COMMENTARY: A Question about Redress

Published on August 13th, 2013

By Andrew Morgan – RCYC:
I’d love to hear any comments on the types of redress given and how they compare. Specifically, why two boats involved in the same 61.2(c) might be awarded different redress? Are there standards that a jury can refer to when deciding on redress? What is the best redress to ask? Is this a smart this to do?

Some background…

I was in the unfortunate/fortunate position of picking up a man-overboard. Sailing Sharks (24 foot, 3 person, one design keelboat) in approximately 25 kts, race two and we were 4th around the first windward. Approximately 2/3rd of the way down the first run the 3rd place boat lost their bow woman during a gybe and she popped up in the water when her inflatable triggered just in front of us.

My crew did an amazing job of calling the man overboard and automatically dousing the chute without being prompted. When I turned towards the person they did all the right things on the boat and for the “head” in the water. We did a text book recovery in a very short time frame; I am very very proud of their crew work and the service we performed; one of the highlights of my sailing career.

Another boat, several positions back, also dropped their chute but continued down the course, under main alone; when they saw how quickly we were able to pick the woman up their jib was quickly pulled out (we mostly use furling).

We rounded the leeward mark, mostly by coincidence, and proceeded to the woman’s boat and dropped her off. We continued racing as we don’t get too many opportunities to race 35 boat fleets in big breeze. From what I remember, we were able to pull off a 9 or 10 in that race. I have no idea how the other responder finished, not that it makes any difference.

My quandary is about the redress that was given. The other responders request for redress was heard first and they were given average points for the day. During our redress hearing, we were commended for the job we did, and I was asked what redress I was looking for. I asked for our position in the race at the time of the MOB. After the committee discussed the redress, when I was recalled, I was told “you are going to be disappointed with the result.”

I didn’t know what to expect. Our position in the race was denied as it was too early in the race to award that position. The redress granted was average points for the regatta (not for the day). With a 2, RDS, 1 – we were leading the regatta by a couple of points, enough that if we had our position at the time of the MOB we would still have been leading. Day two brought very light and a fluky Humber Bay winds and a single race that we clawed our way to an 11th.

The end result was scoring a 2, RDS(5), 1, 11 for 19 points … good enough for 4th place. If we had been awarded average for the day or the position in the race we would have maintained our lead and won the regatta, but because of the redress and a mediocre result in a single fluky race we were off the podium. If you look at the numbers the final race, where we placed 11th, it actually counted for 14.5 points.

Yes, some sour grapes, but I still count the skill and boat handling that we exhibited as a highlight of my 35 years of racing.

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