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Rule 69 What are the Limits - Intimidation

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    Posted: 03 Jun 12 at 10:41pm
In a previous topic, Gordon asked three questions, which posts in that topic, possibly influenced by my attempts to set out my personal ground rules, drifted down a narrow path concerning only foul language.
Originally posted by gordon

In recent months I have been involved in several rule 69 hearings involving complaints about the use of bad or insulting language on the water.
[Gordons' questions were:]
1. Where do you all think the limit should be?
2. Have standards of what is acceptable changed?
3. When do you think it appropriate that sanctions be imposed?
 
I would like to start discussion about some ideas of when intimidation is, and is not acceptable.
 

Intimidation - Introduction

Racing sailing is a competitive sport and the ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) assume competitors of equal psychological and emotional capacity and resilience.  If there are special considerations for special types of competitors, then add to or change the rules, using the mechanisms they provide.

Let me say, yet again, that I am all for clubs and organising authorities making their venues and events 'family friendly' or 'child appropriate', by means of clearly written rules in their NOR or SI.  What I am trying to do is to establish, on a basis of logic, and objectivity, some ground-rules to use, in the absence of special rules, if rule 69 allegations arise.

Seeking and attaining mental and psychological dominance over one's competitors is a normal and natural part of any serious sporting competition. That is to say that ‘intimidating’ one’s competitors is a normal part of playing the game.   This proposition is always qualified in that the pursuit of such mental advantage must be strictly within the written, and possibly, some unwritten rules of the game.

I think that, when you analyse the issues, the bounds of what is permissible, with some exceptions like Cage Fighting or Rugby Union scrums, come out to be pretty narrow, but the point is that psychological contest and ‘intimidation’, within those bounds, is not, inherently, unsporting or against the rules.

Note that psychological attacks and intimidation, when they do fall beyond the reasonable boundaries will be fundamentally unsporting, and thus are likely to break rule 2 Fair Sailing, and, if sufficiently extreme, attract further sanctions under rule 69 Gross Misconduct.

What mental tactics, then, can we see are within, and outside the boundaries?

What is within the rules?

There is nothing unsporting about sailing hard and close, pressing home the advantage of a starboard tack, luffing suddenly (but while still giving room to keep clear) to protect one’s wind, hailing loud and long when one is in the right, or putting a well-executed slam dunk or lee bow on a competitor.

Applying hard and fair sailing tactics like these may very well ‘intimidate’ other competitors into giving one a wide berth, and not, themselves attempting aggressive tactics, but they are perfectly fair tactics within the rules.  Applying hard and fair sailing tactics to less experienced sailors, junior competitors, or women sailors remains not less within the rules and remains fair sailing, always bearing in mind that a protest committee might have quite expansive views of reasonable apprehension of contact (Case 50), or reasonable possibility of avoiding contact (rule 14), where inexperienced sailors are subjected to ‘hard close racing’.

What is outside the rules?

Sailing a boat so as to deliberately contact and cause damage to another boat is clearly unsporting.  This requires deliberate intent.  Where a ‘hard tactics’ move like a hard luff, or a close lee-bow fails, through poor judgement or execution, that is not unsporting:  the boat has merely broken the relevant Part 2 When Boats Meet rule.

Hailing another boat to enforce or protect your own rights is clearly not unsporting, but hailing when the hailing has the effect of intimidating the other boat into giving up, or not enforcing, or not taking advantage of her rights or entitlements, is pretty clearly unsporting.

What if a hail involves out and out threats, either of personal violence or damage to a boat?  Examples might be ‘I’ll punch your lights out’ or ‘I’ll cut your boat in half’.  To the extent that such threats are seriously meant and seriously understood, and not just ‘all wind’ (example for Harry Potter fans:  “I’ll kill that Mundungus Fletcher”), then they are intimidatory and unsporting.  They are pretty clearly also, if seriously meant, a gross breach of good manners.

Likewise, threatening gestures and actual assault, on the water or within a competition venue, if seriously meant, are both unsporting and bad manners.

Further discussion welcome.



