Topic : Arbitration at Whitstable

Whitstable is hosting the Feva National Championships this year and it  is hoped to use the arbitration system to cut down on formal protests.
Have any of you out there any experience of this system? We would be really grateful for any advice or your experiences. For a start - is it a good thing?

Posted: 09/02/2007 13:12:24
By: John Cooper
I think it went well at the RS200s. Pete Vincent is the man to speak to - [email protected]

My understanding is that if no major collision protesting parties get the opportunity to sit with an expert and pick his/her brains about the incident. If they are able to deduce who was in the wrong then the offender can take a penalty (race position not a drinking penalty but I hope this can be developed into the scheme) of some kind rather than being dsq.

If they cannot agree a protest meeting with committee and witnesses happens as per usual.

Was generally felt to be a good thing for those not so familiar with the rules. Not as daunting for youngsters as protest meeting. Not as much of a week ruiner for someone who misunderstands a rule without meaning to break it.

If there was a collision then a protest still happened.

I have not raced with this scheme in place but have heard good reports. Email Ugly Vincent for more info.

Posted: 09/02/2007 13:25:22
By: Mark Ampleford
Hi John
Having spoken to people who have been engaged in this system, think it would be a good idea subject to the judge quality and coverage given at the event (lasers have used a similar system for years). If you have 90 boats, how many judges would be supplied as I believe you have to use qualified personnel but may be wrong on this last part. On the tutorial side for the youngsters, think it would be very beneficial but snap decisions by inexperienced (not used to type of boat or situations generated by an asymetric) judges can turn an event on its head. I had the experience of observing, not judging, where a Bussa Team were wrongly disqualified from a semi-final due to a collision. In fact the damage was mainly as a result of gear failure (confirmed by myself as Bosun for the event to the management committee), but the damage was done and the event turned on its head, leaving a bitter pill for the favourites.
On balance I personally think it would be a great idea.
Bye for now

Posted: 09/02/2007 13:41:18
By: Barnsie
Mark - arbitration does not use judges. (see post above for how it works)! 
Incidentally I will probably be the arbitrator for the Fevas!

Posted: 09/02/2007 14:34:39
By: John Cooper
Hi John
They used it at the Tiger Trophy and was used on Sunday to effect. As not involved in any incident, have obviously misunderstood how it is administered.Would suggest talking to Rutland Sailing Club R/O for the Tiger to discuss the pros and cons.
Bye for now

Posted: 09/02/2007 18:00:07
By: Barnsie
The Etchells fleet, for their worlds, European and national events, have been using the arbitration system for four years now and have found it very useful in clearing the atmosphere after racing. When two boats meet and their is a disagreement as to right of way, the arbitration allows the boat that was found to be in the wrong, the oportinity to accept a penalty. This option is not available once a protest has been lodged. Its a great way to learn the rules without the threat of dsq.. It is important that qualified National or International judges are used as the rules and their interpretation are quite complicated and experience is vital.

Posted: 11/02/2007 12:27:20
By: Barry Dunning
Sounds like something that should be run at most open events.

Being in the lower orders of the fleet, I'm not one for protesting every time someone ignores the rules - the time involved is not justified but the lower orders could do with taking better notice.

What sort of penalty would be given to incorrect rounding of marks for example?

Posted: 12/02/2007 21:58:43
By: Keen Observer
It’s not the lower orders that are the problem it’s the 1/3 to 3/4 who will try everything, pushing their luck, and when they get their judgment wrong, they ignore requests for turns, and rely on the fact that the present protest system is too bulky and time consuming, so that people will not bother.
Arbitration sound like a good idea, but how many people will be watching the racing, and will they see all??, or just the leading 1/4, who really don't need monitoring as in this part of the fleet, rule obeying is very hot, and protests will be done.

Posted: 13/02/2007 09:11:30
By: OH for a faster boat
Arbitration is all very well but on the water umpiring with red cards as well as yellow, that's the thing.

Posted: 13/02/2007 10:48:26
By: >>>>
On the water umpiring could be difficult of a typical 40 boat silver tiller fleet, especially at the start of the race until things have spread out.  Most of the rules issues that occur are either at a crowded start or a crowded turning mark. The biggest issues I see are people claiming water when they don't have it or not giving water when it has been obtained, also bearing off and not giving people room. These issue are difficult to resolve without independant witnesses (e.g. umpires or other boats how clearly saw the incident, which is rare).

I know I haven't given any answers.

