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Brass View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Rules Observance
    Posted: 29 Oct 17 at 8:50am
One last issue that I think deserves tidying up.

In an early post in this thread I hinted that rules enforcement action on the water by the RC, by protesting boats or other means was necessarily inconsistent because if race committee officials are performing their primary tasks of conducting racing and attending to safety, they cannot possibly observe and detect all or even most rules breaches.

Other posters have picked up on the possible unfairness of this.

In the normal case, where the OA/race committee has NOT decided that race committee actin is necessary to improve rules observance I think this lack of consistency and comprehensiveness is a good reason for the race committee to avoid protesting boats for on-water breaches.  Exceptions may be where a blatant breach occurs 'right under the nose' of the race committee (except, of course where the breach is clearly seen by another competitor who chooses not to protest, in which case the race committee is well advised to 'leave the racing to the racers').

OTOH, if the OA/race committee HAS decided that race committee actin by protesting boats or otherwise is appropriate to deal with problems of rules non-compliance, one would like to think that the potential inconsistency in observing some, but not other breaches will have been considered by the OA/race committee in reaching this decision.

The problem will, to some extent, be ameliorated by instructions given to race committee officials to be observant for rules breaches, which may be expected to make the coverage at least somewhat more comprehensive.

On balance, if there is a deliberate by the OA/race committee to address rules compliance by instruction race officials to protest boat for breaking rules on the water, it may well be considered that any unfairness arising from inconsistency and lack of coverage is balanced up by the need to address the rules non-compliance problem.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 423zero Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Oct 17 at 7:39am
Nice breakdown, should add, I have only informed racers about touching marks and wrong course.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 17 at 11:17pm
Originally posted by sargesail

Originally posted by 423zero

Agreed.
No need for protest committee, inform miscreant boat that they have broken a rule and need to do penalty, only if they disagree do you need to recourse to a protest committee.

Which sounds like an attempt at an amended Arbitration Process.  
Sorry, that's nothing like an arbitration.

In an arbitration, each side tells their story, then the arbitrator expresses an opinion about whether a boat broke a rule.

Having a race officer deciding whether a boat broke a rule without hearing anything from either party is arbitrary but not arbitration.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 17 at 11:11pm

423zero has described, in various posts, actions he or she takes to promote rules observance when acting as a race officer.  At first blush these look like pretty authoritarian and intrusive practices.

Originally posted by 423zero

When I am OOD if I see something I send boat over if they don't do their turns or they miss a mark

Originally posted by 423zero

…racers, who will pass infringements to safety boat crew, if miscreant fails to do their turns, I will call them on it

Originally posted by 423zero

…  if safety boat radios a protest that they have seen or a racer has reported to them, I will instruct safety boat to go and inform culprit they have been protested, would they at their earliest opportunity do their turns, if they dispute this it will have to go to a protest hearing.

It’s not quite clear what is meant by ‘I will call them on it’.  If this means nothing more than that a race official will tell a boat that the race committee intends to protest the boat, this is unexceptionable:  that’s what the race committee is entitled to do in accordance with rule 60.2.

But 423zero goes on to say

I will instruct safety boat to go and inform culprit they have been protested, would they at their earliest opportunity do their turns, if they dispute this it will have to go to a protest hearing.

As described, there is necessarily some delay between the race officer instructing the safety boat and the invitation ‘at their earliest opportunity do their turns’.

As a result of this delay, any turns taken  by a boat will not be a turns penalty taken in accordance with rule 44.2, which requires the penalty to be taken ‘as soon after the incident as possible’.

So the race officer is actually ‘plea-bargaining’ with the competitor (in the middle of the race), offering not to withhold a protest if the competitor takes turns that do not comply with rule 44.2.

Race officers have no business:

  • Telling competitors how to race their race, whether to take penalty turns etc:  and
  • Definitely not to be bargaining with competitors.

423zero later said

Originally posted by 423zero

Confined to touching a Mark or incorrect course, anything else is up to racers and protest committee.

This may be so, but it is quite inconsistent with what was described previously.

And I might point out that the penalty for touching a mark is a one turn penalty, not ‘turns’, and a turns penalty is not applicable for a breach of rule 28.

423zero has also posted about the process

Originally posted by 423zero

…racers protest infringements RC also protest infrigements, RC then adjudicate.

Originally posted by 423zero

No need for protest committee, inform miscreant boat that they have broken a rule and need to do penalty, only if they disagree do you need to recourse to a protest committee.

As others have pointed out, it is no part of the race committee’s role to adjudicate protests.  That is the job of an independent protest committee.

This is pretty outrageous.  People need to read Part 5 a bit more carefully.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 17 at 10:31pm

Various posts by 423zero raise two different issues:

Whether sailing racing should be ‘policed’ or ‘controlled’ by race officials;  and

Whether some practices described by 423zero are good practices.

I’d like to sum up the first issue in this post, then address the second in another post.

Sailing is often proudly said to be a self-policing sport.

