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Justthecrew has neatly illustrated why it is essential that the Race Committee does not have the right, in the RRS, to disqualify a boat that it believes may not have sailed the correct course. The race committee cannot assume either that the boat did, or did not, sail the course. It may also be the case that the course that the Race Committee intended the fleet to sail is not actually the course that is set out in the sailing instructions.

Once a boat has crossed the finish line they have finished (finish meaning to cross the finishing line in the direction of the course from the next mark). Nothing in the RRS definition of the term finish implies that it is necessary to have sailed the course in order to finish, nor to have sailed the required number of laps. Sailing the course is dealt with by rule 28. When a start/finish gate is used the gate becomes the finish line when the Race Committee engages the finish procedure (usually signalled by displaying a blue flag).

When a boat crosses the finish line the race committee is obliged to record their finishing position. If the boat crosses the line twice then the race committee should record both finishes. If the reason for crossing the line twice is anything other than correcting an error made by the boat on the finishing line (for instance sailing another lap) then the race committee may not assume that it is the second time that the boat finishes is the correct finish time. Only the protest committee may do so.

The Race Committee can only disqualify a boat for not starting correctly, or who does not finish.

When a Race Committee believes that a competitor has not sailed the correct course they should protest, and both the boat and the race committee should present their evidence before a protest committee. If it is established that the boat did not sail the required course then she will be disqualified under rule 28.1.

To respond to Colin’s points:

1. I may have been critical but I finished my posting by volunteering to assist in anyway possible.

I can understand that one comment might have upset members of the organising group. I apologise for any upset caused. I will therefore rephrase my comment ” the NOR does not comply with the recommendations of the international governing body of our sport, and contains information that said governing body recommends should not be included in a document that constitutes part of the rules under which the competition will be run”. A NOR must conform to rule J1 (see RRS 89.2), and it is recommended to follow Appendix K NOR Guide.

Thankfully, the Dinghy Week NOR is not the NOR for the Wayfarer Nationals, indeed there is no mention of the Wayfarer Class in that document.

2. Yes, if a competitor was convinced that they did not sail the correct course they should have retired. I suspect that at least some competitors are convinced that they DID sail the right course, which is the course as it was written, not necessarily the course that the race committee intended. Unfortunately, it would seem that no protest hearing was held. If a protest committee established that a competitor knew that they had sailed the wrong course and did not retire then that is an infringement of both the Basic Principle of the rules and rule 2, the penalty for which is a non excludable disqualification. The PC could also consider opening a rule 69 “Gross Misconduct” hearing.

My main point in all this is that if the Race Committee is unwilling to protest boats that do not sail through the start/finish gate on each lap then it is preferable not to include this requirement in the SIs.