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US SAILING Judges are held to a higher standard of behavior than others. This applies when they are judging and sailing, as well as in their daily lives. Those who seek appointment as a US SAILING Judge should be aware of this expectation and be prepared to meet it.
Standards for US SAILING Judges were initially developed by the Judges Committee and ratified by the US SAILING Board of Directors in 1977. Chapter 9 of this manual further defines these standards and qualifications. The standards are regularly reviewed and updated by the Judges Committee, and may be found on the US SAILING website (www.ussailing.org/judges). The standards describe what is expected of a judge and give RAJs objective criteria on which to base recommendations for certification and recertification.
A judge should possess a wide range of technical qualifications and skills. Both are developed by study and practice. An excellent knowledge of the RRS and the understanding that a rule must be applied as it is written, which may not coincide with the judge’s impression of the intention of the rule, are prerequisites of high-quality judging. Others are racing experience, race management experience, jury experience, English language proficiency and good physical health. The ability to find and write facts, run a hearing properly, handle small power boats and communicate effectively are also essential skills for a competent judge.
There are a number of personal attributes that the ideal judge would possess. These are listed below, but it should be noted that while these can be found in most people not everyone will possess them to the same degree. This list of attributes should be considered something to strive towards or a guide of expectations for a judge and not be taken as an objective measure of judicial temperament. Some of the most important attributes for a judge to possess are: maturity, integrity, honesty, fairness, open-mindedness, ability to work with others, reliability and objectivity. It also is important that a judge exemplify excellent personal behavior, show respect for competitors, display sound reasoning abilities, have the ability to consider multiple points of view, be able to maintain confidentiality and be capable of making reasoned decisions while under pressure.
A list of the personal attributes for qualification as a US SAILING Judge or Senior Judge is part of the Standards for US SAILING Judges, a US SAILING Regulation. All judges, certified or not, should strive to meet the highest personal standards.
The personal conduct of judges must be above reproach before, during and after an event. Judges are expected to be mature and temperate, moderate in their use of alcohol, judicious in their use of medications and in full control of their faculties. A judge must always defer drinking alcoholic beverages until all daily official duties are completed. The PC Chair must immediately dismiss from a PC a judge who engages in serious misconduct. If the Judges Committee receives a report alleging inappropriate conduct by a US SAILING Judge, the Judges Committee will investigate the report and may take disciplinary action.
US SAILING Judges, when they are acting as such, are subject to the US SAILING Code of Ethics described in section 14 of the US SAILING Regulations. In particular, section 14.04 of the regulations says:
14.04 VOLUNTEERS AT US SAILING EVENTS; CERTIFIED OFFICIALS AT ANY EVENT
Any individual involved in running an event organized or sanctioned by US SAILING; any individual selecting competitors to compete in an event organized by US SAILING or in the Olympic, Paralympic or Pan American Games; or any individual holding certification from US SAILING as a coach, instructor or race official, whether acting in the capacity for which they hold certification or otherwise, shall:
A. avoid conflicts of interest, whether actual or perceived;
B. subordinate his or her personal and individual interests to the interests of the sport of sailing and the competitors therein;
C. apply and enforce the rules in a fair and even-handed manner; and
D. respect the right of all competitors in the sport of sailing to fair and equal treatment, free from discrimination or harassment of any kind.
Sections 12.8 and 12.9 describe more of the responsibilities and personal conduct required for judges.
Judges must be sensitive to the implications of fairness and objectivity in their relations with competitors. Relations between judges and competitors are generally reserved during an event. While a PC generally can and should mix with competitors during social events and should be seen frequently on the dock and at other event venues. Nevertheless, relations with competitors must be at arms-length. It is common for judges to have close personal friendships with some of the competitors. Judges must not only be fair, but must also be seen to be fair. Judges must be acutely aware of the impression of fairness that they present in their interactions with the competitors that they know and those they are meeting for the first time. In a hearing, a judge must always address each of the competitors in a like manner, whether or not the judge knows them personally.
Judges should never express any opinion concerning the relative abilities of competitors, speculate on the outcome or participate in wagers. Only the PC chair should make remarks concerning official business, and only on appropriate occasions. Deliberations of the PC are confidential and must be treated as such.
Competitors frequently ask judges for their opinions about rules situations. Judges must respond carefully to avoid being critical or misleading about a situation on which they do not have all the facts. In response to a question from a competitor about a real or hypothetical question, a judge could say “I wasn’t there, so I don’t have both sides of the story, but if the facts are …, then the rules that apply are … .”