Latest News: Forums Racing to protest or not to protest – letter in Wayfarer News

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  • #7564

    The Race Committee does not have the right, under the Racing Rules, to disqualify a boat for not sailing the course corrrectly( see RRS A5). The boat is entitled to a hearing, the race committee must protest, and if the protest committee establishes as a fact that the boat did not sail the course then she shall be disqualified.

    DNF means Did Not Finish – it is not claimed that the offending boat did not cross the finishing line correctly.

    The problem was caused by using Sailing Instructions that the Race Committee were unwilling to apply. If the Race Committe is not intending to protest boats that do not pass through the start/finish gate then that requirement should not be written in to the SIs.

    May I volunteer to read and comment the SIs for the Nationals, or any other event, in order to try and avoid such unfortunate events at future regattas.

    Gordon DAVIES


    I’ve just read the Falmouth Dinghy Week NOR. I will do my best to restrain my comments:

    – the NOR is a mess, there are many things in it that have no place in a NOR.

    A NOR should only contain information that a competitor needs to decide whether or not he will compete in an event, information that enables him to register and let’s him know where and when he has to be at the event venue. Anything else should not be in the NOR, but may be contained in briefing notes or additional information. The NOR is part of the rules that govern an event, the number of barbecues, or the fascinating fact that the courses are intended to give variety and good racing are not pertinent to an NOR. Can a competitor protest if he finds that the course set by the race committee is boring?

    Writing an NOR is now an incredibly simple operation:

    1. Open Appendix K of yor Racing Rules of Sailing 2009 -2012 (or download it from the ISAF website)

    2. Copy

    3. Fill in the blanks

    4 Delete the paragraphs that are not needed

    5. Re read

    6 Print

    The whole process takes about 30 minutes, once the organisers are agreed on the details.

    If I can offer any assistance in preparing the NOR or the SIs please do not hesitate to contact me.


    Colin Parkstone


    As much as your knowledge is most welcome to the class so as to get things right for all our sailing needs.

    May I suggest that your restrained observations are sent privately to our Sailing Secretaries and not be aired on a public forum for all to see.

    We are going to be visitors to Falmouth and feel that your coments would not be helpfull if read by anyone in Falmouth involved with the running of a Regatta for our benefit.

    With regards to the great championships run by my home club last year!

    As much as your correct in your obserervations and they have been most welcome and usefull, to me it came down to the fact that people did not sail the right course and should have acknowledged the fact,

    I will leave it to there conscience ????

    C P


    @Gordon Davies wrote:

    The Race Committee does not have the right, under the Racing Rules, to disqualify a boat for not sailing the course corrrectly( see RRS A5). The boat is entitled to a hearing, the race committee must protest, and if the protest committee establishes as a fact that the boat did not sail the course then she shall be disqualified.
    Gordon DAVIES

    But if a boat doesn’t cross the finish line, it is surely impossible to give it a finish time or position? So far as the RO was concerned, the offending boats did not cross the finish line. Unless he actually saw them miss the gate on previous laps and credited them with a lap completed, he could only assume they were finishing an earlier lap when they finally crossed the line – to do more would surely be an unwarranted presumption – they may have gone ashore and spent 20 minutes in a cafe for all he knew.


    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.


    Colin Parkstone


    Your (Point 1) Your offer of help was noted and never in doubt Mate !!

    Think your find its early days for our sailing instructions,Falmouth has been well ahead for the Dinghy Week each and every year in the past!

    You will find that Steve and Mike will be most appreciative of all comments and help in the quest for a Great Championships,

    C P 🙂

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