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Hitting a moored boat. maybe.

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    Posted: 13 May 21 at 2:38pm
We ran a race last night and all went well. On the drive home we had a message from a local saying a boat(class and sail number given) hit his moored boat and another moored boat. We've dealt with the issue of his boat being hit, but from a racing rules perspective where do we go? we have a local by law in our sailing instructions that says if you hit a boat you must retire

"22.1 Moored Boats: Any boat, even if capsized, whose hull or equipment touches a moored yacht (excluding her mooring buoy) shall retire immediately unless she claims that she was wrongfully compelled to touch it by another yacht, in which case she shall protest. Fending off by crew or helm is Permitted."


but the boat in question says it didn't happen? its a bit of a he said, she said situation?

Has anyone had anything similar?



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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 May 21 at 2:57pm
Fundamentally a he said/she said is like any other protest. You hold a hearing, the jury hears the evidence, they work out what they think really happened and if they are comfortably satisfied a rule was broken they issue a penalty.

What's complicated about this is not that aspect, but the evidence/protestor situation. A random boat owner can't protest, they are not a competitor. The race committee can protest a boat, but it must be within the time limit, which is probably gone.

If a competitor may have lied about hitting/not hitting a moored boat that's surely a rule 69 situation. Its also arguably pretty serious for the average club. RRS 69 procedure is different, and on receiving a report, which presumably you have, the PC/jury needs to decide whether to hold a hearing.


Edited by JimC - 13 May 21 at 3:18pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 May 21 at 10:40pm
Couple of things

Originally posted by JimC

Fundamentally a he said/she said is like any other protest. You hold a hearing, the jury hears the evidence, they work out what they think really happened and if they are comfortably satisfied a rule was broken they issue a penalty.

The standard of proof for ordinary protests is not 'comfortably satisfied':  that's for rule 69 hearings.

The 2021 rules, in rule 64.1(a) now expressly provides that the standard of proof is balance of probabilities.

A protest committee shall make its decision based on a balance of probabilities, unless provided for otherwise in the rule alleged to have been broken.
 
What's complicated about this is not that aspect, but the evidence/protestor situation. A random boat owner can't protest, they are not a competitor.

Why ever not?

Rule 60.1 says:

A boat may ... protest another boat ...

Definitions that Are Not Definitions, RRS Introduction Terminology defines boat as

A sailboat and the crew on board

There's nothing there about being a 'competitor' or being entered in an event or even about being a member of a club.

Somebody might raise an argument that if there was nobody on board the boat, then there is no natural person who was 'crew on board' so no natural person exists who can protest.  I think the better construction would be that it is the boat itself that makes the protest, and that the lack of crew on board is not a bar to validity.

A protest by the moored boat, however, may run into validity problems, either with Informing the Protestee (rule 61.1), or Protest Time Limit (rule 61.3)

It appears from the OP special SI that the club contemplates moored boats to be within the racing area, so the protest will concern an 'incident in the racing area' and would normally require a hail of 'protest' and, if necessary display of a red flag, unless there was serious damage (rule 61.1).  There probably wasn't a hail and flag.

The written protest by a boat has to be delivered to the race office within the protest time limit (unless this time is extended by the protest committee for good reason) (rule 61.3).  If the first thing heard was a telephone call while driving home, this might be problematical.

These problems with a protest by the boat may be overcome by the Race Committee taking charge of the protest.

The race committee can protest a boat, but it must be within the time limit, which is probably gone.

The protest time limit only applies to protests by the race committee for incidents that the race committee observed in the racing area.  Other protests by the race committee shall be delivered no later than the committee receives the relevant information, and this, again, may be extended by the protest committee for good reason (rule 61.3)  I think receiving the report while driving home after a race would be a good reason for extension.

The race committee, of course must inform the protestee in accordance with rule 61.1, which requires, again, for an incident other than one observed by the race committee in the racing area, as soon as reasonably possible.

If a competitor may have lied about hitting/not hitting a moored boat that's surely a rule 69 situation. Its also arguably pretty serious for the average club. RRS 69 procedure is different, and on receiving a report, which presumably you have, the PC/jury needs to decide whether to hold a hearing.

Quite right  

But a protest committee could not possibly be comfortably satisfied that a competitor had lied about hitting a boat unless it was first satisfied, at least on balance of probabilities that the boat actually had hit the moored boat.

A protest committee would be very unwise to call a rule 69 hearing on the basis of the OP information alone.

My preference would be for the race committee to protest the boat for breaking the SI, and see how that pans out, then consider rule 69 action.

Another approach would be to report the incident to the protest committee with a view to the protest committee appointing an investigator in accordance with rule 69.2(c).

A protest committee might consider hitting a moored boat and not attempting to get in touch with the owner to be a breach of good manners (rule 69.1(b)(1) or, indeed conduct bring the sport into disrepute with the neighbours (rule 69.1(b)(2)).

I think a protest committee should be cautious about harshly penalising a competitor for a hasty denial (not repeated) made in the heat of the moment in response to an allegation.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 21 at 9:59am
Originally posted by Brass

There's nothing there about being a 'competitor' or being entered in an event or even about being a member of a club.

I was thinking on the lines of the moored boat being a cruising craft whose owner has no connection with the RRS and is not a member of a club or has in any way signed up to the eventual authority of World sailing in the way a racing sailor has. My thinking was that would make it inappropriate for them to be expected to comply with the requirements of the RRS as requires protests.

Originally posted by Brass

receiving the report while driving home after a race would be a good reason for extension.

Indeed, but perhaps consulting the internet for hours or days might be pushing it a bit! I figured the clock started when the phone call was received or at least when the chap got out of the car at home.

Originally posted by Brass

Another approach would be to report the incident to the protest committee with a view to the protest committee appointing an investigator...

That seemed to me the best course of action.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 21 at 12:37pm
Originally posted by JimC

Originally posted by Brass

There's nothing there about being a 'competitor' or being entered in an event or even about being a member of a club.

I was thinking on the lines of the moored boat being a cruising craft whose owner has no connection with the RRS and is not a member of a club or has in any way signed up to the eventual authority of World sailing in the way a racing sailor has. My thinking was that would make it inappropriate for them to be expected to comply with the requirements of the RRS as requires protests.

That's exactly my point:  a cruising boat, not a member of any club is entitled to protest.

You're quite right:  odds are that she won't dot the i's and cross the t's with respect to validity.

Now, if the moored boat was a motor boat .....

Originally posted by Brass

receiving the report while driving home after a race would be a good reason for extension.

Indeed, but perhaps consulting the internet for hours or days might be pushing it a bit! I figured the clock started when the phone call was received or at least when the chap got out of the car at home.

Agree, but once the 'afternoon of the race' has gone past I'm inclined to be generous about as soon as reasonably possible.  There's no point in shoving a protest form under the door of an empty Sailing Office at 08:00am on a Sunday morning.  For some club keelboat races (particularly twilights, we are commonly setting the protest time limit as 10:00am on next working day.  

Originally posted by Brass

Another approach would be to report the incident to the protest committee with a view to the protest committee appointing an investigator...

That seemed to me the best course of action.

While I've said often enough that people should not be unnecessarily shy of using rule 69, my preference would be to deal with this as an ordinary protest if possible.

 
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