Monday, October 3, 2011

Outside Assistance

I have never really believed all these tales of Outside Assistance. Coaches, who are supposed to be telling their sailors which way to go up the beat by the colour of cap they wear, or the like. I have always felt that the sailor has to make the decisions and the coach is as likely to be as wrong as the sailor. It's just one more thing for them to think about.

So when I am not particularly sympathetic when I get a request for redress because, at a team racing event, someone on the shore told the other team to tack. The crowds had been shouting "come on Fred" in a number of races - was that tactical advice? or was it more likely to upset the sailor and disturb his concentration? (I know I hate being cheered on, sailing is not that sort of sport.)

Anyhow, the complaints were made and there was about 20 minutes of discussion before we got a panel together. We then discovered that despite a sailing instruction saying that protests must be submitted in writing within 10 minutes of coming ashore there was nothing in writing for us to go on. (Lesson 1 - read the SI's. Lesson 2 put it in writing anyway any scrap of paper will do these days; if it ain't in writing it don't exist and the piece of paper is the basis for any further action)

Everyone had been saying "We want redress" but, as usual, when we came to examine rule 62 there were no grounds for redress. What we were dealing with was actually a protest - redress could only be given if we imposed a rule 2 penalty or discplinary action under Rule 69.

I also discovered that had we held a hearing, the sailors would have had to present it, rather than the team managers, as per rule 63.3 (I had thought this only applied to part 2 protests - it doesn't) of course we might have had good reason to waive this - but the point is that life is a continuous learning process.

Anyway the matter went away as the teams accepted that any hearing would find the protest invalid, since no protest flag was flown at the time, as requireds by the Team Racing Appendix - apart from the matter of whether it was lodged properly and in time. Finally we got on with the racing.

I thought it very droll when a fellow judge commented "Doesn't it take you back to the old days, when most teaam races were settled in the protest room six hours after everyone else had gone home"

Nostalga isn't always good.