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“Resolved, That no Admiral presume to bring more than two dozen of wine to his treat, for it has always been deemed a breach of the ancient rules and constitutions of the Club, except when my Lords the Judges are invited”
A rule of the
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Just as sailing has an almost infinite variety of regattas, the style, composition, responsibilities and expectations of PCs and/or juries can also vary widely. At the grass-roots level a PC may be recruited from among sailors on the premises at the time of the hearing; at the top levels an international jury may be appointed over a year in advance and have extensive pre-regatta responsibilities. At all levels, competitors expect the highest quality racing possible. Judges, the RC and the OA should work together to help meet this expectation.
Except for a jury that meets the Appendix N criteria to be an international jury, the term "protest committee" and "jury" are often interchangeable. In this chapter, we try to refer to a "jury" when it is established in advance of an event and/or has duties beyond simply conducting hearings, and we use the term "protest committee" to refer to duties related to handling and preparing for protest and redress hearings.
Judges may experience diverse types of events and venues that involve competitors at all levels of the sport. The following sections describe unique features and expectations of several types of events.
A large portion of sailboat racing is conducted in casual events involving local sailors with little formal structure. The NOR and SIs are simple. The advanced preparation for the organizers is relatively small. A PC is frequently not assembled until a sailor files a protest or redress request. When a hearing is necessary, the PC is quite often comprised of sailors or visitors on site at the time. Frequently, few if any, members of the PC are US SAILING Certified Judges and overall knowledge of the protest process and the racing rules may be inconsistent. As with the style of the regatta, the hearings are quite often informal. This environment is excellent for potential judges to get experience in protest hearings. However, the pitfall is that the informal format of the regatta can result in lax and improper protest procedures. Remember that interesting and challenging rules issues can occur at any level of racing, from a Tuesday night fun race right up through the Olympics. At all levels of competition, sailors deserve to have the protest and redress process handled in accordance with the rules and respectful of the process.
Judges recruited to serve with little advanced notice should at least have a current rule book and quickly review Appendix M, (Recommendations for Protest Committees). Complementing that, the standard US SAILING or ISAF protest forms are laid out to help judges and sailors follow good protest procedure.
This chapter section concerns itself primarily with preparation for significant championships where a jury is appointed in advance and can play a significant role in pre-regatta planning. As a general rule, the higher the level and prestige of the championship, the greater amount of preparation and expertise will be expected of the jury both before and during the regatta. When appointed to a jury, each judge should ensure that he or she will be fully up-to-date with the racing rules, the relevant class rules, recently published US SAILING appeals and/or ISAF Cases, ISAF regulations and other documents that apply. Both US SAILING and ISAF have extensive websites and are committed to ensuring that they contain the latest and most up-to-date information. For ISAF recognized classes, the ISAF website also has links to those classes' current rules.
Some judges consider events involving young people to be the hardest to judge. Very young competitors may be nervous and often confused since this may be their first time before a PC. Teenagers may be just the opposite. Often, before the PC hears the protest, instructors, coaches, or parents have given them a “crash course” in the rules. While adults are expected to know their rights and be capable of defending themselves effectively, officious judges can easily intimidate junior sailors, some of whom may be quite young.
Judges at youth events must always remember that juniors require patience, understanding and support. Young sailors should receive the same careful attention from a PC that adults would expect. They should be held to the same standards of conduct, rules administration and propriety as adults.
If appropriate, a PC may use youth event protest hearings as opportunities to teach rules or responsibilities. PCs often choose to give more complete explanations of protest decisions than would be necessary at adult regattas. Conducting open hearings where all participants are welcome to observe can be valuable for competitors at junior events. All hearings offer an opportunity to emphasize the Basic Principle and rule 2 (Fair Sailing).
A judge has special responsibilities at a regatta where the competitors are very young sailors who have never experienced a protest hearing. It is important for young sailors to learn that protests are a legitimate part of the game. They need to learn what their rights and responsibilities are. Judges can help young sailors learn proper hearing procedures and appropriate behavior. At the competitors’ meeting, a judge may welcome competitors on behalf of the PC and tell them that the PC is there to help them resolve differences of opinion after racing. The competitors are told how the protest procedure works and that no one has to be an expert on the rules. They just need to tell the PC what they saw and heard.
Photo 4.1. A Protest Hearing at a Youth Event.
