(This is an instalment in a series of blogposts about the ISAF Casebook 2009-2012 with amendments for 2010. All cases are official interpretations by the ISAF committees on how the Racing Rules of Sailing should be used or interpreted. The cases are copied from the Casebook, only the comments are written by me.)
Sportsmanship and the Rules
Rule 60.2(a), Right to Protest; Right to Request Redress or Rule 69 Action
Except when it receives a report of a breach of a class rule or of rule 43 from an equipment inspector or a measurer for an event, a race committee is not required to protest a boat. The primary responsibility for enforcing the rules lies with the competitor.
Summary of the Facts
Throughout a five-race series, A competed with a crew of three. After the last race, B and others jointly protested A, alleging that she had broken a class rule that limited the crew to two. This was the first protest relating to the matter. It was refused because the hulls of the protesting boats were all over 6 m long, but none of the boats displayed a red flag. This decision was appealed on the grounds that the race committee ought, on its own initiative, to have protested A in all the races.
As provided in rule 63.5, the protest was invalid because no red flag was displayed as required by rule 61.1(a). To uphold this appeal would amount to a conclusion that a race committee ought to know the class rules of each class, and that it then has an obligation to enforce them when members of the class themselves fail to do so. No such obligation is placed on a race committee. Furthermore, rule 60.2(a) is clearly discretionary, except when a race committee receives a report required by rule 43.1(c) or 78.3, which it had not. As stated in Sportsmanship and the Rules, ‘Competitors in the sport of sailing are governed by a body of rules that they are expected to follow and enforce.’
The primary responsibility for enforcing the rules therefore rests with the competitors. The appeal is dismissed, and the decision of the protest committee is upheld.
What if a measurer or equipment inspector does not include breaches of class rules in his report or even doesn’t hand in a report?
If that becomes known during or after the event, there’s is a problem. At the moment neither is mentioned as a party in rule 62.1(a). No request for redress possible for an improper action or omission by the measurer or equipment inspector. You cannot blame the RC, they never got the information. It is prudent for the PRO to ask the Measurer or equipment inspector for his findings, but not obligatory.
There is however a submission for this November’s ISAF conference to include those in rule 62.1(a).
I’m not sure if that will go into effect the first of January 2012. Till it does, only the Sailing Instructions can change this, by for instance stating that the measurer or equipment inspector are part of the Race Committee.