  3. @JayW & Anonymous
    You are both correct. The issue is never as black and white as I was stating. Please forgive me, I was trying to provoke some strong reactions....


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