Monday, November 1, 2010


Lasers hail “protest”.

Lake Eustis had a Youth Regatta this past weekend and it is worth reporting we had two protests that were judged invalid because rule 61.1 was not followed— “she shall hail ‘Protest’ and display a red flag” 61.1(a)(2) “less than 6 meters, need not display a red flag.” (Maybe Flying Scots need the red flag at the ready.) Note that it takes 60 rules before you get to that one. (And Sam doesn’t even have it in his simplified free rule book, yet.)

Since the big rule change about 12 years ago with rules 14, 15, and 16 included to stop boats from bumping into each other, protests have gone way down and maybe learning the rules have suffered also.

In the protest business it is often a fifty-fifty thing, about who is right. Maybe the protest committee just flips a coin, and decides who to throw out.

So if someone hails (shouts) “protest” at you, you have an opportunity to do the 720 turns or go to protest meeting. In our own Laser fleet we have not had a any protests. Folks do 360 and 720 turns and we keep sailing. We could make up a P committee, when ever we need one.

If you get tangled up in a boat to boat conflict, it slows you progress around the course and interferes with watching the wind, watching other boats, and stay on the lifted tack to the next mark. You generally do better to keep sailing fast, and not worry about one person that doesn’t know the rules yet. Some time though, you will think you need to protest someone, or someone that “hails” protest to you– and you would rather run the risk of the flip of the protest committees coin to doing the 720 turns. Remember if the P committee throws you out you get worse than last place. A couple of turns maybe will loose you a couple of places and maybe none..

So we should have “a make believe protest and hearing” so our youth and “not so youth” can see how it works? Maybe a Saturday after the racing. Serve ice cream so we can keep the youth around?


  1. Lack of protests is the same everywhere - no one at our club can even remember where the protest forms are kept!

    I attended a rules seminar last week, not sure if this is an ISAF thing or just the RYA (UK), but I understand they are going to try 2 new levels of dispute resolution.

    1. Level 1 - informal, no protest form required, no witnesses allowed, a single 3rd party gathers evidence then decides on what rules have been broken and who is in the wrong. The boat that has broken the rules is invited to take a 20% penalty, but this is not binding. shouldn't take longer than 10 mins max.

    2. Level 2 - more formal, protest form must be completed. Again I believe only one person sits in judgement. The difference is that the 20% penalty is now enforceable.

    Finally, if either party is still not happy, then it goes to a full protest.

  2. Tim, thanks for that infomation. In USA someplaces have had some sort of quick hearing to sort out easy protests before a longer session. A move, I think to get results finalized a little quicker.

  3. 1. It is a shame to discourage protests in local sailing. The discussions are a quick way to learn the rules.
    2. It would be a mistake to let the protesting yacht have a nice discussion of the situation before committing his statement to paper.