Terry’s Tip: Lessons from the Protest Room
Published on September 8th, 2015
by Terry Hutchinson, Sailing World
At a recent Farr 40 event, I went into the protest room regarding a decision on the question of whether two boats had reached the three-length zone or if it was a port-starboard situation in the open course. The decision wasn’t in our favor, a painful outcome and yet an opportunity to learn.
Here are a three key lessons to be learned…
Lesson 1: Be prepared with math. Any boat with a computer can yield info regarding boat positioning, speed, and wind speed. In our situation I had an eyewitness who was unbiased and reliable; yet my competition won the protest with well thought out information supported by math, target boat speeds for angles and true wind speed. I learned I need math to back up facts provided by a witness.
Lesson 2: Don’t rely solely on the umpires. In the Farr 40 class, the umpires will blow a whistle if they witness a situation. However, if there’s no whistle, it does not mean there is no foul. In our situation, I mistakenly relied on “no whistle” as an indication of the decision. The DSQ cost us a North American championship; doing a 360 would have cost us three spots. In the heat of the moment it was a tough decision; keeping the big picture in mind will keep you in a regatta-winning mindset.
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