A discussion of do-overs, mulligans, and other well-intended solutions

Published on May 15th, 2013

By Rob Overton, Chairman of the US Racing Rules
This posting is about redress. Before we get into this topic, let me be clear – if I could, I’d remove redress from the rulebook altogether. No other sport’s rules include the concept that somehow when things go bad on the field of play the results of the game or match or whatever should be set aside.

The star player for a basketball team goes up for a shot and a player on the other team undercuts him. He lands wrong and breaks his wrist. There is a penalty against the other player, but that’s it. Suppose after the game the injured player’s team were to request “redress”, asking the league to erase the game and play it again after they’ve found another star to replace the injured player. That would be crazy, right? Yet that’s exactly what the Racing Rules of Sailing allow. We should remove that provision from the rulebook and bring our sport in line with “real” sports, where competitors simply take bad luck, injuries and bad calls as part of life, and live with it.

But, like it or not, our rules do have a provision for redress. Rule 62.1 says:

“A request for redress or a protest committee’s decision to consider redress shall be based on a claim or possibility that a boat’s score in a race or series has been or may be, through no fault of her own, made significantly worse by
(a) an improper action or omission of the race committee, protest committee, organizing
authority, equipment inspection committee or measurement committee for the event,
but not by a protest committee decision when the boat was a party to the hearing;
(b) injury or physical damage because of the action of a boat that was breaking a rule of
Part 2 or of a vessel not racing that was required to keep clear;
(c) giving help (except to herself or her crew) in compliance with rule 1.1; or
(d) an action of a boat, or a member of her crew, that resulted in a penalty under rule 2 or
a penalty or warning under rule 69.2(c).”

In this blog posting, we’ll look just at the first paragraph of rule 62.1 and subsection (a). Subsections (b)-(d) will be considered in a separate posting. Read on: racingrulesblog.blogspot.com/2013/05/redress.htm

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