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Rule 28 - Sailing the Course RC Protests

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Post Options Post Options   Quote sargesail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Rule 28 - Sailing the Course RC Protests
    Posted: 23 Oct 17 at 9:44am
I thought I'd start a separate topic rather than stay off topic in the Rules Observance area.

Some of the discussion there about RC protests got me thinking about this one.

The question that I want to ask is: should a boat be able to rely on the RC to take action where it (the  RC) knows that another boat has not sailed the correct course?

It seems to me that this is the one area where self-policing is really not going to work, because the boat sailing the wrong course may be so far ahead, or behind, that it is not possible for another boat to see it.  This is especially so in handicap racing.

I hate the common practice of simply scoring boats DNF for a Rule 28 infringement rather than protesting them.  We suffered from this in an event a couple of years ago.  The Patrol Boat 'saw' us pass the wrong, inshore and tidally favoured side of a mark.  What it did not see, before that, was us pass the mark on the correct side, and then fluff our tack so badly that the tide took us well back behind the mark on that wrong side.  I didn't have the energy to redress it on that occasion.

Similarly friends of ours were scored 'DNF' on the opening day of a Nationals.  They assumed that they were one of a group of boats also scored as DNF, but actually OCS.  It was only on the last day when scoring codes were corrected and the other boats were scored OCS, leaving them as DNF, that they realised that something else had taken place.  They asked and were told that the Patrol Boat crew had observed them bear away before rounding the spreader mark.  Which was ironic given that they had done turns in the boat free area beneath the fleet sailing across to the spreader....and then sailed on.

Clearly in both cases even a simple discussion in the dinghy park might have resolved things, but failing that a protest would have given them a fair say.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Do Different Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 17 at 10:10am
Doubtless I am wrong. However I have always considered course infringements when on patrol to be not my place to police, save that is for noting what I saw but being well aware that I may not have seen the whole picture or sequence. I would not take it upon myself to write off somebody's race although I would recount my observations as part of wider conversations. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Noah Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 17 at 10:21am
Does the RC have the authority to score a boat as DNF without a protest hearing, unless the boat didn't cross the finish line (within the time limit)?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rupert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 17 at 10:22am
As a sailor, letting a fellow competitor know (usually with a small delay, depending upon whether the competitor should have known better) that they have rounded a mark the wrong way, or are heading in the wrong direction, is common place. To me, it shows good sportsmanship. After all, I'm out there to have a good race.
However, is that ever the place of a safety boat crew? The only times I've done it are either for beginners, or where the RO has changed things last minute and I'm making sure the whole fleet knows, if communication has been poor.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sam.Spoons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 17 at 10:25am
I don't think so, they should protest the 'offending' boat I believe.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 423zero Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 17 at 10:40am
Sam Spoons +1
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 17 at 10:45am
Originally posted by sargesail

should a boat be able to rely on the RC to take action


A boat cannot *rely* on the RC to take action because the RC is not required to do so.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sargesail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 17 at 11:06am
Originally posted by JimC

Originally posted by sargesail

should a boat be able to rely on the RC to take action


A boat cannot *rely* on the RC to take action because the RC is not required to do so.

I guess that's where I'm going with this....

We seem to have a situation where in some clubs it is accepted practice for the RC to police Rule 28 without recourse to the procedures in RRS....ie not through the protest procedure.

Yet on the other hand there is no obligation on the RC to take action even when it is aware of an infringement of Rule 28.

I knew what the RRS said when I asked the question.  As I said it feels to me as if this is one area where self-policing doesn't answer the mail.  Its perhaps because of this that RCs incorrectly take the DNF approach to Rule 28 infringements?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rupert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 17 at 11:35am
Seems like a good area for arbitration and a retirement by the wrong course boat if they realise, when shown, where they went wrong. Otherwise, it would need to go to a full protest.

I have to admit that a part of me feels that if a boat hasn't sailed the same course as everyone else, they haven't actually completed the race, so marking them as not finished makes sense. This approach simply doesn't allow for human error or accountability, though, whereas a more official approach does.

One of our more common errors is the race officer putting a board in the wrong way round on the race hut. Some will round the way they were expecting from the course map, others the way it is on the start hut (which is what the SIs say), even though it may involve sailing 270 degrees. Abandoning races is unpopular, so often the first lap gaffs are ignored and by second lap the fleet will usually have reached agreement on what to do. Can't remember this ever coming to a protest. Usually, it is noticed before the start and the red faced RO will flip it over just in time, with apologies.
The above makes it sound like it happens every week... It doesn't, really!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Eisvogel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 17 at 11:42am
Originally posted by Rupert

One of our more common errors is the race officer putting a board in the wrong way round on the race hut. Some will round the way they were expecting from the course map, others the way it is on the start hut (which is what the SIs say)

For exactly that reason we no longer put the course on our sign-up sheets. The course is displayed on the race box, nowhere else.

The most common problem we have with course sailed is people missing the gate in an average lap race. Most ROs now make the gate wide enough (and position it close to the leeward mark)  so that it is really hard to miss, though it occasionally still happens. But then, racers will still finish, only they will have sailed fewer laps...
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