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When an incident is occurring do we have to quote the rule number and all the rule


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The problem is that people are expecting the Right of Way boat to quote the exact rule number and quote the rule word by word before they accept they are the give way boat.

In IOM racing the boats are so quick that they can appear in the field of view only a few seconds before a collision and incidents evolve out of nothing very quickly. Especially boats closing from different directions.

There is often only a chance to say a word or two especially as the give way boat's sail number has to be quoted.

There needs to be meaningful one or two word hail for each rule.

For instance where a starboard tack boat was on a collision course with a port tack boat a hail of Starboard used to be accepted but is laughed at now.

Any comments ideas?

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The problem is that people are expecting the Right of Way boat to quote the exact rule number and quote the rule word by word before they accept they are the give way boat.

Not to put too strong a point on it, but what they ask for is rubbish. The preamble to the RRS says that by racing, each of you agree to abide by the rules. All the rules require (E6.3) is to hail in a voice loud enough for them to hear - your sail number Protest their sail number and repeat the hail.

It is important not to get into an impromptu protest hearing on the bank - just hail protest correctly and then be silent and continue to concentrate on sailing your boat. Now they have a choice - either take a penalty turn or go the the protest hearing - where they may lose and be DSQ. Debating what happened on the bank just encourages poor behaviour and any loud arguments sets a poor example for other sailors and for members of the public who may be watching.

When you file a protest, you are asked to provide the rule under which you are protesting - but it is important to note that you may even quote the wrong rule and it does not matter - the PC will correct the rule applicable during the hearing.

If they don't know port from starboard, or windward from leeward, or if they don't know the basics of the four ROW rules, R 10 through R 13, suggest that they look at my web site and read Chapter 1 - The definitions -for beginners Racing 101 some sailing terms explained- and if they want to learn more about how to protest, then Chapter 7 The Protest



John Ball

IOM CAN 307 (V8)

In my private capacity

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I agree with John, there is nothing more off-putting to the fleet and turn off to the public than people "discussing" an incident during the racing- usually in a loud voice.

We all do it and shouldn't but the rule is clear; hail clearly twice stating your sail number and that of the boat that is being protested.

However, I would also suggest that communication with other skippers during the racing should be encouraged, nothing wrong with identifying that you are on stbd and another boat is on port, or that you consider you have an overlap as you approach a downwind gate. This can avoid incidents that do end up as protests.

As the events get bigger the communication becomes more important as observers and umpires come in to play - they may not be looking at your boat, but if you put in a hail of "stbd" or "overlap" they may then look at your boat, which could help you in a protest.


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I believe that we would all prefer to prevent incidents occurring rather than resolve them by penalties or protests afterwards

Calling the other boat and explaining very briefly the situation can be helpful to all competitors - and to observers and umpires.

Perhaps one day we could run an experiment with an observer or umpire giving warnings -much as the rugby referees do in certain situations.

For example, when umpiring, I will talk to my observer as the boats in to the mark (especially the leeward mark) indicating to him the order in which I expect them to round the mark (easier with IOMs as we can refer to colours) and which boats must give mark-room. Would it radically change the game if this information was available to competitors, or would it reduce the likelihood of a boat taking a chance and diving in to a gap.


(Please note that any opinions expressed here are personal and do not represent the policy of any organisation of which I may be a member or officer!)

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One believes strongly that much of the problem with rule abeyance stems from an unwillingness to discuss rules at club level after the days racing.

During the course of Club and other racing some very dubious calls are made. Some of them stem from rule manipulation, superstition and folk law.

Discussions should not be in the form of PROTEST but friendly discussion involving ALL with the WS rules in hand.

To quote a typical Non-rule that I heard being propagated last just Sunday:-

‘You cannot RUN down the start line’

What %^$%^%. ( abbreviation of TOSH ) , it’s not a good idea, it places one at risk in terms of Rule 11 and you are sailing you into a bad position but is certainly is not a BREACH of any rule.

But more importantly it MAY be to the advantage of another other competitors that, before the start, a boat sails into a position below him giving him clear air. Conversely it is not to anyone’s advantage that you become entangled with the boat RUNNING down the line.


We all do it, it’s an honour thing. Possibly because a breach of a Rule is seen as a failure:-

a) I had nowhere to go

b) You tacked onto me

c) The Rudder did not work

d) I was out of control

Protest System

The protest system does not work, never has and never will. Just a few weeks ago a Protest Committee spent better part of 2 hour trying to find a reason to disqualify a particular competitor and cornered themselves into disqualifying the other competitor. The simple solution would have been to say the evidence is contradictory and the PROTEST is DISMISSED

Using the RO as an Umpire

I have seen everything tried.

a) Competitor observing

b) Race officer as Umpire

– An argument always ensues and MOST CLUB sailor do not actually care. It's over , get on with you life.

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The RYA runs a rules advisor scheme that provides a means to hold informal discussion on incidents after racing. This could be useful at radio sailing events. I agree that the more rules are discussed the better rule observance becomes. Just as long as the rules under discussion are the ones in the book, not half remembered memories or inventions. Perhaps, ensuring that a rule book is available at each event might help...

The most difficult part of a judges job is establishing facts when the evidence given is contradictory. We have to use our own experience and establish facts ON THE BALANCE OF PROBABILITY... which is a low level of proof. However, as the rules stand, we do have to find facts. Rough justice sometimes results, but that is better than waiting 2 hours for a decision.


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