Protest hearing, 30/12/2012

Venue: St George Sailing Club

Event: Manly Junior Nationals

Event website

Video of Incident


Comments after the Protest Hearing, by Protest Chair (Not an official part of hearing or conclusions)

The complexity of this incident is not one that Protest committees look forward to.

The combination of strong tide (1~2 knots) and lightish (5~10 knots) winds makes going around marks tricky

Congratulations to all the competitors who conducted themselves professionally and were well mannered in the protest proceedings. It was not an easy environment considering the number of people that were crowded around the (large) table.


Role of Jury

The role of protest committee is to consider an incident that is reported to it via the protest process. For this reason it (the committee) only considered what rules may or may not have been broken that led to the particular incident. It is able to explore other boats involvement but only in relation to the incident listed. So other rules that may have been broken that did not impact onto the incident were ignored. On a personal note, I think that in junior sailing there is room to improve this but also understand that by introducing a "referee" that can simply see an incident and independantly make a decision would change the game.


Establishing overlap

As a sailor, umpire and jury member, I know how difficult it can be to judge and prove overlaps (or not) coming into a mark. Significant care needs to be taken when boats are approaching a mark from different angles. As boats were approaching the mark and reached the 3 lengths the angle off their stern (including rudder) may have included boats that appeared not to have room by simply judging "distance to the mark". This is a common problem with slower boats turning to go to the mark, but are not yet in the 3 length zone. It is compunded many times when there is a "pack" of boats (as the outside boats may be turning to round the mark, but still outside 3 lengths) and again even more if the speed of the boats is significantly different.

Of note the decision of overlap is made at 3 lengths, not at 1 (or less) length. When some boats are "stopped" and others are moving it can be extra tricky.

In this incident with the tide and wind speeds, the boats almost stopped when they turned to go straight downwind. Any boat coming in at the "normal" angle was going considerably faster.


General comments

Providing "mark room" to a pack of boats is difficult at the best of times, and may be really difficult in adverse conditions like strong tides however under rule 18 that is what must be done unless she is unable to do so at the time the overlap was first established.

Congratulations to the boat(s) out wide that chose to stay clear and give room.


During this regatta many boats did hit marks and many voluntarily did their penalty turn which was brilliant, I can only encourage any boat that hits a mark to do their turn as it may make a huge difference later.

Short term pain for long term gain, same can be said for any boat breaking a rule.


Video Evidence

Video evidence can be tricky and much care needs to be taken on what it shows. In particular, the depth (distance away from the camera) is impossible to judge unless other things are involved. eg, at one point it appears that a boat is overlapped with another ... until it changes sides with the other boat. Another caution is when the location or angle of the video is changing. It can however very effectively show distances across the screen and in this video because of the angles, distances between boats. In this video it also allowed an easy way to identify other boats that may have been involved in the incident.


Developing Skills will have "current simulation" in its games shortly (over the next few weeks) to help sailors understand the effect of current.

I have never used so many model sailing boats in a protest room or during training ... thanks to Noel Allen in Australia for making the model set. He can be contacted on this E-mail address: ppillare(a)bigpond 

Thanks to Ally for taking, then making the video available.

Many thanks to the other members of the jury who gave up their time away from their sailors to hear this protest.



taken from the top mark looking toward the wing mark, showing the tide effect. Taken at similar (but not same) time as incident.


Click image to show full res 3MB version

Protest Details

Race Number:


Protesting Boat:


Protested Boat:



Bouyroom at wing mark


The protest sufficiently met the protest requirements to be valid: hail ("protesting" rather than "protest"), flag, report to finish boat, written submission on time.

A Mediation Hearing was held at approx 9am on 30/12/12 at which the mediator chose to proceed to a protest hearing

An announcement was made at the competitors briefing that a protest was being heard and that it would be in the interests of the following boats to be at the hearing: 2765, 2782, 2755, 2783, 2719, 2778, 2659, 2746 and possibly other boats, and at a later time: 2746.

A video of the incident was made available to the competitors prior to the hearing being opened

The decision was made to hold the protest as an open hearing for 2 reasons:

1. As an education process for all boats

2. There was a (strong) possibility that a boat other than 2 boats named may have a decision ruled against them, therefore it was fairer for all boats to hear all statements and have the opportunity to state their case.

Witness statements were accepted from the skipper of each boat (9), Crew of 2 boats, adults on 3 seperate boats (Spectator boat, official wing mark boat, start boat (that happened to be driving past at the time)), plus a video taken from the start boat.

Facts Found:

A "pack" of boats approched the wing mark, sailing downwind, against a significant current.

The "pack" included: 2765, 2782, 2755, 2653, 2783, 2719, 2778, 2659

2746 approached the mark at a different angle to the rest, from (approximately) the direction of the last mark.

Contact between gunwhales (or hand to gunwhale) included the following boats: 2782/2755, 2755/2753, 2719/2783, 2755/2653, 2719/2659, 2746/2755, 2746/2782, 2653/2783, 2719/2782, 

The following boats Contacted the mark: 2755, 2746, 2653

Other contact (boat to boat and boat to mark) may have occurred.

2719 as one of the outside boats steered a course that did not allow other boats inside her to provide room to other boats inside them.

After passing the mark on the wrong side, 2755 returned to re-round the mark 

There was no significant damage or physical injury on any boats


2755 was forced onto the wrong side of the mark by the actions (in turn) of 2653 (being further outside ... bfo ), 2783  (bfo), 2719 (bfo)

2755 completed the course in relation to this mark.

Various boats broke rules but were exonerated as they were forced to do so by other boat(s) breaking rules.

Other boats may have broken rules during the rounding, however these did not directly impact onto the protest incident between 2755 & 2653 and were ignored.

Rules Applicable

18.2a, 64.1a, 64.1c, 28.1a


2719 is scored DSQ for race 4

As there was no damage or injury, 2755 request for redress was denied

Protest Jury Members

Kingsley Forbes-Smith (chair)

Trent Barnabas

Dean Souter


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