Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Finished or not?

A boat in a short regatta (half an hour) crosses the finish line as 7th boat and just after her bow has passed the line, she touches the finish  mark. The Race Committee on the pin-end finish boat see the boat touch the mark. They inform the other finish boat and a note is put on the finish list.

The boat crosses over the line and some heated argument on board is heard by the RC-people. They lose sight of the boat and concentrate on the next boat(s).

The boat returns to the finish line a couple of minutes later and is seen to sail downwind through the line towards the last mark.


After five minutes the finish window (time limit) runs out and because the next race is scheduled to commence as soon as possible, the committee boats leave their station and go down to the starting area. While they motor down, they see that same boat beating upwind.

The next race is started twenty minutes later after a short postponement because of a wind shift and all boats participate.

After racing the scoring is published and the boat who had touched the finish mark is scored DNF. The PC receives a request for redress within the protest time limit from that same boat, claiming she had finished.

What should they do?
Is that boat finished or not, and what should their score be?

Definition: Finish A boat finishes when any part of her hull, or crew or equipment in nor­­mal position, crosses the finishing line in the direction of the course from the last mark, either for the first time or after taking a penalty under rule 44.2 or, after correcting an error made at the finishing line, under rule 28.1.


  1. The request for redress is valid. The boat finished, and should be scored as having finished the first time. Redress given.

    I would then talk to the RC and tell them that, since the PC learned of this incident (touching the mark) from a request for redress, it cannot protest the boat under 60.3. The RC, however, learned about the incident by their own observation, and are free to protest the boat under 60.2. Given that the RC misinterpreted the boat's actions (which lead to mistakenly scoring them DNF), there is good reason to extend the protest time limit. Unless there are any surprises, the decision of that protest would be DSQ the boat for breaking rule 31.

  2. The boat should be scored in it's position. The boat met the definition of 'FINISH' . The RC or others have the option to protest the boat for hitting the mark. During the hearing the issue of touching the mark should not be discussed. The redress hearing should be about meeting the FINISH definition.

  3. The PC should direct the RC to score the boat in her position since she met the definition of FINISH. The issue of touching the mark should not be discussed in the meeting. The hearing should be about the boat meeting the definition of finish. The RC or others had the option to protest her for touching the mark.

  4. What if the finish line was still there but the time limit had already expired when the boat sailed through it?
    By touching the mark the boat HAS to take a penalty before she can finish......

    1. Touching a mark is not much different than breaking any other rule. If the boat, rather than touching a mark, failed to give mark-room to an inside boat, she would also have to take a penalty before finishing. If she does not, she should not be scored DNF but as having finished whenever it was she first passed the line. She would then be disqualified in a protest. If she takes a penalty, then she should be scored when she passed the line the second time.

      In this case, the boat argues she did not take a penalty and thus finished when she first crossed the line. Which is correct.

    2. I think I know what you are suggesting Jos.

      Most SIs I've seen with a time limit instruction *intend* for the SI to refer to the final time a boat finishes but are usually not explicit about this. Therefore, one could state that a boat "sailed the course and finished" inside the time limit (satisfying that requirement of the SIs) and then corrected her error of touching the mark before finishing again.

      (a) did she finish before the time limit? Yes.
      (b) did she finish according to the definition 'finish'? Yes (both times)
      (c) can she be protested for touching the mark? Yes, but we are assuming she has already taken a penalty for that. So score her according to rule A5 (presumanly in last place!).

      Clever way to save some points that might just win you the series!!

  5. The boat has finished (according to the definition) but is also still racing (according to the definition) so when she touches the finish mark she has broken Rule 31

    I think the race committee should have finished the boat and then informed the protest committee of the Rule 31 infringement. The Protest Committee should allow the Redress hearing but also protest the boat for Rule 31, giving them the opportunity to retire. They then may hear these two hearings together. If the Protest Committee feels the yacht knowingly broke Rule 31 and did not take a penalty or retire, the Protest Committee may also protest the yacht under Rule 2.

    1. What a shambles. There is a certain lack of information here. We do not know what redress the boat sought. It might be hat she realised her error and recrossed the line correctly. The race committee lost sight of the boat and so do not know if she recrossed correctly.

      If, in the redress hearing, the boat said she touched and recrossed, the protest cttee should try to find the position she recrossed in and award her that. Any doubt resolved in favour of the boat would be my inclination.