After a hearing, members of the PC may be confronted by parents, coaches and instructors who know only one side of the story. Even more so than normally, they may question the PC’s decision. As described in section 3.7, the judges should defer to the panel chair for that explanation. The chair should explain the facts found in a non-confrontational manner. The facts as found may not be what really happened, but they represent what the PC thinks happened based on all the evidence brought to it. The judges should assist the coaches, parents and instructors in explaining the decision to the competitor. The chair may ask another member of the PC to accompany them (but remain silent) when having this conversation.
High school and college sailing offer different challenges for judges. The Interscholastic Sailing Association (ISSA) and the Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) both have their own Procedural Rules or Class Rules that can be obtained through US SAILING, or through ISSA’s website (www.highschoolsailingusa.org) or ICSA’s website (www.collegesailing.org).
When judging ICSA or ISSA events, judges need to be very familiar with these Procedural Rules since they modify the RRS and the US SAILING Prescriptions. The Procedural Rules change rules pertaining to time limits, breakdowns, redress, kinetics and recalls. The pace of the race management and PC work is very quick at both ISSA and ICSA events. Time is at a premium and cannot be wasted. It is very important to be expedient in hearing protests without compromising the concepts underlying proper procedures. The ability to ask pertinent questions that determine what happened on the water and whether boats met their obligations under the rules is an important skill needed for ICSA and ISSA protest hearings. The parties must be kept on track and the testimony should never be allowed to digress. The PC hears protests at any given opportunity, since unresolved protests accumulate rapidly toward the end of the day. Both high school and college sailors are familiar with speedy protest hearings. Many judges view high school and college judging like going to “Spring Training” and take full advantage of it.
Match Racing and Team Racing events use umpires who make on-the-water calls and decisions. The rules for both events also allow for protest committees for certain situations (see the US SAILING Umpires Committee website (www.ussailing.org/umpires) for more information). Section 8.5 provides some guidance for protest committees at umpired events.
When the jury is appointed in advance, at least one member of the jury (usually the chair) will generally review and be ready to provide advice on all critical stages leading up to the event. The jury may also request or be asked to monitor the competition on the water.
The OA should appoint a chair well in advance of the event and may seek the chair’s advice on other candidates for the jury. The goal is to assemble a strong jury with diverse strengths that will serve the sailors well and where the members can work effectively with one another. When the chair is not local to the event, a local judge will frequently be appointed to the jury and will serve as the coordinator between the host club and the jury during the planning stages. As soon as the final appointments have been confirmed, the chair should be notified and furnished with the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the other judges.
Judges serve without pay but not without cost to themselves. Over the years, customs have developed toward providing judges certain perquisites. It is customary for the OA or host club to provide the following:
· A letter of invitation. The letter should be sent to all jury members inviting them to serve at the event. The letter must include the dates and times the jury is expected to be on site. Both the host club and the jury should treat this letter as an informal contract. It should explain what is expected of the jury member and what the OA will provide. The letter should include the expected weather conditions. If the jury is to be on the water, the letter should describe the kinds of boats that will be provided.
· Housing, meals and local transportation. Housing and transportation should be provided for judges who come from a distance. Meals should be provided for the entire jury. The standard practice in this country is for volunteer members of the host club to invite judges to stay in their homes and provide local transportation to and from the venue. If a judge prefers to stay at a hotel or have a private car, he or she should expect to absorb those costs.
· Travel to the venue. Reimbursement should be provided whenever possible for basic air transportation when a judge comes from a distance beyond normal driving range.
· Meals. When judges are on duty, the organizing authority should provide meals for the judges and invite them to the regatta's social events as guests of the OA.
· Note of thanks. A letter of thanks or other suitable recognition should be sent to each judge following the event, especially for judges who are not members of the host club.
The OA should not feel obligated to invite spouses. When spouses are welcome, they are generally invited to all social events to which the jury is invited. When spouses are invited, it is acceptable to ask that the judge/spouse cover the extra expenses that may be incurred when the jury budget is limited. The letter of invitation should make clear what the host will provide for the spouses and what expenses the spouses are expected to incur.
If the regatta is large, or if many protests are expected, the OA should appoint a jury secretary and necessary assistants. The jury secretary could be a local club judge or someone aspiring to become a judge. The jury secretary should be familiar with the responsibilities outlined in Section 5.2 below. Jury assistants help with copying protest forms, distributing copies of protests to parties, locating parties and witnesses and performing other functions assigned by the jury secretary or chair.
Both the OA and the prospective judge need to take the invitation to attend an event seriously. The OA must send the invitation well in advance, not only to allow the judge time to arrange his or her schedule, but also to allow time to find another judge if the invitation is declined. The invited judge should respond as promptly as possible in order to allow the OA time to find another judge in the event he or she declines.
