More About Redress

Published on August 8th, 2013

By Rob Overton, Chairman of the US Racing Rules Committee
Since my last post on the subject of redress, I’ve received several comments from people I’ve met at regattas, agreeing with me that we should get rid of redress. Maybe there’s more support for this idea than I thought, though of course people who think I’m crazy probably don’t bring it up. If you think we should get rid of redress and be like every other sport in simply accepting unlucky breaks, let people know about it!

In the last post I covered the most common reason for requesting redress – actions or non-actions by race committees, protest committees, organizing authorities, and the like.

In this post we’ll look at the other reasons a boat might request redress.

Rule 62.1 (b)-(d) says a boat may request redress because of:

(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).

Like the rest of rule 62.1, part (b) seems fair on the face of it; but not so fast. The problem with fairness here is that boats that are fouled in such a way that they lose a huge number of places are not eligible for redress unless there was damage, whereas boats that are damaged in perhaps insignificant ways can claim the damage was what hurt their finishing position, and get redress. Rule 62.1(b) does not require that the damage be substantial, the way rules 44.1(b) (taking a penalty) or 60.3(a) (protest committee hearing a protest that would have otherwise been invalid) do.

On the other hand, rule 62.1 requires that the boat’s score was made significantly worse by the damage itself, not just by the incident. So if boat port-tacks you just after the start and puts a hole in your side and it takes 2 minutes to get the boats apart, can you claim redress for that delay? Reading the rule carefully, I’d say not; but I’ll bet most protest committees would say otherwise. If the damage keeps you from sailing on starboard tack until you can duct-tape the hole shut, that’s clearly redressable.

Rule 62.1(c) and (d) are the most defensible part of the redress rule, but the situations these parts describe are so rare that most sailors can go their entire lives without the events listed in this rule even happening.

There’s one other thing about redress we need to look at…read on

Correction to ‘More about Redress’
Posted: 09 Aug 2013 02:32 PM PDT – By Rob Overton
I said about the second Farah Hall prescription, “Basically, it allows a disgruntled loser from a protest hearing to demand a new hearing, …” This is not true. Rule 62.1(a) allows requests for redress for improper actions by protest committees, but adds: “but not by a protest committee decision when the boat was a party to the hearing.” So the disgruntled sailor has to be from a boat that was not party to the hearing. This still allows a boat to take two bites from the apple if she wasn’t a party to the original hearing, but at least she can’t take a third and fourth bite.

I apologize for the error.

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