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World Sail­ing re­de­fines its rules and ram­i­fi­ca­tions re­gard­ing sup­port per­sons, and the practice of play­ing tac­ti­cal of­fense.

O World Sail­ing held its an­nual con­fer­ence in Mex­ico in Novem­ber 2017 with a week of meet­ings in­volv­ing sev­eral hun­dred del­e­gates from all prom­i­nent sail­ing coun­tries. There were many pro­pos­als to modify the racing rules dis­cussed and voted upon, and for the most part, pro­pos­als that were ac­cepted will not take ef­fect un­til Jan­uary 1, 2021, when the next re­vi­sion of The Racing

Rules of Sail­ing is pub­lished. How­ever, there is a process for mak­ing “ur­gent” changes ef­fec­tive at an ear­lier date, and this year that process re­sulted in ur­gent changes to one def­i­ni­tion and three rules. All of these changes be­come ef­fec­tive Jan­uary 1, 2018.

The pri­mary rea­son for the changes was to pro­vide a fair method for han­dling in­ci­dents in which a coach, par­ent or other sup­port per­son breaks a rule. Rule 64.4( b), which came into ef­fect in Jan­uary 2017, per­mit­ted the protest com­mit­tee to pe­nal­ize a boat — with­out a hear­ing — when the boat’s sup­port per­son broke a rule ( see Sail­ing World Septem­ber/ Oc­to­ber 2017). Many sailors and race of­fi­cials ar­gued that pe­nal­iz­ing a boat with­out a hear­ing was not ac­cept­able. U. S. Sail­ing wrote to all U. S. Sail­ing judges strongly urg­ing them to never pe­nal­ize a boat un­der Rule 64.4( b) for a rules breach by her sup­port per­son and, later, sup­ported pro­pos­als to World Sail­ing to change the rules that per­mit­ted such a penalty.

Four changes for 2018 clearly fix the prob­lem U.S. Sail­ing iden­ti­fied. The changes also es­tab­lish a clear process to be fol­lowed when­ever the protest com­mit­tee re­ceives a re­port al­leg­ing a sup­port per­son has bro­ken a rule. Here’s a sum­mary of the four changes World Sail­ing made:

Q A new rule, Rule 63.9, has been added, which spec­i­fies a process the protest com­mit­tee must fol­low when it re­ceives, un­der Rule 60.3(d), a re­port al­leg­ing that a sup­port per­son has bro­ken a rule. The com­mit­tee must first de­cide whether the re­port is suf­fi­ciently con­vinc­ing that a hear­ing should be called. If so, the com­mit­tee must con­duct the hear­ing fol­low­ing the pro­ce­dures spec­i­fied in Rules 63.2, 63.3, 63.4 and 63.6. This is the same pro­ce­dure that is fol­lowed in a protest or re­dress hear­ing, but with one dif­fer­ence. For a hear­ing in­volv­ing a sup­port per­son, the protest com­mit­tee may ap­point a “pros­e­cu­tor” — a per­son who will present the case against the sup­port per­son. In the case of a protest or a re­quest for re­dress, the role of pros­e­cu­tor is played by the pro­tes­tor or the boat re­quest­ing re­dress.

Q Sec­tion ( e) of the def­i­ni­tion Party has been ex­panded. For any hear­ing in­volv­ing a sup­port per­son, the par­ties to the hear­ing are: the sup­port per­son al­leged to have bro­ken a rule, any boat that sup­port per­son sup­ports, and the pros­e­cu­tor. This change means that if a hear­ing is held be­cause a coach, a par­ent or any other sup­port per­son may have bro­ken a rule, ev­ery boat that that per­son sup­ports is en­ti­tled to be rep­re­sented dur­ing the hear­ing, and will have all the rights a protes­tee would have in a protest hear­ing. Boats can no longer be pe­nal­ized with­out hav­ing the chance to de­fend them­selves. The change to the def­i­ni­tion Party ad­dresses U. S. Sail­ing’s pri­mary com­plaint that un­der the pre­vi­ous rule a boat could be pe­nal­ized with­out a hear­ing if her sup­port per­son broke a rule.

Q Pre­vi­ously, Rule 64.4( b) re­ferred to a penalty given to a com­peti­tor as a re­sult of a breach of a rule by a sup­port per­son. That did not make sense. A re­gatta is a con­test be­tween boats, and each boat en­tered is scored and can be pe­nal­ized. When a com­peti­tor breaks a rule, his or her boat re­ceives the penalty. Rule 64.4(b) has been re­worded so that only boats, and not com­peti­tors, re­ceive pe­nal­ized. In ad­di­tion, re­vised Rule 64.4( b)( 2) states that the warn­ing de­scribed in that rule must be given in writ­ing.