Before the event, the OA should send the NOR and the draft SIs to the Chair of the jury for comment. The NOR is a contract between the OA and the competitors, and ranks as one of the rules governing the event. In it, the OA sets out the conditions under which it is prepared to run the event. Each competitor, by entering the regatta, agrees to compete in accordance with those conditions.
It is important that the NOR contain any requirements necessary to enable a competitor to decide whether or not to compete in the event and how to prepare. When practicable, the NOR should be reviewed by the jury chair in advance of publication. The chair can suggest changes in wording or content to ensure that the NOR complies with the requirements of rules 89.2 and J1 (Notice of Race Contents). If the review occurs after the NOR has been published, rule 89.2(a) allows any deficiencies in the NOR to be changed provided adequate notice is given.
Appendix K (Notice of Race Guide) provides common language and contents for the NOR.
Even more important than an early review of the NOR, a jury should carefully review the SIs prior to their publication. Since the jury will have to interpret the SIs, a careful review can identify and correct significant flaws before the racing begins. Appendix L (Sailing Instruction Guide) should be used for guidance on good standard language and contents of SIs. The SIs, the class rules and the NOR should be checked carefully for conflicts among them. The SIs should also be checked for any deviation in the requirements of rule J2 (Sailing Instruction Contents). Class rules apply, even if not mentioned in the NOR or SIs, provided there is no conflict with the other rules (Case 98).
All members of the jury should review the final SIs at the earliest opportunity so that any necessary amendments can be issued prior to the first competitors’ meeting (see Section 5.3.2).
In reviewing the NOR and the SIs, a judge should pay careful attention to the words “shall,” “will,’”and “may.” The SIs should state the intention of the RC (“will”) and the obligations of competitors (“shall”). “May” or ”should” indicate that an action is not compulsory.
It is important to determine if any changes to the rules are inappropriate, i.e. not in compliance with the RRS. Many SIs improperly attempt to change a rule that is prohibited from being changed by rule 86 (Changes to the Racing Rules). Even when it is permissible to change a rule, SIs often do not change the rule correctly. Rule 86.1(b) requires the SIs to refer specifically to the rule when stating the change. Make certain that there will be no misunderstanding in the change to the rule. While the NOR can and should list expected changes to the rules, only the SIs can change a rule. A rule of the RRS that is changed in the NOR, but not in the SIs, has not been changed.
The prescriptions of the member national authority always apply unless the SIs state they do not apply. Rule 88 (National Prescriptions) allows the member national authority to restrict changes to its prescriptions. US SAILING prescribes that SIs may not change or delete:
· Rule 61.4 concerning fees for protests/redress requests.
· Rule 76.3 concerning a sailor’s right to a hearing if the OA/RC rejects their entry.
· Appendix F (Procedures for Appeals and Requests).
· US SAILING prescription to rule 40 (Personal Floatation Devices) on life-saving equipment, except for international events.
· US SAILING prescription to rule 68 (Damages).
· Rule 70.5(a) requiring US SAILING approval before denying the right of appeal.
· US SAILING prescription to rule 76.1 on exclusion of boats or competitors.
For international events (or events where entries from other countries are expected) rule 90.2(b) requires the SIs to include the full text of the above rules and prescriptions. For such events, judges must check the SIs to ensure compliance. Check the US SAILING’s Race Management Committee’s website (www.ussailing.org/racemgt) for a downloadable document containing recommended language for properly including US SAILING prescriptions in SIs.
Each judge should have a judging briefcase, bag or kit, containing:
· Current RRS with the US SAILING Prescriptions.
· Current US SAILING Appeals and ISAF Cases.
· Event’s NOR and SIs.
· Copies of all official notices posted for the event.
· Competitor Scratch Sheets.
· Notes from the judges’, competitors’ and other official meetings.
· Paper pad and pencil or pen for notes.
Recommended equipment for on-the-water jury activities are discussed in a section below.
The protest chair, at least, should have an up-to-date copy of the class rules for the classes in the event, master forms (including a US SAILING Protest Form) and a set of boat models for each protest room. All judges should also consider acquiring software or other templates to prepare neat, understandable diagrams to submit with the facts found in a protest.
Dress of jury members should be appropriate for the event. Judges should honor the dress code of the club and respect the level of formality of dress for the event. The jury chair should determine in advance of the event what dress is considered appropriate, and inform jury members accordingly.
