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The term “judge” is generally applied to anyone who serves on a protest committee (PC).
The Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) defines the responsibilities and the function of a PC. If the PC meets the requirements of Appendix N (International Juries) it is called an “international jury”. These distinctions are described in rule 91 (Protest Committees).
For the most part, sailing is a self-policing sport and the PC is the body that is designated under the rules to resolve disputes between competitors or between a competitor and the race committee (RC). Therefore, the most important job that a judge has is to ensure that sportsmanship and fair play prevail at an event. Judges have their most significant impact through the hearings that the PC may hold. However, there are other important functions that a judge can fulfill to ensure that the event is fair to all competitors, such as reviewing the notice of race (NOR) and sailing instructions (SIs) or advising the RC. At times, this will include acting on the water as a “referee,” either enforcing rule 42 (Propulsion) and rule 67 (Rule 42 and Hearing Requirement) or Appendix P or serving as an umpire for a match, team or fleet race.
The scope of activities for a judge will depend on the type and size of the event. The PC may be one or more judges appointed by the organizing authority (OA) or the RC to hear protest hearings and/or other responsibilities.
For club races, the RC may appoint a PC after it has received a protest or request for redress. The PC might include RC members and other sailors from the club. Competitors from the same class as the boats involved in the protest or request for redress must not serve on the PC. If possible, a member of the RC who acted on the water for the race in question should not participate in a request for redress in which an improper action or omission of the RC is claimed.
At events where competitors come from outside the club or local area, the OA should appoint a PC that is separate from and independent of the RC. This PC should generally not include any competitors from the event, although sailors may be part of the PC provided they are not interested parties. It should include sailors and qualified judges from different clubs and, if possible, from outside the local area.
In events at higher levels, the appointing authority may require that a majority of judges be US SAILING Certified Judges or ISAF appointed International Judges. For large national or international events, the OA may appoint an international jury that has been properly constituted under Appendix N (International Juries). International juries are composed of a majority of international judges, with representatives from at least three national authorities. Judges at these events can expect to have activities that extend beyond hearing protests and requests for redress.
The basic rules and procedures for hearing protests and requests for redress are included in Part 5 (Protests, Redress, Hearings, Misconduct and Appeals) of the RRS. Advisory guidelines for PCs can be found in Appendix M (Recommendations for Protest Committees).
Listed below are commonly used terms and phrases together with a brief description or explanation of their meanings.
Most PC decisions are subject to review on appeal under rule 70 (Appeals and Requests to a National Authority). The non-appealable exceptions consist of decisions of an international jury or when the right of appeal is otherwise denied under rule 70.5. In the United States, such appeals are submitted to US SAILING. (www.ussailing.org). US SAILING refers most appeals initially to the appropriate Association Appeals Committee (AAC). If the decision of the AAC is appealed further, it is then sent to the US SAILING Appeals Committee. See Part 5, Section D (Appeals) and Appendix F (Procedures for Appeals and Requests) in the RRS.
US SAILING Appeals Committee (www.ussailing.org/appeals)
The US SAILING Appeals Committee considers and decides appeals; answers questions from US SAILING member organizations regarding interpretations of the RRS; when requested, reviews decisions of Association Appeals Committees; publishes selected decisions of the Appeals Committee; recommends changes in the RRS to the Racing Rules Committee; and submits US SAILING appeals for adoption by ISAF as Cases.
Association Appeals Committee (www.ussailing.org/appeals/RSA_Appeals.asp)
This committee has been established or designated to hear appeals of PC decisions at the first level. Association Appeals Committees are generally appointed regionally by US SAILING Regional Sailing Associations, or (for intercollegiate or interscholastic appeals) the Intercollegiate or Interscholastic Sailing Associations.
A PC appointed by the OA that is independent of the RC and meets the requirements of Appendix N (International Juries).
International Sailing Federal (ISAF) (www.sailing.org)
This is the international federation that governs the sport of sailboat racing. ISAF produces The Racing Rules of Sailing and publishes the ISAF Case Book, authoritative interpretations of the racing rules. The primary members of ISAF are the Member National Authorities. Other members include the class associations for the International Classes and certain individual members, including ISAF certified race officials (such as judges, umpires, measurers and race officers).