Edited by Brass - 04 Jun 12 at 2:47pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 12 at 11:49pm
Anything deliberately misleading can be added to the list I think. Hail for ROW when not having it would be a good example. There's of course an example in the case book.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jun 12 at 12:02am
Originally posted by JimC

Anything deliberately misleading can be added to the list I think. Hail for ROW when not having it would be a good example. There's of course an example in the case book.
 
Please DON'T add it to the list.
 
Deception is NOT the same as Intimidation.
 
[Added at later Edit]
 
I think the following categories of verbal action, which of course, in practice might be mixed up together in one incicent, might be useful:
  • Foul language (discussed in Gordon's original topic),
  • Abuse,
  • [real] Threatening
  • Intimidation (focus of this topic)
  • Deception
  • Distraction

Maybe a fresh topic for Abuse, Threats, Deception and Distraction might be useful?



Edited by Brass - 04 Jun 12 at 2:36pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rupert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jun 12 at 9:51am
Calling starboard at an inexperienced sailor when you are in fact on port is both deception and intimidation - it used to happen where I learned to sail, hailed from larger boats that never had any intention of keeping clear.

Not quite sure why you lump women sailors in with inexperienced and juniors (though the junior bit is only really needed if inexperienced anyway). You are quite right that there should be no difference in the rules, but if we want to encourage people to not only start racing, but to continue, experinced racers need to take inexperience into account, if for no other reason than the newcomer will have no idea what the racer is doing, and will likely react in unlikely ways. Might be very slow for the experienced boat, getting tangled with a learner.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gordon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jun 12 at 10:48am
We had a case in schools team racing event recently. One boat was 6 boat lengths astern and slightly to windward. The helmsman called repeatedly "Don't tack!" when it was clear that there was ample space to tack. The umpire black-flagged him (sent to a hearing after race). This was on the first beat. Same boat did same thing on last beat and picked up another black flag from another umpire.

Team was given a half race penalty - which meant they did not qualify for Schools Nationals!

"Deliberately misleading" is already in the rules - ISAF Case 47.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jun 12 at 11:38am
Originally posted by Brass

Deception is NOT the same as Intimidation.


'Fraid I don't agree: they are heavily overlapping aspects of a similar form of cheating: both intended to gain an advantage which is not permitted by the rules by taking advantage over another competitor who for one reason or another is not fully aware of their rights.

Gordon's post above is an example really: it was both deception - claiming there was no room when there clearly as - and intimidation - repeated loud calls intended to browbeat the other skipper.

I think they're also both rule 2 (at least) offences and should be treated similarly harshly by PCs.

Edited by JimC - 04 Jun 12 at 11:45am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Presuming Ed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jun 12 at 11:41am
Definition of intimidation: frighten or overawe (someone), especially in order to make them do what one wants:

To me, the fundamental principle, rule 2, & case 73 indicate that the standards to which we should aspire are more towards those of golf than those of motor racing (deliberately crashing). 

The only legal way of making the opposition do what one wants them to do is to legally place your boat in such a position that it prevents them from manoeuvring as they wish. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jun 12 at 3:11pm
Originally posted by Rupert

Calling starboard at an inexperienced sailor when you are in fact on port is both deception and intimidation - it used to happen where I learned to sail, hailed from larger boats that never had any intention of keeping clear.

Not quite sure why you lump women sailors in with inexperienced and juniors (though the junior bit is only really needed if inexperienced anyway). You are quite right that there should be no difference in the rules, but if we want to encourage people to not only start racing, but to continue, experinced racers need to take inexperience into account, if for no other reason than the newcomer will have no idea what the racer is doing, and will likely react in unlikely ways. Might be very slow for the experienced boat, getting tangled with a learner.
 
Deception and Intimidation can occur in the same incident, but I think they are conceptually different:  you can have decpetion without intimidation and intimidation without decpetion.
 
I mentioned women in the paragraph about some instances when intimidation does NOT occur, because I think it is likely that some people, out of a sense of misplaced 'chivalry' would suggest that women deserve special consideration.
 