Posted: 13/02/2007 11:44:09
By: Anon
No you haven't but you have highlighted the issue, I have seen properly driven umpire boats right in the  action really beaving like an umpire at a mixed hockey match, these people and it is far more than we admit ruin it for the rest they need to be spotted, warned and then banished to the sin bin to think about it. Maybe even a nautical ASBO?

Posted: 13/02/2007 12:40:49
By: >>>>
Most incidents happon in a time span of 60 secs or less, so how about Head cams, on helm and crew, which record on a 60, 120,180 sec continuos loop, when a rule break happens press save button, replay on tv, laptop to protest commitee, a sort of onboat black box, then the need for whitnesses, would be removed.

Posted: 13/02/2007 12:45:33
By: OH for a faster boat
Mags any chance of a spell checker !!

Posted: 13/02/2007 12:47:21
By: OH for a faster boat
Avoid on the water umpiring for as long as you can. If there is a rule problem with the fleet, try the arbitration system. It works, its simple and it benifits everyone. The guys who bully their way around the course, relying on the fact that it is to much bother to protest have been sorted out using this system. It works, use it!

Posted: 13/02/2007 16:13:28
By: Barry Dunning
Thanks very much to  everyone who has respondedd to my initial post.  I have been in touch with Pete Vincent who has pointed us in the right direction (thanks Mark A for that).
However deeper investigation has shown that it is not straightforward to administer. It requires careful thought and planning - there are in fact two systems, Advisory Hearings and RYA Arbitration, also the NOR and SIs have to make provision for the Exoneration Penalty. For full details see the RYA website - RYA Racing Best Practices - Rules Disputes.
As Barry says, the key is to have the right person in charge.
All the feedback I have received says that it is a "Good Thing". Perhaps the MROA committee should think about it.

Posted: 13/02/2007 17:14:04
By: John Cooper
MROA committee watching the feedback.
very interesting so far. keep it coming.

Posted: 13/02/2007 20:32:00


At the end of the day we do this for fun, people know when they bend things a little and should be big enough to do the right thing, trouble is, enthusiasm gets the better of us all at times

Posted: 14/02/2007 21:31:49
By: Keen Observer
No, I think that there is calculated consideration. When I call protest at some one who may be 'nearly' front of fleet and they cop a deaf-un they do it because they know that being a mid to back end fleeter that I am unlikely to spoil my day and upset my wife by hanging around for a protest.

In my mind I DSQ them for their attitude, but in reality some people further up the fleet loose out because they score a result.

Am I the prat for letting them get away with it,?probably, are they losers because they are cheats? definately, do they care? I doubt it.

Posted: 14/02/2007 21:45:23
By: Alan F
perhaps we need an anonymous "name and shame" forum to list the worst offenders. though of course it would get terribly abused, so not worth considering.

Posted: 15/02/2007 08:58:17
By: Mags
One of the many problems is that the rules have gotten so complicated. You really need a lawyer about you if you're getting involved in protests. All this 720 -360 turn stuff, hit a mark have a collision go home pretty simple.
Simplify the rules (problem for RYA or ISAF).Apply them. QED.

Posted: 15/02/2007 10:15:39
By: ):-
At least Alan Warren really is deaf now, after some years of selective hearing loss near windward marks...

Posted: 15/02/2007 12:25:13
By: Megaphone
Name and shame would be great, It woul be very full after Bolton, and holingworth st's

Posted: 19/02/2007 16:12:11
By: OH for a faster boat
If you refer to RYA Racing, Best Practice, Rules Disputes on the RYA website, it is all laid out for you.
The tree stages offered are:- Advisory hearing, then the RYA Arbitration, then Protest. To offer this system it must be in the Sailing Instructions. The system is now being used by many classes and they have all seen a vast improvement in their racing. Having recently been on a rule 42 course I am sure the fleet could do with some advise on the rules.

Posted: 20/02/2007 09:55:08
By: Barry Dunning
Perhaps we are losing this thread a bit. Mr ):- doesn't seem to realise that he is supposed to know the rules on the water - not consult a lawyer afterwards, nor does he acknowledge that the rules are in fact becoming simpler year on year. Ah, the joys of yoof and lack of history.
However, this thread is about the new procedures, as set out by Barry D above and we are looking for some guidance based on experience.
As the RO for the Feva Nats alongside John C as Arbitrator I want to know if arbitration is going to make it possible for us to get some sleep during the event. I still have nightmares from a 420 champs some years ago. There must be a better way. please tell me there is if you can.

Posted: 20/02/2007 20:55:59
By: Mike Fitz


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