Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

Exoneration self-assessed

Nick Taylor
Hi all

I have a problem with the rule 43 in it can be self-assessed.

Both examples I have seen is in radio sail no one did a penalty.

Example 1 Just after the very bias port start. 

 2 boats on port tack and overlapped each other, 2 boats on starboard tack and overlapped each other, the leeward starboard boat on a collision course with the port tackers. The starboard leeward boat tacked to port right in front of the windward starboard boat and there was contact, and this was the only contact no damage. The starboard leeward boat self-claim exoneration 43.1(a) and happily sail on the favoured tack with the other port tack boats. leaving the other starboard boat in stopped in irons. Race finish no penalty taken.

Example 2 very much the same but coming to a windward mark all boats in the zone.

1 boat on port tack on the port layline, 2 boats on starboard close to overlapped leeward clear ahead and on the layline with mark room both starboard boats would have rounded ok it the port boat was not there. Leeward starboard boat head on a collision course with the port boat tacked to port right in front of the windward starboard boat and there was contact, and this was the only contact no damage. The starboard leeward boat self-claim exoneration 43.1(a) by hailing “exoneration”, port boat rounded and the happily sail and the boats rounded later and sailed on. Again race finish no penalty’s taken.

The problems I can’ get my head around are:

1 Can the boat do a tack like that and still claim exoneration? The way I read it rules imply yes she can.

2 RRS 43 does not give any guide’s to inform the offending boat of the breach of rule. or is there any rule / case  that puts the obligation of the boat claiming exoneration to inform the offending boat?

This opens up a can of worms the offending boat may not have known that they have done anything wrong thus no need to do a penalty or not being able to counter protest if not protested. 

Its like passing the blame with out telling them. 

Thanks Nick 

43 EXONERATION
 43.1 (a) When as a consequence of breaking a rule a boat has
 compelled another boat to break a rule, the other boat is
 exonerated for her breach.

(b)When a boat is sailing within the room or mark-room to which
 she is entitled and, as a consequence of an incident with a boat
 required to give her that room or mark-room,she breaks a rule
 of Section A of Part 2, rule 15, 16, or 31, she is exonerated for
 her breach.
 
(c) A right-of-way boat, or one sailing within the room or mark-
 room to which she is entitled, is exonerated for breaking rule
 14 if the contact does not cause damage or injury 
.
 43.2 A boat exonerated for breaking a rule need not take a penalty and
 shall not be penalized for breaking that rule. 



Created: 22-Apr-29 11:45

Comments

P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Nick, I understand your confusion.  The addition of the "is exonerated" wording in the reworded RRS 43 did not functionally change how the RRS’s are applied, but rather codifies the long standing practice and understanding.  

A boat is exonerated for breaking a rule under the conditions described in RRS 43 (a)(b)(c) and can choose to sail-on if the boat those conditions apply to her, BUT their determination, and their lack of a penalty taken at the time of the incident, can be challenged by another boat, RC, or PC (via a valid protest) and later examined by a PC. 

If their exoneration-determination is found incorrect by the PC, and in the examination found that she did not take an appropriate penalty, then her penalty is DSQ instead of a penalty at the time of the incident. 

So, yes, it is her determination to make (exoneration), her decision to make (take a penalty at the time of the incident), and her risk to take (being wrong and risk being DSQ’d). 

Bottom line, as a competitor, you need to protest -Ang
Created: 22-Apr-29 11:55
Thomas Armstrong
Nationality: Chile
Certifications:
  • Club Judge
0
I agree with Angelo. My understanding is also that when an incident occurs, you should feel obligated to protest, as this is the only way to make the rules work correctly for everyone on the water.

But the issue I've found is this - the above is my understanding - others don't see it the same way...  most ouf our fleet skippers (also radio sailboats) feel I am protesting too often, for everything, and this has brought me into the spotlight for making every incident into a protest, being too aggressive. Once I was even told I was being immoral!  (wtf!)

I think our sport is great, and rules should be enforced by all, all the time, to avoid injustice. I think the above principle should be better communicated by World Sailing to all classes, on every possible opportunnity. Thoughts?

Thomas Armstrong
IOM Class - CHI 09
Created: 22-Apr-29 12:53
Murray Cummings
Nationality: New Zealand
0
I think the key point is that a boat claiming exoneration must also be alleging that another boat has broken a rule.
If she does not protest at the time of the incident, then she has made no allegation that the other boat has broken a rule.  Without such allegation, her defence becomes far more difficult should a protest be lodged against her. 

In both the incidents described, the boat claiming exoneration  can only be doing so under rule 43.1(a),  and that carries the added burden of being compelled to break a rule, not just breaking a rule

Murray

Created: 22-Apr-29 14:46
P
John Mooney
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Umpire
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Nick, RRS 43 isn't a special case. In a very real sense, all of the rules of Parts 2 & 4 (and all others which govern what race boats do on the water) are "self-assessed", and all off those assessments are subject to dispute (protest) by other boats; that's what is meant by the phrase "a self-policing sport".

