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Judges' role in disputes
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rt_/)
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Aug 31, 2011, 12:49 PM

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Helmer Schweizer's suggestion in SB 3417 that a judge could "walk up to the sailor and tell about the observation and very brief on the possible/potential actions by the judge and the resulting consequences" mistakes the judge's role and the rules that govern them.

There's a reason judges don't announce decisions before holding hearings. At the moment one opens his or her mouth to express an opinion before a hearing's concluded, he or she is no longer a judge but merely a witness. When a judge discusses an incident with a competitor, he or she is bound to take no further part in judging any dispute, especially if the judge initiated the discussion.

The judge has disclosed a bias and become an "interested party"; that judge is now precluded from protesting and his or her report shall not be the basis for a protest. See rules 60.2(a) and 60.3(a) limiting protsts by race committees and protest committees.

So far as the "educational role", that should come after the proest hearing, not before.


As to hailing "Starboard" when on port tack, IMHO, it's a violation of Rule 2, Fair Sailing -- not to mention announcing an intent not to keep clear as required by Rule 10. Those who do it are flirting with a disciplinary hearing under Rule 69. A race official who witnesses it should consider protesting according to 60.2 or 60.3. File the paper, appear as a party and witness, but don't also sit on the PC.
-rt_/)

GUEST COMMENTARY, Scuttlebutt 3417
...
* From Helmer Schweizer:
I read with interest the part on ZERO TOLERANCE in Scuttlebutt 3416. In my
opinion, judges sometimes overact and want to make use of their power,
demonstrate it to themselves and the others on the water. In other words:
They police more than the police does.

This reminds me of the famous experiment where people were given power to
switch higher and higher the penalizing voltage, even beyond the kill point
indicator and the artificial pains screams of the sufferer.

Sure, I do not want to say the starboard yelling port sailing guy was
right, especially if he was known to be an experienced sailor. What else
other than a formal protest and dsq could a judge do?

He could walk up to the sailor and tell about the observation and very
brief on the possible/potential actions by the judge and the resulting
consequences. And then, suggest/recommend him to do two things on his own
will:

- provide the other boat an apology
- withdraw from the race finish and be classified as a DNF.

This has two effects: It allows the wrongful sailor to take things back in
his own hands, and show that he is a gentleman after all, regain his future
credibility; as well as teach all a lesson who hear about it.

Only if the sailor would be stubborn would/could the judge lodge a protest.
This is similar to get caught in the car going too fast, but being let go
with a (lower priced) ticket/warning instead of being charged and
prosecuted by the full power of the law. Some common sense should be
implied in all we do all day.



The Publisher
*****


Sep 1, 2011, 9:16 AM

Post #2 of 3 (20315 views)
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Re: [rt_/)] Judges' role in disputes [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

From Jim Champ:
Helmer Schweizer said, I read with interest the part on ZERO TOLERANCE in Scuttlebutt 3416. In my opinion, judges sometimes overact and want to make use of their power, demonstrate it to themselves and the others on the water. In other words: They police more than the police does.

Whilst I sort of see Helmer's point: consider this...

In a complex on the water protest situation you can go into the protest hearing genuinely believing you had complied with the rules as your interpretation of how a no-contact situation evolved and come out with a DSQ because the PC reckoned that, on balance, you were mistaken in the exact sequence of events.

By contrast, the "starboard when on port" yeller is deliberately cheating, and even worse is most likely doing so in a way that is verbal bullying of the inexperienced competitor and even may put them off the sport. There's also a safety aspect: deliberately confuse a beginner about the rules and what will happen in the next situation they are in?

The two seem to me to be entirely different levels of offence, and I submit that a DND from a Rule 2 hearing is by no means an inappropriate penalty even for a first offence.


rt_/)
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Sep 1, 2011, 12:54 PM

Post #3 of 3 (20299 views)
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Re: [The Publisher] Judges' role in disputes [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Jim Champ and I agree that hailing starboard when on port tack is probably deliberate cheating. A possible exception might be two experienced sailing friends encountering each other with the hail meant as a joke. But, outside a very limited context, it's an egregious breach of sportsmanship -- especially against novices, not a laughing matter.

My comments primarily focused on -- not the violation or violator -- but the race official who witnessed the incident. Not being a propulsion issue, this is not (usually) subject to on-the-water judging, thus a protest hearing would be required in order to penalize the perpetrator. Assuming that no protest is hailed, flagged and filed -- here's how I see the the witnessing official's options in the quandary:
  1. Say nothing, do nothing -- on the theory that it's the competitors' responsibility to enforce the rules; if the victim doesn't know his/her rights, it's the victim's problem.
  2. Speak to the perpetrator. This makes the official an interested party (or biased) and precludes him/her from protesting or hearing a protest..
  3. Speak to the victim. This might result in a protest being filed, but precludes the official from participating.
  4. Speak to non-involved competitors in an attempt to have them educate the perpetrator and the victim. Also, precludes the official protesting or participating.
  5. File a protest as permitted by the rules; save observations for the hearing. This is an unusual step when competitors are in a position to protest, but perhaps warranted here. Testimony in the hearing will provide context to the incident.

The rules give us the means to handle egregious sitations; we should use them rather than outside-the-rules solutions. All-in-all, I don't see race officials "policing more than the police".
-rt_/)


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