      If the boat does not admit to hitting the mark and asks for a finish when it first crossed the line, the protest committee should award that. Its too late for the sailing cttee to protest and I see no reason for an extension.

      The PC might consider protesting the boat under rule 69.1(a). In such a hearing, it should seek to determine whether or not the boat knew it had touched the mark and get an idea of their rules knowledge. If they knew they touched the mark and knew they had broken a rule, then penalise under 69.


  6. The boat has crossed the finishing line in the direction of the course from the last mark. She has finished and should be scored accordingly.

    If the boat has touched a mark then she has broken rule rule 31. She MAY take a penalty under rule 44 butis not obliged to do so. The Race Commmittee MAY protest her but in this case, for whatever reason chose not to do so.

    If the boat is scored anything other than her finishing place she may request redress for an improper action of the RC, who has not acted in accordance with A5.

    If in the course of a redress hearing the Jury learns that the boat may have broken a rule then according to 60.3 her only possibility is a rule 69 hearing - as there was no injury or serious damage and the hearing was not a protest hearing. However, as the RC has already decided that the rule 31 infringement did not merit a protest I would be extremely reluctant to proceed under rule 69 except in the most exceptional of circumstances.


  7. I thing the rule 31 protest would be out of time and the limit cannot be extended.

    Mike B

  8. Jos in fleet racing why do you have to take the penalty before you can finish. The boat finished with a penalty outstanding for which she should have been protested. To refinish she has to do the penalty 44.2 and sail to the course side before finishing.
    The boat did not take the penalty so this requirement does not apply.
    Mike B

  9. What should the PC do? The PC should hold a hearing for the redress request provided the request was made properly.

    Is the boat finished? The boat was (correctly) *recorded* by the RC as being finished because the boat crossed "the finishing line in the direction of the last mark for the first time". The RC's observation that she hit the mark doesn't affect that she satisfied the definition of finish. From what is stated about the race she doesn't finish again within the time limit.

    What should the score be? The RC should have *scored* her in her finishing position (because she finished within the time limit) and then protested her for touching the mark. Not scoring her according to rule A5 was a mistake of the RC.

    I put emphasis on the two acts of recording the finish place and then scoring the boat; I believe them to be separate acts.

    Decision: I would be compelled by Case 80 to find that the RC improperly scored the boat and that her score was made significantly worse through no fault of her own because of that. As such, I would grant her redress. The redress given would be to score her in her finishing position (and adjust the score of all other boats that finished behind her?). Since there has been no hearing to establish whether the boat actually broke rule 31 (as assumed by the RC) I believe this would be the only fair option to take.

    At that point it seems that there is no option for the PC to protest the boat because it is restricted by rule 60.3(a) and presumably the protest time limit has expired thus preventing the RC from lodging a valid protest. This is unfortunate because the question about whether the boat actually broke rule 31 goes unanswered.
    broke rule 31 goes unanswered.

  10. In the hearing these additional facts were established
    - The boat took a one turn penalty above the finishline.
    - She sailed back trough the line to unwind her string to go to the last mark, because she discovered she had rounded it on the wrong side.
    - the boat rounded that mark on the correct side and sailed back to the finish area.
    - The time limit was expired and the finish line was no longer there.

    OR alternatively (as a second option)
    - The line was still there (but the time limit had expired) and the boat crossed the line for a second time.

    The race committee did not file a protest because the boat did not finish within the time limit.

    1. New facts. Assuming the SI includes point L 15.2, then the DNF was correctly given. The definition of finish is "either-or", rather than "and". She did not finish the first time she crossed the line, and since she failed to finish (within the time limit) was correctly scored by the RC as DNF if the SI provides for this.

  11. When she first crossed the finish line, she finished. Whilst she could correct the error of touching the finish mark and re-finish, she has missed her chance to correct the error at the previous mark.

    In an ideal world, she would realise that and retire. If not, the PC has no option but to award her the position when she first crossed the finish line. Again, the PC could consider protesting under 69.1(a).


  12. The additional facts do not change the established fact that the boat crossed the finishing line in the direction from the last mark. However, once it is established that she took a penalty under 44.2 she is then required to cross the finishing line for a second time. As she did not do so the correct score is DNF.

    Interestingly, if she had done her turn, crossed the line correctly THEN sailed back to the last mark then, provided she was still within the time limit, she should be scored in her finishing place. A Race Committee can only score a boat for making an error under 28.1 if the incident occurs at the finish line i.e. if she does not finish according to the definition.



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