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Penalizing a Fair Sailing Violation

Published on October 16th, 2018

The World Sailing Annual Conference, the biggest gathering of the world governing body for the sport of sailing, comes to the USA in 2018 to hold its meetings on October 27 to November 4 in Sarasota, Florida.

Online details reveal several hot topics, one of which is a submission from the Chairman of Race Officials Committee to remove the ambiguity and potential inconsistency that has arisen from the two options for a penalty in Racing Rule 2, the fair sailing rule.

The proposal requests the change below:

A boat and her owner shall compete in compliance with recognized principles of sportsmanship and fair play. A boat may be penalized under this rule only if it is clearly established that these principles have been violated. The penalty shall be either disqualification or a disqualification that is not excludable.

The reasons for this change are:

1. The 2017-2020 rulebook introduced a simple disqualification as an additional option for a penalty for a breach of rule 2. This change implied that there are now two options for penalties: DSQ or DNE. This change has introduced confusion among judges as to the cases in which the two penalties should be applied. Such confusion has introduced inconsistency between protest committees, as the same breach is penalised differently across different events.

2. When the change was discussed before being approved, it was promised that a Case or Q&A would be made to clarify when the two penalties should be used. Unfortunately, that has not happened, and this leads to the inconsistency in the application of the rule stated above.

3. The International Judges Sub-committee has worked on guidelines for when the two penalties should be applied. During that, it turned out that a vast majority of judges would always give a DNE once it was decided that rule 2 was broken. Thus there is no practical need for the DSQ option. Fair sailing is a fundamental principle in our sport, and if a boat breaks the Fair Sailing rule, the penalty should always be a DNE, to clearly differentiate this breach from breaches of most other rules.

4. This submission removes the ambiguity by deleting the DSQ option.

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