Sep 21, 2011, 10:47 AM
Post #3 of 19
Re: [The Publisher] Hitting the finish line mark
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From John Diggins:
Regarding the rules quiz, the error on the Race Committee's part is in the coding. The correct code for the boat that hit the finish line mark is DNF. See the definition of "finish". The points for DNF and DSQ are the same. Woe be tide the sailor who would seek redress for this; he will only see a change in the letters next to his name on the score sheet.
From Michael Borga, Point Pleasant, NJ:
From the rules question it said, "Since the Race Committee did not protest and the boat did finish, the race Committee's only option is to score the boat where she finished."
This answer given should not, in my humble opinion, be considered correct due to the fact that a basic principle of The Racing Rules of Sailing has been disregarded.
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. A fundamental principle of sportsmanship is that when competitors break a rule they will promptly take a penalty, which may be to retire.
This rule/principle should take precedence over all others, the boat that finished while hitting the mark should not be rewarded in any way shape or form, whether a protest is lodged or not.
Regarding John Diggins’ comment (the boat should have been scored DNF for hitting the finish pin), the boat did finish according to the definition of finish in the RRS, therefore, the RC must score them in their finishing position (RRS A3). There is no reference to RRS 31 (Touching a Mark) in the definition of finish. Additionally, the scores for DNF and DSQ are not always the same; the score for DNF is often changed by the sailing instructions.
Mark Borga comes closer to the mark (pardon the pun) when he refers to the Basic Principle. A request for redress could be filed by every other boat in that race (RC’s error was not filing a protest), but since a boat cannot be protested by the RC or PC for information arising from a request for redress (RRS 60.2(a) and 60.3(a)), we are still left with the problem of a boat finishing which has clearly broken RRS 2 (Fair Sailing) and the Basic Principle. However, they may be protested by another boat, and the Protest Committee has the latitude to extend the protest filing time. This is not an intractable problem.
Hopefully, by the time the process got to this point, the offending boat will have been convinced to RAF (retire after finishing), especially since a disqualification under RRS 2 is not excludable.
As a race officer, I tend not to protest boats for on-the-water incidents unless they are egregious fouls with a clear disregard of the rules – which this was. If I observed such an incident, and I was confident of my observation (it’s not easy to see a boat touching a mark unless they assault it), I would have a nice chat with the offending skipper on shore immediately after racing if only to notify them verbally of my intention to protest. If they do not RAF, I have no problem filling out a protest form and letting the Protest Committee handle it. Race Officers have a fiduciary duty to the competitors to provide fair racing according to the Racing Rules of Sailing, which may involve filing the occasional protest.
US SAILING Regional Race Officer / Judge