In your two examples, it sounds like the offending boats tacked from starboard onto port in such a way as to cause contact with the windward starboard tackers with which they had been overlapped. It sounds like they tacked too close, but whether they did that or not, if your description is accurate, they became keep clear boats (first tacking boats <RRS 13>, and then port tack boats <RRS 10>) by tacking, and they failed to keep clear. They became keep clear boats as the result of their own actions, so they get no protection from RRS 15, and the right-of-way boats didn't change course, so the tackers get no protection from RRS 16 either.

If the tacking boats' claim was that they had to tack to avoid colliding with the port tackers who were failing to keep clear of them, those are matters for a protest committee (PC) to decide (unless the port tackers were protested and took penalties on the water for their breaches). Case 50 says that when a PC finds that a boat was compelled to break a rule as a result of another boat's breach, they must find that the boat compelled to break a rule was indeed exonerated at the time of the incident, and Case 51 says that if a right of way (starboard tack) boat changes course because she has a "reasonable apprehension of contact" with a keep clear (port tack) boat, the port tacker should be disqualified (again, assuming she took no alternative penalty on the water).

So, there are circumstances where the tacking boats would be exonerated, but either the tacking boats should have protested the port tackers, or the windward starboard boats the tacking boats actually hit should have protested the tacking boats (or preferably, both). If the tacking boats didn't protest the port tack boats they were claiming to have had to avoid, it would be difficult for a PC to determine that the tacking boats were compelled to break a rule by the port tackers they didn't protest (though it would get easier if one of those port tackers took a penalty for her breach without being protested).

The tacking boats' assessment that they were exonerated may well have been wrong, they should probably have been protested by others, and if their actions were as you say they were, either they or the port tackers would likely have been disqualified in a protest hearing, despite their self-assessment that they should have been exonerated for their breaches.
Created: 22-Apr-29 14:58
Robert Willams
Nationality: United States of America
0
As John mentioned the real issue here is no one protested. Starboard Leeward (SL) did not hail the port tack boats but was quick to hail out "exoneration."   Starboard leeward should have hailed the port tackers as a curtesy and once they did not avoid him as the ROW boat, he should have protested the port tackers.  SW should have protested SL so this could have been ironed out by a protest committee.  
As Murray Cummins stated, my comment about  RRS 20 was wrong  because SL was ROW over the port tackers and RRS 20 is not applicable.  I deleted the reference to RRS 20.  Thanks Murray for the correction. 
Created: 22-Apr-29 15:10
Murray Cummings
Nationality: New Zealand
1
Hi Robert,
If SL hailed for "room to tack", she would break rule 20.1.  A port tack boat is not an obstruction to a starboard tack boat 


Created: 22-Apr-29 15:32
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
So why did starboard leeward boat choose to collide with the ROW boat, rather than with the keep clear port tacker?
Created: 22-Apr-29 16:21
Bob Lewis
Nationality: Canada
0
Hi Philip,
I was the leeward boat in almost the same situation at an IOM regatta two weeks ago. The thing is that this incident takes about .2 seconds in an IOM.  All I saw was that I was about to smash a very expensive, near new and fast red New Zealand imported boat at right angles.  I think the message from my eyes went straight to my thumb to head up hard and I contacted the windward starboard boat knocking them about as well.  I immediately hailed protest on the port tack boat, the starboard windward boat hailed a protest on me and I hailed back that I was claiming exoneration.  I don’t know if any turns were done as the true offending yacht was farther up the line as I think the red boat might have been forced about too.  In retrospect, you could say that the likelihood of any damage was much lower by hitting the bow of the windward starboard boat than hitting the port tack boat at a near 90 degree angle  so it probably was the best thing to do in any case.
Created: 22-Apr-29 18:15
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
Agreed, Bob.
Someone needs to take that port tacker aside for some "enlightenment."  :)
Created: 22-Apr-29 18:41
Aldo Balelli
Nationality: Italy
Certifications:
  • National Race Officer
  • National Judge
0
To clarify 43.1 a), mind the word "compelled"
The starboard boat that tacked in the nose of the other starboard windward boat, definitively broke RRS 13. 
Then, about exoneration: was she compelled to do that? Did she have the possibility to just bear away to avoid the port tack boat? Or loosen sail and slow down?  Or just luff, remainig within her rights of rule 11? If she could, she should have done it. 
And then, protest. 
A boat cannot deliberately break a rule, pretending being exonerated because another boat also broke a rule. 
Created: 22-Apr-29 20:06
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
Compelled to minimize damage is legitimate.

Created: 22-Apr-29 20:10
Aldo Balelli
Nationality: Italy
Certifications:
  • National Race Officer
  • National Judge
0
and that shouting "exoneration" sounds to me like intimidation, "don't think about protesting me".
It smells of RRS 2. 
Created: 22-Apr-29 20:12
Nick Taylor
0
Thanks for the great response, guys

Philp & Aldo asked “So why did starboard leeward boat choose to collide with the ROW boat, rather than with the keep clear port tacker?”
Example 1 would be on the header tack and example 2 she would have missed the mark. Both her actions helped her tacitly as well rule 14.

