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Rule 28.1 protest

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chrisarnell1 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote chrisarnell1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Rule 28.1 protest
    Posted: 12 Oct 11 at 2:16pm
Interesting incident from the weekend's racing. No protest lodged but would appreciate your thoughts.

Cruiser race at sea.
Race officer selects a course using fixed marks. Writes it on a blackboard before start sequence and additionally relays course details to competing yachts via VHF (standard practice)

Boat A sails the course, leaving all marks to port, and finishes the race

Boat B sails the course leaving some marks to starboard, finishes the race and asks Boat A if it will retire, having incorrectly sailed the course.

Boat A has a conversation with the PRO - after the race - and decides NOT to retire.
The PRO does not protest either boat A or B and takes no further action.

Boat B (and others) write to class captain after the race, complaining about the alleged rule infringement by boat A. Nobody protested boat A at the time because they believed that Boat A would retire, having realised his "mistake"

Boat A's explanation for leaving all marks to port is that the marks were displayed on the committee boat but NOT the side on which each mark was to be left.
Boat A asked the Race Officer what side to leave each mark and believes he was told "port"
Boat A did not hear the subsequent VHF message that appears to have specified starboard roundings for some marks.

It is now 48 hours since the incident - what action should be taken?

A couple of options come to mind.

1/ Allow the results to stand - refuse to accept protests at this time - no boat hailed "protest" or raised a protest flag at the time
2/ Allow a protest against boat A to be heard under rule 28.1 (leaving marks on wrong side)
3/ Allow a redress hearing by Boat A (claiming an improper action by the race committee under rule 27.1)
4/ Abandon the race as  not all boats sailed the same course.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote r2d2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 11 at 2:49pm
well option 2 doesn't seem to be a realistc option because, as you said, there was no protest
it also sounds as though it is too late for a redress hearing - someone would need to ask the prtest cttee to extend the time limits for protests / redress hearings.  Interestingly, if they did so they might then be the ones who were accused of being to blame so it might not be in their interests

Edited by r2d2 - 12 Oct 11 at 3:12pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote chrisarnell1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 11 at 2:55pm
Knowing that Boat A hasn't retired, boats B,C and so on are now feeling aggrieved and would probably lodge a protest if allowed to.

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JimC View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 11 at 3:33pm
Well, bearing in mind its a cruiser race at sea, presumably with longish legs and marks well apart from each other, what sort of gains did boat A make from the incorrect mark roundings?

My gut feeling is that a protest would/should be slung out because the B, C did not inform A of their intention to protest "at the first reasonable opportunity" and carry on and log the protest within the time limit.

If there was a protest hearing then a redress hearing would surely follow. If the RC did not notify marks as required in RRS/SIs there's a good chance a redress hearing would succeed. If boat A actually sailed the same length course as everyone else bar a foot or three in mark roundings reinstatement in finishing place might well be the best redress.

I cannot see that abandonment would be fair to all competitors.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jeffers Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 11 at 3:49pm
Remember it is not down to the RO to ensure all boats sail the correct course. In this case he probably could not see all the marks if the legs were long.
 
I believe most clubs have a declaration that you sign to say you will sail in accordance with the rules and some make you sign off. This declaration includes that you will sail the course correctly.
 
If the RO did not specify which side the marks were to be left to then he is at fault especially of the course is open to interpretation (didnt we have a thread on this a while back?).
 
What SHOULD have happened is that boats B and C should have informed boat A of their intention to protest as they did not believe Boat A had sailed to correct course and then lodged the protest within the time limit. If this was done when all parties were ashore (as this was the first opportunity) then maybe the 'chat' from the RO could also have taken place with the lodging of the protest made after if A decided to not retire.
 
As we are now outside of the time limit then not much can be done aside from the RO being made to include the side a mark should be left to when he issues the course that way the correct course can be in no doubt.
 
In this case as the side was not specified if A was DSQ'd by the PC then they could lodge an appeal and would likely win it.
 
The best thing here is don't leave it to chance and assume the other boat will do what you view to be the right thing as their opinion is very likely to differ from your own (this is why we have the protest procedure in the first place). Informing the other party and filling out the form takes a couple of minutes and it can always be destroyed if it is not required and used if 'mediation' does not provide a satisfactory outcome.
 
So in my opinion option 1 is really the only option. I do not believe the race can be abandoned as it has been completed and this is not fair unless all competitors in it agree to drop it from the series.


Edited by jeffers - 12 Oct 11 at 3:53pm
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patj View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote patj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 11 at 7:15pm
If there's a course on a blackboard and a course on the committee boat, the club should have some ruling as to which one is the "master" in case of differences or changing by the RO at the last minute. The club badly needs to review its race equipment and ensure that the race officer has all that is needed to correctly display a course including port/starboard.
I've had to improvise with paper slotted into the committee boat board and a scribbled number but there's always a P or S.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rupert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 11 at 8:46pm
It is kind of basic, really, stating which way to go round marks. If boat A was told by the RO which way to go and then did so, I can't really see how it is to blame, even if other boats were told different, unless it states in the sailing instructions that the course shall be taken from the VHF broadcast.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ASok Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Oct 11 at 2:13pm
Originally posted by JimC

Well, bearing in mind its a cruiser race at sea, presumably with longish legs and marks well apart from each other, what sort of gains did boat A make from the incorrect mark roundings? 

 
The gains could be huge. Extreme example could be racing from Plymouth to Falmouth and using the lighthouse as a mark. Big difference going inside or outside it!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gordon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Oct 11 at 5:32pm
From a procedural pint of view - if protest time limit is passed, and there is no good reason to extend the limit then the incident is closed.


Question 1 - Do the SIs allow for verbal changes to the course over the VHF? If they don't then what was written on blackboard is the course.

Question2 - At what time, relative to the start signals, did the RO give details of course over the VHF?

Question 3 Why did other boats not protest?
Writing to the Class Captain is somewhat ungentlemanly, especially when authors of the letter couldn't be bothered to protest. Basically, the letter writers are accusing the crew of A of being cheats. I can hear the sound of lawyers rubbing their hands in glee!

Question 4 If RO thought there was a problem why did he not protest?

In order to avoid this problem next time -

1. write course out ON PAPER, post one copy on notice board, file a copy for future record and, if possible, make copies available to competitors. Problem with blackboards is that they get rubbed out and there is no permanent record of course set.

2 If SIs allow course changes by VHF (not necessarily a good idea) then make sure that a recording is made of any message, time of message is logged and try and get some confirmation that message has been received.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote r2d2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Oct 11 at 7:41pm
1b. make a check to ensure that with the specified sequence of port and starboard mark roundings, the course actually makes sense and is not ambiguous
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