A Competitor’s Bill of Rights
A Competitor’s Bill of Rights
When it comes to dealing with protest and race committees, your rights are clearly defined. "Rules" from our September 2010 issue.
Here are other rights you have, but are less likely to need:
>> If you believe that the race committee scored your boat incorrectly, you can request that they correct the scores. (This is a right commonly given, but not explicitly stated in the rules.)
>> When a race committee error makes it unclear in what direction you should cross the finishing line, you are entitled to the position in which you crossed (See ISAF Cases 45 and 82).
>> When a rule in the notice of race or the sailing instructions, or a race committee signal, is ambiguous, you are entitled to the benefit of the doubt when interpreting it. (This is common practice, but not explicitly stated in the rules.)
>> You have the right not to hail “Protest” right afer an incident if the boat you intend to protest is beyond hailing distance. Also, you have the right not to hail “Protest” and, if your hull is over 6 meters long, the right not to fly a red flag if the incident giving rise to the protest results in damage or injury that is obvious. However, in either case you must at a later time inform the protestee that you intend to protest (Rule 61.1(a)).
>> If you deliver your written protest after the end of protest time, the protest committee must extend the time if you provide them with “good reason to do so” (Rule 61.3).
>> Provided your written protest identifies the incident and when and where it occurred, you have the right to meet the other requirements of Rule 61.2 after you deliver the protest to the protest committee. You can even identify the boat you are protesting afer delivering your protest, provided you do so before the hearing is scheduled to begin (Rule 61.2).
>> If your entry is rejected or cancelled, you have the right to a hearing to argue that you should be allowed to enter. Should you find yourself in this unusual predicament you should carefully study all parts of Rule 76.
>> Prior to the first race of an event, if you believe that a measurement decision or a rule in the notice of race or in the sailing instructions is unfair to you, you may ask the protest committee in writing to meet and consider the problem (No current racing rule requires the protest committee to do so, but such requests have been made at many regattas, including the last America’s Cup, and protest committees usually respond and make things fair, which after all is why they volunteer to serve.)
>> If you are asked to produce a measurement or rating certificate and you cannot do so, you have the right to race and be scored provided you produce the certificate before the end of the event (Rule 78.2).
>> You have the right to be informed if the notice of race is changed (Rule 89.2(a)).
>> You have the right to read the sailing instructions and any changes made to the sailing instructions (Rules 90.2(b) and 90.2(c)).
>> You have the right to be notified if a race you have entered is rescheduled, and you may be permitted to enter a rescheduled race even if you did not enter the original race (Rule 81).
>> If you were not a party to a particular protest or redress hearing and if you later request redress based on the decision made at that hearing, you may ask that a completely new protest committee hear your request, provided that it is practicable to assemble a new committee (New prescription to rule 63.4).
>> You have the right to ask that an interested party step down from an appeals committee that is deciding an appeal that you have made (Rule 71.1).
>> If you appeal, you have the right to send the items listed in Rule F2.2 as soon as possible afer the sending your appeal, even if those items are not sent within the 15-day appeal period.
>> If a protest committee’s decision is appealed by someone other than you, the appeals committee is required to send you the written appeal. You then have the right to send comments on the appeal to the appeals committee within 15 days (Rule F7).
>> If an appeal is decided against you by a local “association appeals committee,” you have the right to appeal that decision to the US SAILING Appeals Committee (Rules F1.3. F2.1 and F8(a)).