A room should be set aside for jury meetings and hearings. It must be private and quiet and, if possible, should be reserved for the exclusive use of the jury for the duration of the event. At a minimum, the jury room should be equipped with a conference table, sufficient chairs to seat at least four persons in addition to the members of the jury, and a set of protest models. The room must have good lighting, be quiet and be adequately ventilated. If more than one panel will be hearing protests, a separate room must be provided for each panel. The jury room(s) should be near where competitors normally congregate and to the official notice board. Rooms should be labeled, and if appropriate, direction signs put in place.
Furniture should include a reception desk or table outside the hearing room for use in passing out and collecting protest forms. There should be reasonable access to a photocopier and, ideally, a computer equipped with a word-processing program. There should be a satisfactory way to page or call the parties, preferably with a public address system.
Access to the Internet is becoming increasingly important for a smooth functioning jury. For the jury in general, having a means of monitoring their email when away from home is valuable. For protest operations, it's useful to be able to use the Internet to research recent changes to rules or monitor an event's website. Some regattas are beginning to use the Internet as a means of dynamically posting and notifying competitors of protest notices and status. If that is the case, the jury must have reliable on-site Internet access at the jury office.
The jury is often expected to be on the water. The equipment needed will vary depending on the regatta and the role of the jury.
All jury boats must be capable of operating safely in all weather conditions in which the sailors will be expected to race. If there is only one race course and one jury boat for observation on the water, the boat should be large enough to safely accommodate the entire jury, but not so large that it obstructs competitors. It should be high enough to give the jury a good view. Very small boats may be unsatisfactory for big boat events due to reduced visibility. Judging from whalers and other small jury boats are often quite suitable at dinghy events.
Press, photographers and spectators should not be on board the jury boats. Generally, there should be no guests. A competent boat handler must pilot the jury boat; this may or may not be a member of the jury.
For on‑the‑water judging rule 42 (Propulsion) under Appendix P, smaller boats that will accommodate two judges per boat are required. The boats need to be more maneuverable in order for the judges to move within the fleet during the races with minimum effect to the competitors. Generally, rigid hull inflatable boats (RIBs) are preferred, and of the smallest size possible while still ensuring the safety and basic comfort of the judges. Special care should be taken to minimize the boat’s wind-shadow and wake.
The jury boats should be distinguished by a suitable signal, usually the US SAILING Judges flag or code flag J. The flag needs to be mounted high enough to be visible by the sailors and preferably in the stern of the boat so it does not block the judges’ view.
For on-the-water judging rule 42 each judge on the jury boat will also need to be equipped with one yellow flag (code flag Q) mounted on a handheld 36-inch pole.
Each judge develops their personal checklist of equipment they bring to on-the-water regattas.
· Current RRS (with US SAILING prescriptions)
· Notice of Race
· Sailing Instructions
· Class Rules
· Competitor Scratch Sheet
· Watch suitable for timing
· VHF Radio
· Tape or Digital Voice Recorder
· Waterproof notebook (such as Wet Notes)
· Pens and pencils
· Dry bag
· Foul weather gear
· Clothing (warm or cool) suitable for the expected conditions
· Sunscreen, chapstick, hat, etc.
· Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
When working on-the-water, well-prepared judges have a water-resistant bag containing at a minimum:
· Stopwatch suitable for race timing
· Portable VHF Radio
· Mobile Telephone
· Approved Personal Floatation Device
· Hand-bearing compass
· Foul-weather equipment
A tape or digital voice recorder is valuable for effectively judging rule 42 (Propulsion) compliance under Appendix P (Immediate Penalties for Breaking Rule 42) or under rule 67 (Rule 42 and Hearing Requirement). Judges are increasingly expected to have a portable VHF radio at events where they will be on the water. Countries outside of the US often have more restrictive laws concerning use of VHF radios. Before taking your VHF outside the US, be sure you know if it’s legal and check with the host club to see if it will be useful.
US SAILING Championships and virtually all junior events require the sailors to wear personal flotation at all times while afloat. Many host organizations also strongly encourage or require all their on-water personnel to wear personal flotation. Rather than rely on whatever might be available on site, judges are encouraged to bring their own flotation where possible.
Photo 4.2. Event of the Future? “Robotic” sailboats (Sailbots) competing at the US Naval Academy. College teams design, build, and race these boats at SailBot competitions. The boats use on-board computers, instrumentation, GPS (and some luck) to steer and trim sails around different courses. The insert (upper right) depicts the relative size of these boats. Even with advances in technology, competitors depend on US SAILING Judges to adjudicate issues and incidents during the event.