Sunday, 23 September 2012

Penalty Done?

At an event this summer I was involved in a protest where a boat claimed she was interfered with, by another boat which was taking a penalty.

These are the facts found:
In race 4 on Tuesday close to the finish line, three Centaurs were involved in an incident
Boat A (Blue) on starboard approached the line on a close hauled course. Boat B (Purple) was on a collision course, also close hauled, but sailing on port tack. Boat B thought she could pass boat A in front. Boat A bore off behind Boat B and hailed protest and put up a red flag. She continued saying "You have to do a turn". The incident was observed by boat C (Red) approaching the finish also.

Boat B bore off, gybed and tacked almost immediately, ending up sailing close hauled on port again. Boat C (Red), also sailing on port tack, established an overlap while boat B was finishing her tack.

Both boats sailed a boat length in overlap and then Boat B started luffing to fetch the finish mark. Boat C hailed protest and put up a flag. She luffed also and the distance between the boats remained the same throughout the incident, approximately 2 meters. Both boats luffed to head to wind and crossed the finish line. After passing the mark boat B bore off and sailed clear, shortly followed by boat C.

Boat C handed in a protest form claiming an infringement of rule 21.2
And the diagram the PC made based on these facts:

What should the PC decide?

The PC made the following observations;
First, not taking a penalty or only half a penalty is in itself not breaking a rule.
The question is; does a boat get its rights back after having done only half the penalty turns? The Blue boat could have continued its turns without interfering with the Red boat. Only because she luffed she interfered. But was she then any longer a boat taking a penalty?

Second; if rights are returned to Blue as leeward boat, she broke no rule against Red. And the protest was about rule 21.2……. The only rule Blue broke was against Purple, rule 10, not keeping clear as port tack boat. Blue only did not take a two turn penalty to exonerate herself.
In addition Blue claimed in the hearing that Purple only asked for one turn and she did that. And, she didn't break any rules against Red.

Please give me your opinion as to what the PC should decide.


  1. The main issue I see is that Blue did only one turn, not two per R44.1.

    Blue was clear of Red when she began her penalty and Red did not have to alter course to clear Blue as Blue completed her tack.

    Once Blue resumed racing to the finish, she was outside the zone and entitled to mark room and was entitled to luff up to head to wind and Red as windward boat was obliged and was able to keep clear of Blue. So there is rule broken for Blue relative to Red.

    However the single penalty turn does not satisfy R 44.1 and Blue needs to return to the course and do two new complete turns before finishing or be DSQ for fouling Purple on the original R10 incident


  2. The protest committee should first dismiss the protest under rule 21.2. At the time that Red had to avoid her, Blue was no longer taking a penalty. She had ceased the maneuver of two tacks and two gybes in the same direction, which she was required to undertake promptly. Her actions, luffing Red, in the opposite direction, were inconsistent with that.

    The protest committee should then bring a protest against Blue, under rule 60.3(a), for breaking rule 10 against Purple. On the facts given, they should disqualify Blue.

    During the hearing brought by the protest committee, they should also inquire whether Blue knew that she was required to do two turns and whether she failed to do so deliberately thinking she could get away with it. If that is established, they should disqualify Blue under rule 2 and give her a DNE.

    John G

  3. Blue had stopped taking a penalty by virtue of sailing straight after the first turn.

    Blue infringed in the port/starboard incident.

    Purple's request for 1 turn has no significance.

    Red'd protest is valid.

    Assuming the PC learned these facts during the hearing of Red's protest, they can protest Blue for the port/starboard incident. Blue DSQ.


  4. What John G said - mostly.
    Red's protest MAY be valid, but the PC needs to ascertain/confirm whether Blue believed that they were in the process of completing a penalty or had abandoned that course of action. (Their actions would appear to confirm the latter)
    If Blue had given up doing the two turn penalty that they were required to do for infringing Purple, then Red's protest must be dismissed. However, Blue should then be DSQ'd (which must occur in any event) for not completing the required penalty for their infringement on Purple. As a result, Red shouldn't really gain anything by protesting.

