Protests Information
by Emmet Dalton

 
More information on the Protest Process >>
 
A volunteer force of panel members are scheduled to hear protests during the season. When a protest is lodged, the relevant panel and parties to the protest are contacted by the club (normally 5 days in advance) and given notice of the hearing.

A one-design protest is adjudicated upon by non one-design sailors and vice versa. Protests are normally held on the Thursday of the week following the race in question. This may change due to various circumstances but every effort is made to stick to the "Following Thursday" format.


On the panels list CRS indicates the panel which will officiate over Cruiser racing protests.
OD indicates the panel which will deal with One Design protests. If you are a One Design sailor, you will deal with Cruiser protests, so that a level of impartiality can be shown.

The Observer is also a volunteer who has shown a willingness to learn how a protest is run, with a view to becoming a panel member in the next year or so. Any number of Observers are welcome, with prior agreement of the Chairman. If you wish to attend a protest hearing as an Observer, feel free to contact the Chairman of that meeting.

Protest Form

You can download the above Protest Form or one can be picked up in the document holder on the ground floor of the building, beside the main office (Sketch opposite).

It is recommended that you have a form on your boat or in your kit bag, to complete it as soon as possible whilst the facts are fresh in your mind. You should consider having a form as part of your racing equipment just as important as your protest flag or course card.

 
When completing a protest form, be precise and neat. Remember, when completing your diagram, that the wind should be from the top of the page and each square represents one boat length. If needs be, attach a separate page, giving further information or additional diagrams.

The protest form should be lodged in the Protest Box, on the ground floor of the building, beside the main stairs (Sketch above). It is a small brown box hung from the wall.

The Hearing
The Club will inform those involved of the whereabouts of their copy, the date, time and location of the hearing. Parties to the protest will receive a copy of the protest, either by email or by collecting a copy from behind the bar.

Arrive in plenty of time along with your witnesses. Try not to wander too far away from the hearing room. The protest panel members will not go looking all over the club for you, particularly if there are a number of protests to get through. If possible, please give a mobile number on the protest form.

You will be introduced to the panel and, according to your rights under the Racing Rules of Sailing, you may object to the presence of any member of the panel if you feel that member may be prejudicial to your case. In our club, it is possible that you may know the members of the panel already and you may have even sailed with them before. It is almost impossible to put up a panel who will be completely unknowledgeable of your class or its sailors, so bear this in mind. If you wish to exercise your right to request a change of the panel, this will be respected and considered before proceeding.

The hearing, including witness statements and adjudication, takes approximately one hour. Depending on the complexity of the protest, this may be longer or shorter but allow yourself time. It is requested that those attending protests, either as protestor, protestee or witnesses, do not come into the room with alcohol. There is plenty of time afterwards to have a jar and a bit of banter.

Afterwards
Remember, a protest is a hearing of facts and a decision is made as to who was in the wrong, according to the Racing Rules of Sailing. Always try to take something away from a protest hearing. Whether you are the protestor or the protestee, the winner or the loser, you will learn something. Could you have made your case differently? Could you have acted differently on the water? Should you brush up on certain rules? Never take the decision of the protest panel personally. The panel has to make a decision based on the facts you present to it.

If you are unhappy with the decision, you are entitled to appeal to the Irish Sailing Association. The procedure for this is outlined on the ISA's website link : http://www.sailing.ie/inside/default.asp?pageId=13

This page will be updated throughout the year, with links to rules articles, etc.

Information for Protest Panel Members
The protest equipment box is no longer kept behind the bar. It is stored in the Marina Office and it is a brown briefcase, clearly labelled Protest Equipment.

It contains copies of the Racing Rules of Sailing (x 3), HYC Sailing Regulations (x 3), ISAF Case book, HYC Course Cards, writing materials, models and a few blank protest forms. If you notice anything missing, please note this on the page inside the lid of the box and contact Emmet Dalton emmet.dalton@three.ie

Please return the protest equipment box to the Marina Office afterwards.