Q There are now four types of hear­ings: protest hear­ings, re­dress hear­ings, hear­ings fol­low­ing re­ports un­der Rule 69 al­leg­ing mis­con­duct, and hear­ings fol­low­ing a re­port un­der Rule 60.3(d) al­leg­ing that a sup­port per­son has bro­ken a rule. Be­cause protest hear­ings and hear­ings un­der rule 60.3(d) are not the same, a tech­ni­cal change was nec-

World Sail­ing adopts a fair process for de­cid­ing when to pe­nal­ize a boat if the coach breaks a rule.

es­sary — Rule 64.4(b) was added to the list of rules in Rule 63.1.

The full text of these changes to the racing rules is avail­able now on the World Sail­ing web­site ( go to: sail­­in­grules/doc­u­ments and click on the link to Changes and Cor­rec­tions).

The World Sail­ing Racing Rules Com­mit­tee pub­lishes The Case Book, which con­tains au­thor­i­ta­tive in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the racing rules. Ev­ery year new cases are added to it, and oc­ca­sion­ally an old case is re­vised. Dur­ing 2017 meet­ings in Mex­ico, World Sail­ing made changes in an old case, Case 78, which will af­fect the tac­tics that can be used in ma­jor races for Olympic classes, as well as in some lo­cal races.

Case 78 con­cerns tac­tics, usu­ally ap­plied near the end of a se­ries, in which one boat, with­out break­ing any rule of Part 2, closely cov­ers an­other for an ex­tended pe­riod of time in or­der to drive the other boat well back in the fleet. The case ad­dresses the ques­tion: When are such tac­tics “in com­pli­ance with rec­og­nized prin­ci­ples of sports­man­ship and fair play” and, there­fore, con­sis­tent with Rule 2, Fair Sail­ing?

From 2013 to 2017, Case 78 stated that such tac­tics do not break Rule 2 pro­vided “there is a sport­ing rea­son” for us­ing them. At re­cent ma­jor re­gat­tas for Olympic classes, that test has caused prob­lems. For ex­am­ple, some national au­thor­i­ties use their sailors’ scores at a con­ti­nen­tal cham­pi­onship to se­lect mem­bers of their national team or to se­lect a boat that will qual­ify to rep­re­sent their na­tion at a fu­ture event. Of­ten, the de­tails of such a se­lec­tion pro­ce­dure are con­fi­den­tial, and as a re­sult, it is not pos­si­ble for the protest com­mit­tee at the con­ti­nen­tal cham­pi­onship to de­cide whether a boat that used close cov­er­ing tac­tics had a sport­ing rea­son for do­ing so.

An­other prob­lem­atic sit­u­a­tion hap­pened at a re­cent event in which Boat A had clinched first place be­fore the last race of the se­ries. After the start of the fi­nal race, Boat A drove Boat B, at the time sec­ond in the stand­ings, way back in the fleet, with the re­sult that B ended up in fourth after the last race. Boat B then protested A for break­ing Rule 2, and the helms­man of A gave as his sport­ing rea­son for us­ing the tac­tics: “I wanted to practice those tac­tics.” The protest com­mit­tee ac­cepted A’s rea­son as a sport­ing rea­son and did not find that A broke Rule 2, but many peo­ple thought A’s tac­tics were not fair play.

Be­cause of these is­sues, World Sail­ing has changed the cri­te­rion for de­cid­ing whether ex­tended close cov­er­ing vi­o­lates Rule 2. Ef­fec­tive Jan­uary 1, 2018, the cri­te­rion will be whether the cov­er­ing tac­tics “ben­e­fit [ the boat’s] fi­nal rank­ing in the event.” Clearly, Boat A’s close cov­er­ing of Boat B in the ex­am­ple above would break Rule 2 be­cause there was noth­ing she could have done in the last race to ben­e­fit or im­prove her fi­nal rank­ing in the event. Also, boats will no longer be able to point to pro­ce­dures for national team se­lec­tion or qual­i­fi­ca­tion for a fu­ture event to jus­tify ex­tended in­ter­fer­ence with an­other boat.

This could af­fect you in your lo­cal sail­ing se­ries. Many clubs com­bine the stand­ings of boats in sev­eral week­end events to cre­ate a sea­son or to pick a sea­sonal club cham­pion. The im­pli­ca­tion of the change in Case 78 will be that a boat sail­ing in a par­tic­u­lar week­end event may use ex­tended close cov­er­ing only when it will ben­e­fit her stand­ing in that week­end event. Ex­tended close cov­er­ing that does not ben­e­fit her stand­ing in the week­end event can no longer be jus­ti­fied on the grounds that it im­proves her stand­ing in the sea­son se­ries.

The full text of re­vised Case 78 is, or will soon be, avail­able on the World Sail­ing web­site (go to: sail­­in­grules/doc­u­ments and click on the link to The Case Book). Q


World Sail­ing has changed the cri­te­rion for de­cid­ing whether ex­tended close cov­er­ing vi­o­lates Rule 2.

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