Thursday 6 March 2014

Basic Principle & the 35th America's Cup

Going trough the last America's Cup Racing Rules I noticed that the Basic Principle as printed in the RRS was not used. I asked some people connected to the AC and was told that because of rule 2, rule 69 in the RRSAC and art. 60 in the Protocol (code of conduct), the basic principle was not needed.
(The protocol can be found here: The Protocol Governing the 34th America's Cup
And article 60 is in one of the amendments:  Protocol Amendment No.11
And the latest RRSAC (v1.20) are here: ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing AC Edition v 1.20 )

For the most part I can agree with this. Rule 2 covers good sportsmanship and fair play, rule 69 covers more serious breaches and misconduct. And article 60 in the protocol more than covers anything that is done or said or written (negatively) about the AC.

But the Basic Principles in the RRS does one thing more, in my opinion. 
I quote:
Competitors in the sport of sailing are governed by a body of rules that they are expected to follow and enforce. A fundamental principle of sportsmanship is that when competitors break a rule they will promptly take a penalty, which may be to retire."
Nowhere else in the rules it is written that competitors are expected to 'enforce' the rules. All rules involving protest all have the word "may" which is permissive, not mandatory (shall).
A boat may protest another boat, but there is no obligation in rule 60.1

The only place there is any expectation that boats should do anything, against another boat that is breaking a rule, is in the basic principles.

Please don't misunderstand, even with the basic principle this obligation is in practice, pretty weak, but in the 34th AC even that was missing.

I would like to hear your opinion. Should the Basic Principle; Sportsmanship and the Rules be included in the next America's Cup or not?
Rules - 35th America's Cup?


I wrote this some time ago, but in light of Monday's blogpost thought it would fit...


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