Question does RRS 43 cover above if SL missing the mark and how? I don't think so and be covered under redress?

Maybe the rule 43.2 should be.

43.2 A boat exonerated for breaking a rule need not take a penalty and
  shall not be penalized for breaking that rule when one of the following are meet. 

(a) The offending boat is made aware of the incident buy admission or protested upon.

(b)  The offending boat is exonerated herself by yet other boat actions.   

Or words to that affect.

Thanks Nick

Created: 22-Apr-29 22:06
John Ball
Nationality: Canada
0
The thrust of the original question in this thread is ‘can a boat self-exonerate’.

I would say ‘No’.

R43 says that you are exonerated if another boat breaks a rule. However a boat involved in the incident does not have the authority to decide if a rule was broken. 

A hail of protest is an allegation that a rule was broken. 

If you hail protest, you are passing the responsibility for the decision to a protest committee. However a boat involved may choose to take a penalty to negate the need for the hearing and this may allow you to assume that you are exonerated. However the hearing may still happen and you may still be penalised if found at fault as you did not take a penalty.

John

Created: 22-Apr-30 16:15
Aldo Balelli
Nationality: Italy
Certifications:
  • National Race Officer
  • National Judge
0
Yes, she can.
Otherwise, what's the point? Take a penalty, anyway ? The point is just that: not to take a penalty. 
And, if protested, and it happen that the exoneration was incorrect, she'll be penalized in the hearing.
 
SPORTSMANSHIP AND THE RULES
A fundamental principle of sportsmanship is that when a boat breaks a rule and is not exonerated she will promptly take an appropriate penalty or action 
Created: 22-May-01 18:30
Justin Scott
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Judge
0
At the starting line;

If SW and SL did not protest, then there is nothing for us to rule on.

If SW protests, then provided we have been given all the relevant facts, P breaks rule 10 and is dsq. SL breaks 10 or 13 and is exonerated.  In hindsight SW should have tacked and protested. 

@Aldo raises the more interesting point on the thread regarding the word "compelled".  I have had to moderate 2 protests where exoneration was challenged focusing on the word "compelled". . The more interesting situation was similar to your windward mark incident except SW and SL were overlapped.. But the concept was the same. The  protesting party (SW)  agreed that SL tacked to avoid a boat on port, P and that P was breaking rule 10.. The facts were not in dispute. SW advocated (1) Since SL was going to hit one of two boats, she should have chosen to hit P, (the KC boat) and not SW (the ROW boat), SW argued that when faced with a choice where she is going to hit a boat whatever she does, then she is not "compelled"  to hit the ROW boat and MUST choose to hit the KC boat.   (2) SL cannot claim she was compelled to tack in order to comply with Rule 14 , because SL is NOT avoiding contact with another boat.

In principle, when a ROW boat is faced with a situation where there is going to be in an unavoidable collision, I will rule that she was compelled to break a rule and she gets to choose which rule she breaks. It happens a lot in the zone and the ROW boat often doesnt have time to do careful analysis, she just wants to minimize damage.

But in my case, there was a twist.

SW was laying the mark. SL was not laying the mark. SL was essentially gifted a pick by P.   SL tacked to avoid hitting P and protested P immediately, SW tacked to avoid hitting SL and protested SL.  SL rounded ahead of SW. P took penalty turns.

How would you have ruled?


How would you have ruled if this was team racing?           
Created: 22-May-02 01:55
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Thomas re: "[ ...] this has brought me into the spotlight for making every incident into a protest, being too aggressive. Once I was even told I was being immoral!  (wtf!) ... I think our sport is great, and rules should be enforced by all, all the time, to avoid injustice."

Unfortunately, fear of "stigma" is a powerful negative force in the sport of sailing. Being a self-policing sport, its avoidance leads to erosion of the culture of sportsmanship and fair play.  The only cure for it is to not give a #$*! what others think of you when you know you are doing the right thing.   When you stand up for the rules, you are not only protecting fair sailing for yourself, but every other competitor on the water .. even if their boat is on the opposite side of the course when the incident happens.

Feel free to share the thing I wrote on this precise subject a while back.  “I owe you one”, “Was MY score effected?”, “Not-Worthiness” and “Stigma”; Four Mindsets Eroding Fair-Sailing in Club-Level Racing.

Also, I've had a lot of success walking people through the following diagram to let them understand how unfair it is to "just be friendly" and let people get away with breaking the rules.  The truly "friendly" thing is for the unexonerated-rule-breaker to take their penalty with out a fuss and not put others into socially awkward pressured situation.

What I've found is that people in general aren't thinking about the bigger effect on fairness to others .. and only focus on the boats directly involved.  Not all minds can be opened .. but it's worth a try.


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Created: 22-May-07 21:03
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