What to do with DSQ?
What to do with DSQ?
Is a blanket disqualification for rules infractions really necessary in our sport? Some officials think we’d be better off with a system of graduated penalties. "Rules" from our April 2012 issue.
When a discretionary penalty may be given, the protest committee has two new problems. It must decide just how big a penalty to give. In addition, if its judgment is to be perceived as fair, the penalties it gives must be consistent with one another and perceived by competitors and observers to accurately reflect the seriousness of the offence. To assist protest committees in deciding how big a penalty to give, ISAF’s International Judges have developed the following set of guidelines for the protest committee to follow when discretionary penalties are allowed:
Matters to be considered when deciding on the appropriate penalty include:
• Did the breach compromise the safety of competitors or race organizers?
• Did the boat gain a competitive advantage through her breach?
• Could the breach bring the sport or the organizing authority into disrepute?
• Did the breach result in injury or damage?
• Was there a good reason for the breach?
• Was anybody inconvenienced?
• Was there any attempt to conceal the breach?
• Was the breach a careless or cavalier disregard of the rules?
Any penalty must exceed any possible gain and repeated breaches should normally increase the penalty. A penalty less than DSQ shall not normally be given when the protest committee is satisfied that the breach was deliberate. In such cases the protest committee may also consider action under Rule 2, Fair Sailing, or Rule 69, Gross Misconduct.
If discretionary penalties are to be perceived as fair, the penalty given for a particular infraction must be consistent from one protest hearing to another, from race to race, and from year to year. One way to accomplish this would be to publish on the Internet a database containing reports of discretionary penalties given. For each hearing resulting in a discretionary penalty, the database could contain the rule broken, the facts found, the number of boats in the race, and the penalty given. A protest committee could then consult the database in order to select a penalty for an offence that was consistent with the past history of penalties given for similar offences. It would probably be helpful to divide the database into two sections: one for round-the-buoys races, where most discretionary penalties are a number of points, and the other for major offshore races, where discretionary penalties are usually time penalties.
Should we have a system of applying certain penalties for specific rules violations? Join the discussion.
Appendix L suggests discretionary penalties for:
• Sailing in the starting area during the starting sequence for a class starting before your class.
• Failing to follow a sailing instruction requiring you to check in at the race committee boat before a race or ashore after a race, or to check out when leaving the beach or harbor.
• Failing to notify the race committee when you retire from a race.
• Your coach boat or support boat motoring through the racing area during a race.
• Putting trash in the water.
• Hauling out between races during a regatta when such a haul out is prohibited.
• Using a prohibited means of cleaning your boat’s bottom.
• Making a prohibited radio or phone communication.