I understand your motives about encouraging (or avoiding discouraging) beginners. and I would like to think that at a club level it could be accomplished either by special rules, with distinguishing marks or like the Opti Green Fleets, but I think it's important to understand that under the 'plain vanilla' rules, all competitors are equal.
 
Originally posted by JimC

Originally posted by Brass

Deception is NOT the same as Intimidation.

'Fraid I don't agree: they are heavily overlapping aspects of a similar form of cheating: both intended to gain an advantage which is not permitted by the rules by taking advantage over another competitor who for one reason or another is not fully aware of their rights.

Gordon's post above is an example really: it was both deception - claiming there was no room when there clearly as - and intimidation - repeated loud calls intended to browbeat the other skipper.

I think they're also both rule 2 (at least) offences and should be treated similarly harshly by PCs
I wish you hadn't brought up the 'C' word.  It connotes, at least to my mind, a high level of knowing intentionality, which I think in the majority of loud mouthed intimidation cases isn't really there, and very likely cannot be proved to be there.  I prefer to keep the concept of cheating for the clearly intentional incidents, like measurement cheating, or tampering with another boat.
 
I agree that Deception and Intimidation can occur in the same incident, and often do, as Gordon's example illustrates, but I think they are conceptually different: you can have decpetion without intimidation and intimidation without decpetion.
 
I cannot see why rule 2 breaches should be treated any ,more 'harshly' by protest committees, than the DNE for which the rule provides.  What am trying to do (others may differ) is to hose down the emotion and hysteria that rule 69 discussion seems to provoke.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jun 12 at 3:35pm
Originally posted by Presuming Ed

Definition of intimidation: frighten or overawe (someone), especially in order to make them do what one wants:

To me, the fundamental principle, rule 2, & case 73 indicate that the standards to which we should aspire are more towards those of golf than those of motor racing (deliberately crashing). 

The only legal way of making the opposition do what one wants them to do is to legally place your boat in such a position that it prevents them from manoeuvring as they wish. 
Thanks for reminding us of the definition.
 
I have always been a little sceptical, if not cynical, about all the golf stuff.  Thinking about it, however, I see that golf is different from most other sports, in that in the game-play of golf, there is no dynamic interaction between competitors (let alone contact <g>), and that golf goes one step beyond sailing in that not only is it self-policing, but self-scoring, so that any rule breach that it not reflected with the appropriate penalty strokes, has to be either through ignorance (when there was plenty of time to consider, or pull out the rule book if necessary) or deliberate cheating.  Most other sports, including sailing, because of the dynamic interaction feature, don't allow for that.
 
That said, I agree that it would be nice if we tended towards the 'golf' standard, rather than the motor-racing standard.  It's an enourmous pity that ISAF and their TV advisors would prefer to move the sport towards the motor-racing crash and burn model.
 
I know that we all have our favourite phrases in the rules:  mine in rule 2 is 'in compliance with recognized principles ... penalized ... only if it is clearly established that these principles have been violated.'  I also think that Case 73 is not a very broad case:  it gives one example of when unsporting intent can be inferred.
 
I'm not sure about your 'place your boat alongside that of the enemy' approach.  What about a properly used 'tack or cross' option:  meaning you may duck me or I will legally put a lee-bow on you?  That's sort of one step prior to putting your boat in a position to inconvenience the competiton.  Any argument that it's not a fair tactic?


Edited by Brass - 04 Jun 12 at 3:44pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jun 12 at 3:39pm
Originally posted by gordon

We had a case in schools team racing event recently. One boat was 6 boat lengths astern and slightly to windward. The helmsman called repeatedly "Don't tack!" when it was clear that there was ample space to tack. The umpire black-flagged him (sent to a hearing after race). This was on the first beat. Same boat did same thing on last beat and picked up another black flag from another umpire.

Team was given a half race penalty - which meant they did not qualify for Schools Nationals!

"Deliberately misleading" is already in the rules - ISAF Case 47.
Hi Gordon, welcome back to your own thread.
 
I was wondering if you were going to give us any details about your several recent cases.
 
Are there any more examples that you think might be enlightening?
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