Monday, May 28, 2012

"I 5" Redress Decision

SSSS Spring Series Race 4 - May 5th 2012

In race 4 of the South Sound Sailing Society’s Spring Series, I5 requested redress for her score of OCS.  The request was based on the assertion that Improper signaling of Individual Recall and improper timing of the Warning Signal after the AP flag was lowered after a postponement resulted in her being OCS.

Facts Found:
1.      The race is PHRF with 4 classes in 2 starts, I5 was in Class A in the first start
2.      The race was 7.2 nm
3.      Just prior to the start of the race the wind shifted and the RC raised the AP with 2 guns
4.      The following is the sequence of signals made by the RC after adjusting the course for the new wind direction:
·        lowered the AP with 1 gun
·        1 minute later 1 gun was fired and no flags were raised (the RC intended this to be an attention signal 6 minutes prior to the start as required in the Sailing Instructions for the first start in a multi-start race)
·        1 minute later, 5 minutes before the start, 1 gun with raising the class flags for the first Start
·        1 minute later, 4 minutes before the start, 1 horn with raising the P flag
·        3 minutes later and 1 minute prior to the start, 1 horn with lowering the P flag
·        1 minute later at the intended start, 1 gun with lowering the class flags for the first start and raising the class flags for the second start
5.      One minute after the AP was lowered with the second gun, 6 minutes before the start in the sequence given above; I5 set her watch for 5 minutes believing this was the warning signal.  She did not observe any flags at this time and was not aware of the flags that were being flown by the RC at any time during the starting sequence.
6.       5 minutes after I5 set her timer and 1 minute prior to the start she started and several boats headed up to start with her, but after realizing the class flag for their start was still flying the other boats circled back to start. I5 continued to sail up the course.
7.      At the starting signal the RC realized that I5 had started 1 minute early and was not returning, but believed she was too far up the course to be signaled, and did not fly the X flag with one sound signal to indicate an Individual Recall.
8.      I5 was not certain that she was OCS until the results were posted.

Applicable Rules and Cases:
·        SI 7.1 Starting Sequence
·        Race Signals – Postponement Signals
·        Rule 26, Starting Races
·        Rule 29.1, Individual Recall
·        Rule 62, Redress
·        ISAF Cases  31, 71 and 79

To be entitled to redress in accordance with rule 62.1, there are 3 criteria that must be met:
1.      Her score must be made significantly worse in a race or series
2.      In this case there must be an improper action or omission by the RC that caused her score to be made significantly worse
3.      It must be through no fault of her own
All of these criteria must be met or redress cannot be granted by the Protest Committee. 

In this case her score was made significantly worse in the race and there were several improper actions or omissions by the RC during the starting sequence that contributed to I5 being OCS.  The RC did not give the Warning Signal 1 minute after lowering the AP, but instead gave an additional sound signal with a gun at 1 minute after lowering the AP and the Warning Signal was made 2 minutes after lowering the AP.  For a starting sequence following a Postponement the signal for lowering the AP replaces the Attention signal called for in SI 7.1.  Second, the intended Attention signal was made with a gun instead of a horn as specified in SI 7.1.  The gun is preferred for the Warning or Starting signal during the sequence per SI 7.1, other sound signals are to be made with a horn.  Finally, no individual recall signal was made immediately after the starting signal to indicate that I5 was OCS as required by rule 29.1, Individual Recall.

However, I5 did not observe and confirm the flags that were being displayed when she set her timer or at any other time during the starting sequence and, therefore, she has some fault in starting a minute early, since by rule 26 the flags and not the sound signals determine where you are in the sequence.  Unlike the ISAF Cases referenced above, it was obvious, even in the absence of the individual recall signal that I5 was well beyond the line at the starting signal and she could have known she was OCS since the remainder of the fleet started 1 minute after she had started and left the starting area.

I5’s own fault contributed to her score being made significantly worse. Therefore, her request for redress is denied.

Protest Chair – Norman Smit
Committee Member – Rod Tharp

I thought that there were some interesting rules questions regarding the Individual Recall and how it should be made when a boat starts significantly early or in the wrong start so I sent it on to US Sailing for correction or confirmation.  I asked the following questions of the Appeals Committee:

When a boat starts in the wrong start or as in this case, well in advance of the start, is it an improper omission of the RC not to signal an Individual recall?  The concern is that making an individual recall signal shortly after the starting signal will cause those that are near the line, but starting correctly, to be confused by the signal since the boat that is OCS started so early it is not readily apparent why the signal is being made.

If it is an improper omission, it is common practice to omit the individual recall signal and just note the boats as OCS when boats start significantly early or in the wrong start.  What procedures should be used to comply with the rules?

If a RC becomes aware that a boat started in the wrong start by a report from a support vessel well after their start, is it proper to score the boat OCS even though no individual recall signal was made, or is a protest hearing required.

Same question as above, but the report comes from a competitor in another fleet and they do not wish to protest.

Same question as above, but the report comes from a competitor in the same fleet and they do not wish to protest.