  5. Here are my conclusions and decision:


    1. BOAT A, on starboard tack, needed to take avoiding action in order not to collide with BOAT B.
    2. BOAT A hailed "Protest" and displayed a red flag at the first reasonable opportunity.
    3. BOAT A's on-the-water protest against BOAT B was valid.
    4. BOAT B immediately began to take a Two-Turn penalty.
    5. While BOAT B was in positions 3 through 9 and making the 360 degree turn which included a tack and a gybe, she was taking a rule 44.2 Two-Turns Penalty and required by rule 21 to keep clear of BOAT C.
    6. When BOAT B failed to promptly begin her second turn at position 9 she was no longer taking a Two-Turns Penalty and no longer required by rule 21 to keep clear of BOAT C. However, after position 9 BOAT B was required to keep clear of BOAT C under rule 13 and then give room to keep clear under rules 15 and 16.
    7. BOAT C kept clear through out the incident and broke no rules.

    (BOAT B probably broke rule 10 and did not complete a Two-Turns Penalty. If BOAT A complies with the rest of the requirements to make a protest valid, BOAT C will have a difficult time avoiding being disqualified for the Port/Starboard incident at the hearing.)

    RULE 18.3

    8. Between positions 7 and 8, BOAT B and BOAT C were approaching a mark on opposite tacks. BOAT B changed tack and BOAT C was fetching the mark.
    8. As a result of changing tacks, BOAT B was subject to rule 13 while within the zone.
    9. Rule 18.3 applied to BOAT B.
    10. After position 10, BOAT B luffed and caused BOAT C to sail above close-hauled to avoid her.
    11. BOAT C kept clear of BOAT B throughout this incident and broke no rules.
    12. BOAT B broke rule 18.3 and is disqualified.

    (Since the Protest Committee learned of the BOAT A vs BOAT B Port/Starboard incident while hearing a valid protest, it would be in its rights to protest BOAT B and have another hearing. In my experience this would be a rare occurrence.

    Unless BOAT B's testimony was that she knew she was breaking the rule and decided to do it anyway (e.g. She knew she should do two turns but decided one was enough punishment because BOAT A was now ahead), one DSQ is usually considered enough.

    However, the issue, rule 2 and the possibility of a DNE certainly would be discussed when the protest's decision was announced. If the Protest Committee was hopeful that the competitor had 'learned a lesson', the issue would go no further.

    1. 18.3 If two boats were approaching a mark on OPPOSITE TACKS and one of them......

  6. Hello Jos
    Rule 44.2 After getting well clear of other boats.......... Did Blue get well clear to take his penalty?? I think NO,

  7. Boat C, having witnessed the incident between A and B, should have been able to rely on the requirement for B to complete the two-turns penalty and in doing so keeping clear. As the windward boat, C honored the obligation to keep clear and exercised her only remedy in filing the protest under 21.2. Boat B should be DSQ for failing to exonerate herself from fouling A. It doesn't matter what A suggested she do...the rule requires two-turns unless changed by the SI.

  8. Opinion re: "Penalty Done?"
    Blue acknowledged that she broke a rule of part 2. She did one alternative turn to try to exonerate herself. The protest committee said that Blue did not break a rule by not taking a penalty or by only taking half a penalty.
    Blue did not break rule 21.2 because she was not actually "taking a penalty" while she was sailing to the finish line and luffing the red boat.
    If the two-turn alternative penalty was not modified by the Sailing Instructions, Blue did break rule 44.1 and 44.2.
    Rule 44.1 states that if a boat breaks a rule of Part 2, she may take a Two Turns Penalty. Rule 44.2 requires Blue to keep clear and promptly make the required number of turns in the same direction. Blue could have continued to do the required second turn while keeping clear. If she was unable to get clear to do her turns until after she crossed the finish line she could have done the turns, returned to the course side and recrossed the line to get a finish time. In this case that option does not apply, because she had the opportunity to stay clear and promptly complete both turns on the course side. If Blue did not complete the two turns before she crossed the finish line, her only remaining remedy was to retire. If she did not retire, then she must be scored DSQ by the PC.