This is a person who serves on a PC for an event. A US SAILING Certified Judge (hereafter referred to as a US SAILING Judge) is one who has been certified by US SAILING, having met the qualifications described in Chapter 12. An International Judge (IJ) is one who has been appointed by ISAF.
Measurer / Equipment Inspector
A person appointed by the OA or the RC to ensure that boats and competitors comply with class, handicap or rating rules. This person may measure boats prior to an event, provide interpretations of applicable rules, perform specific checks in case of a measurement dispute or perform post-race measurement checks.
Member National Authority (MNA)
An organization recognized by ISAF that controls the sport of sailing in a country or political entity that has been granted status as an Olympic nation. US SAILING is the member national authority for the fifty states of the United States and the District of Columbia.
Organizing Authority (OA)
This is the entity that puts on an event. Under rule 89.1 (Organizing Authority), this may be the ISAF, a member national authority, a club, a class association or other organization affiliated to a national authority, or another organization as specified in the rule.
Principal Race Officer (PRO)
The PRO is the race official who is in charge of the activities of the RC both on and off the water. A US SAILING race officer is one who has been certified by US SAILING as a club, regional, or national officer. An international race officer is one who has been appointed by ISAF.
Protest is defined in the RRS as, “An allegation made under rule 61.2 by a boat, a race committee or a protest committee that a boat has broken a rule.”
Protest Committee (PC)
A committee appointed by the OA or RC to hear protests and requests for redress. Under certain circumstances, the PC may be appointed by ISAF. See rule 89.2 (Notice of Race: Appointment of Race Officials) and rule 91 (Protest Committee). All international juries (see Appendix N) are also protest committees. In Appendices K and L, the ISAF recommended practice for SI and NOR's is to use the term "jury" only when referring to an International Jury. In this manual, we use the term "international jury" in referring to an Appendix N ISAF compliant ”international jury.” Otherwise we use the term "protest committee" (or PC) and "jury" interchangeably.
Race Committee (RC)
A committee appointed by the OA to publish the SIs and run the event. Under certain circumstances, the RC may be appointed by ISAF. See rule 89.2 (Notice of Race: Appointment of Race Officials) and rule 90.1 (Race Committee). The term “race committee” includes any person responsible for performing any of the duties or functions of the RC.
Regional Administrative Judge (RAJ)
The Judges Committee appoints a RAJ for their geographical Area, with concurrence of the US SAILING Board of Directors. The RAJ is a member of the Judges Committee and administers the Judges Certification Program for their Area.
Request for Redress
This is a written petition under rule 62 (Redress) to the PC from a boat or from the RC for the adjustment of scoring of one or more boats in a race or series.
Sailing Association or Regional Sailing Association (SA or RSA)
An association of sailing clubs within one of 11 geographical areas of the United States.
An official who makes decisions and imposes penalties on the water during a match or team race when the umpiring system is specified in the NOR and SIs. Appendix C (Match Racing Rules), Appendix D (Team Racing Rules) and Appendix E (Radio-Controlled Rules) include descriptions of the functions of umpires.
United States Sailing Association (US SAILING)
US SAILING is the member national authority for sailing in the fifty states of the United States and the District of Columbia. Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have national authorities independent of US SAILING, but also frequently are work with US SAILING to host and participate in many US SAILING Championships. In addition, US SAILING has been recognized by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) as the “national governing body” for sailing under the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act. As the national governing body for sailing, US SAILING has the responsibility of selecting the members of the U.S. Olympic Team for the sport of sailing and receives significant funding for Olympic-path sailing from the USOC. The organization of US SAILING and its directors and staff are described in detail on the US SAILING website at www.ussailing.org.
This manual regularly uses these important abbreviations.
Principal Race Officer
International Sailing Federation
Regional Administrative Judge
Notice of Race
The Racing Rules of Sailing
Indicates a notable or significant change in rules or procedures from earlier Judges Manuals.