43zero has posted

Originally posted by 423zero

…still not convinced self policing will work on it's own. ,,,

Originally posted by 423zero

…I have seen nothing to convince me on the water policing is wrong, ,,,

I don’t know whether this will convince 423zero, who seems determined not to be convinced, but I’ll have a go.

I have pointed out that:

  • According to the rules, cases, manuals and policies that govern the sport, sailing is not a ‘refereed’ game where officials control the game.  Even in the umpired disciplines (Match Racing, Team Racing, Umpired Fleet Racing), the umpiring process normally requires competitors, to ask the umpires for a decision.
  • If you change the game to a ‘refereed’ or ‘policed’ game, you change the game itself, IMHO for the worse. If you move towards a 'refereed' game, you will move competitors towards a 'play to the whistle' or 'if the referee doesn't see it it's not a foul' mentality which is exactly contrary to the RRS Basic Principle Sportsmanship and the Rules.
  • If race officials do exercise authority to control the game then they will be attracting liability for any harm or accidents that happen and will make rule 4 useless.
  • Race officials are not responsible for enforcing the rules.  The primary responsibility for enforcing the rules lies with the competitors.
  • Race management policies and guidance suggest that the race officials should not normally protest a competitor, and should only protest a boat for a blatant breach of the rules that affects the fairness of a race.

I just find the notion of ‘policing’ the game I love by officials repugnant,  It is not necessary for the game to be played for it to be ‘controlled’ by officials.  That’s how it’s designed.

Admittedly, this whole issue arose in the context of exceptional measures that might be taken in response to observed significant disregard of the rules by groups of competitors.  It may be that an organising authority or race committee might decide that intervention by race officials was necessary and justified.  This might include the race committee exercising its power to protest competitors somewhat more widely than just for blatant breaches affecting fairness.  I don’t think this extends to:

  • Action, such as disqualifying boats, berating competitors or directing them to take on-water penalties:  the power of the race committee is to protest a boat:  no more;
  • Unilateral action by one race officer if it is not supported by a clear decision or direction by the organising authority or race committee.

In fairness, 423zero has also said

Originally posted by 423zero

…Perhaps a balance between the two extremes, no control at all, to totally controlled racing.

Tailor response to match severity of problems, reducing response when appropriate. 

I would certainly agree that a balanced and tailored response to rules non-compliance is sensible, and very much agree that it should be reduced when the problem is solved.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote ohFFsake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 17 at 9:54am
Originally posted by Brass

Originally posted by Rupert

But there are other cases where the boat simply runs the mark down, or rolls round it. If the boat doesn't do anything in those situations, and the only witness is the safety boat driver watching the gybe mark, should there be a protest?

There used to be a Q&A that talked about a rules breach that it was possible that no other boat saw (so that it was not possible for a boat to protest), as being a case that justified a race committee protest.  Maybe this would be one of those cases.
I still have the issue that this seems fundamentally unfair, for a reason I touched on in an earlier post.

The RC or a safety boat crew "may" see something another boat may not see, but that's not their primary duty - it's just something they may happen to do during a quiet moment.

They both have clearly defined roles, and it is reasonable to assume that most of the time they will be busy performing those duties and not observing the conduct of the boats racing. So boat A touches the mark and is penalised, but boats B and C get away with it as the RO was busy doing his primary job.

A jury boat is different - they have no other purpose and can devote their full attention to being as fair and even handed as possible.

And that's before we even consider the detrimental effect of safety crews becoming pre-occupied with initiating protests and visiting "miscreants" when they really ought to be keeping watch for sailors requiring assistance...?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rupert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 17 at 7:58am
Thanks Brass.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 17 at 11:12pm
Originally posted by Rupert

There are occasions where a boat "may" have touched a mark, or "maybe" it was just their bow wave moving it? In these cases, I think a race committee would be unwise to intervene.

I strongly agree.

But there are other cases where the boat simply runs the mark down, or rolls round it. If the boat doesn't do anything in those situations, and the only witness is the safety boat driver watching the gybe mark, should there be a protest?

There used to be a Q&A that talked about a rules breach that it was possible that no other boat saw (so that it was not possible for a boat to protest), as being a case that justified a race committee protest.  Maybe this would be one of those cases.

And if there is only one witness, and the sailor says that he didn't hit it, should the protest be upheld?

That would depend on the quality, content and overall credibility of the evidence.

I'd be expecting the protestee to be asking some probing questions about where the mark-boat was positioned, how far it was from the mark, did the mark-boat have a clear sight-line into the gap, how long the mark-boat observed the protestee boat, what exactly the mark-boat saw etc etc.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sargesail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 17 at 4:53pm
Ah must be your original use of 'turns,' implying boat on boat rather than mark touch which confused me:

'When I am OOD if I see something I send boat over if they don't do their turns or they miss a mark'

For me thought that's really as bad.  The whole judgement on mark hitting thing, and the complications of being compelled to do so by a keep clear boat's actions....mean that I think this is just wrong.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 423zero Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 17 at 4:30pm
Sargesail,
Confined to touching a Mark or incorrect course, anything else is up to racers and protest committee.
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