  9. Assuming that RRS 41.1 is not changed by the SI.
    Blue started taking her penalty turns keeping clear from other boats, since Red did not have to alter her course. But in position 9, Blue sailed clause hauled instead of bearing away immediately to complete her second turn, so at that position she is no longer taking a penalty.
    The diagram shows that Blue completed her tack outside the zone. At position 9 Red established an overlap to windward with Blue. Blue became the right of way boat under RRS 11. When blue started luffing she gave Red room to keep clear and Red did so. So no rule was broken.
    If during the hearing, which was valid, the protest committee learns about the incident between Blue and Purple she MAY protest Blue.
    The question is if the PC will protest Blue for breaking RRS 10. Purple didn't lodge a protest even though she hailed so and put up the red flag during the race. But i think it's logic as she saw Blue starting taking a penalty turn so she assumed she did complete h6er turns.
    Purple also had the right to protest Blue for breaking RRS 10 because she saw the incident but she didn't.
    If the PC decides to lodge a protest against Blue she will consider also Rule 2 on why Blue did only one penalty turn instead of two. If Blue did it on purpose just because Red was going to finish ahead of her, Blue will be DNE.


  10. I also agree with John G, mostly. Blue wasn't interfering with Red at any time that she was doing penalty turns, and it's only while taking penalty turns that 21.2 required her to keep clear of Red. Unless the SIs reduced the number of turns required, she did, however, fail to exonerate herself for her breach of rule 10 in her encounter with Purple. Assuming these facts came to light in a valid hearing, she can and should be protested by the PC for that breach and DSQ'd for it.

    If she knew she had two turns to do and only did one thinking she would get away with it, I agree that she has a rule 2 problem, but it's a bit hard to imagine how such facts would come to light in a hearing.

  11. The rule 18.3 argument is brilliant, but I think Blue was outside the zone when she completed her tack. I also agree with all the other comments, that when Blue stopped turning she was no longer taking a penalty even though she still had a gybe and a tack left in that penalty, and therefore she didn't break rule 21.2.

    There's no information in the description of this incident about whether Purple filed her protest against Blue on the original port/starboard incident; if so, the protest committee should certainly disqualify Blue for breaking rule 10.

    But suppose Purple doesn't file her protest? Several commentators suggest that the protest committee could protest Blue for breaking rule 10 against Purple, but I don't think so. Rule 60.3 allows a protest committee to protest a boat if they learn that she may have broken a rule, but only if she "was involved in the incident and may have broken a rule." I think it's a reasonable interpretation of this phrase that the breaking of the rule must have been in the incident of the protest. In this case, the protest involves Blue's actions after she completed the first tack of her turns, well after the original incident. So I don't think the protest committee can protest Blue on the original port/starboard violation.

    1. If the protest committee finds that Blue broke Rule 10 it "shall disqualify her unless some other penalty applies . . . whether or not Rule 10 was mentioned in [Red's] protest." RRS 64.1 I don't think that the PC must actually protest Blue to do this.

  12. In the original protest Purple only mentioned rule 21.2.
    During the hearing the PC found out about the port / starboard incident between Red and Blue.

    So what about rule 64.1(a)?
    64.1 Penalties and Exoneration
    (a) When the protest committee decides that a boat that is a
    party to a protest hearing has broken a rule, it shall disqualify
    her unless some other penalty applies. A penalty shall be
    imposed whether or not the applicable rule was mentioned in
    the protest.

  13. I agree the rule 18.3 point is superb. It never crossed my mind. I think blue was in the zone before she completed her tack, but let us assume that anyway. Was blue subject to rule 13 whilst tacking? I think not. She was taking a penalty at that moment and subject to rule 21.2. I don't think 13 applied to her as well because 13 ends with the bit about 2 boats tacking at the same time. That part of rule 13 would not give right of way to a boat taking whilst taking a penalty.


  14. Just to give my take on some of these questions, in what is a fascinating discussion.

    Jos. I take it, from your description of the problem, that the incident identified in the protest form was Blue luffing Red.

    I don’t think rule 64.1 allows the protest committee to disqualify Blue without another hearing, for the port-starboard infringement, between Blue and Purple. That was a separate incident from the actions occurring between Blue and Red. Blue’s failure to keep clear of Purple and Purple’s avoiding action had finished by position 4. Blue’s luff of Red started after position 10, by which time Purple had finished the race and wasn’t even in the picture. They were distinct occurrences. The fact that one incident may have led to the other doesn’t make them the same incident. World War I may have led to WW II but they were distinct wars.

    As case 80 confirms, a boat cannot be disqualified for any incident other than the one protested.

    If the port starboard incident was also identified in the protest form, then I believe that the protest committee should treat both incidents as separate protests.

    Rob. I don’t understand your point about the protest committee not being able to lodge a protest. Rule 60.3 states that a protest committee may protest a boat unless certain exceptions apply. None of those exceptions apply here, so a protest can be lodged. Rule 60.3(a)(1) & (2) then create exceptions to the initial exceptions. They do not set out exhaustively the circumstances in which a protest committee may protest a boat. If rule 60.3(a)(1) or (2) doesn’t apply, that is not fatal to the protest.

    One of the anonymous correspondents wrote: “If she knew she had two turns to do and only did one thinking she would get away with it, I agree that she has a rule 2 problem, but it's a bit hard to imagine how such facts would come to light in a hearing.”

    It shouldn’t be too difficult to establish whether Blue was innocent or unsportsmanlike. We can ask directly about her knowledge of the requirements for on the water penalties. She has already said she did one turn because Purple had only asked her to do one turn - so her actions were deliberate. That leaves openings for further inquiry.

    John G

  15. Can a boat really "stop taking a penalty"? Or once she has started the turns process, does she lose all rights until she has completed it?


  16. I see the PC taking the following logic.

    During the evidence phase of the hearing, Blue says that they were taking a one turn penalty for the P/S incident with Purple and stayed clear of Red while so doing. The PC now has self incriminating evidence of the R 10 incident and can use the current protest hearing to DSQ Blue under R 10 and R 64.1.a. They have the option of calling Purple to the hearing as a witness or as an interested party.


  17. The original PC were facing the dilemma of having to protest Blue or not. Can they - if the facts found in this protest include the port/starboard incident - DSQ without a new protest against Blue?

    Clearly there are two camps at the moment....

  18. Just noticed. The foreword to section D says when rule 21 or 22 applies, section A rules do not. The boat taking a penalty is governed by 21.2, a rule of section D. Blue therefore not subject to rule 13 in the zone. I wonder if that was intended.


  19. Some interesting points raised here. I must admit that I had never considered that rule 18.3 could not apply because Boat B was subject to rule 21.2 and therefore not subject to rule 13. As Wag intimated, I doubt that that was intended.

    I agree with most comments that Boat B ceases to be taking a penalty at position 9 so does not exonerate herself for the rule 10 incident but doesn't break 18.3 or 21.2.

    Regarding what the PC can/should do about the rule 10 incident I think:

    1. The PC cannot DSQ Boat B for the rule 10 incident in the hearing of Boat C's protest. That is a separate incident and not the subject of C's protest. Either Boat A or C could have lodged a protest about the rule 10 incident but did not. As already mentioned, Case 80 makes it clear that the PC must limit themselves to the incident that was protested.

    2. The PC may lodge their own protest against B for the rule 10 incident. Based on what Jos has said, it seems that the PC learnt of the rule 10 incident based on what Boat B herself has said. If that is true, the first part of rule 60.3(a) applies.
    "A PC may (a) protest a boat, but not as a result of information arising from ..... a report from an interested party other than the representative of the boat herself".
    If the PC had become aware of the rule 10 incident only as a result of statements from Boat C, I agree with Rob O that the PC would not have been able to lodge their own protest as the information came from an interested party.
    While I agree with the logic expressed in the last part of John G's post, I don't think that gives the PC open reign. Rule 60.3(a)(1) doesn't apply and nor does 60.3(a)(2) because that is referring to a boat that is not a party to the hearing (Boat B was a party) and was involved in the incident (which is the rule 21.2 incident). Therefore the PC may only act if it is not constrained by the limitations of the first part of rule 60.3(a).


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